Blog Entry

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:10 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 11:54 am
Posted by Royce Young

In what world has 81 ever been better than 100? Maybe when you're talking about temperature, but not much after that.

But here's a time that 81 was greater than 100: Kobe Bryant's epic scoring night matched against Wilt Chamberlain's all-time point barrage.

Never would I imply that what Chamberlain did 50 years ago wasn't impressive. Scoring 100 points in a game isn't just impressive. It's drinking-a-gallon-of-milk impressive. It's something that's darn near impossible to do and takes a special, near superhuman individual to pull it off.

Still, Kobe's 81 was better.

Why? You could almost make a strong case that Chamberlain's hundred should include an asterisk. First, and this is unfair to Chamberlain, but none of us saw it happen. We don't know what it looked like, what it felt like, how that game went. There's no footage of it at all, only a little audio of him scoring the hundredth point.

Actually, it might be a good thing we never saw it. Because from accounts of how it went down, the Warriors spent almost the entire fourth quarter fouling to get the ball back and force-feeding Chamberlain the ball. New York coach Eddie Donovan said, "The game was a farce. They would foul us and we would foul them." Chamberlain's shot attempts by quarter: 14, 12, 16, 21. You think in a blowout in today's game that a team would keeping feeding their star like that?

Plus, the pace of the game in 1962 was far faster than was Kobe was playing with in 2006. Chamberlain had more possessions in the up-and-down game. There were 316 combined points in that game. It would take today's Lakers almost a month to score that many. (I kid, I kid.)

Then you have to consider that Chamberlain's points came easier. He was a post player that could be fed the ball and overwhelm his opponents. Kobe is a perimeter player that had to handle it and score by creating his own either off the dribble or with a jumper. Chamberlain overpowered smaller teams and smaller players. At times, it was like a college guy playing against middle school kids. Truly a man among boys. Chamberlain could just have his way.

It's no coincidence that when you browse the top point totals in a game, Wilt's name litters the list. It was a long time coming that he'd finally top the century mark. He scored at will because there was only one other player in the game -- Bill Russell -- that could really stop him. The guy that played most of the night against him -- Darrall Imhoff -- stood no chance. Not to discredit the talent pool in the 60s, but Chamberlain wasn't exactly facing elite big men every night.

Nobody will ever match what Chamberlain did though. Like DiMaggio's hit streak or Favre's consecutive games streak, it's one of those unbreakable records. The reason mainly is because nobody would have the gall to do what the Warriors did to get him there. Playing out the game in a blowout, blatantly running up the score, fouling to get the ball back -- can you imagine what would happen if someone did that today?

Say LeBron was going off and had 75 points after three quarters. The Heat are up 30. Erik Spoelstra leaves LeBron out there to pound the opponent, all while Dwyane Wade and Shane Battier take fouls so LeBron gets more shots. There would be week long panels devoted to ripping the team that did it. I think the Hall of Fame might have to make room for a new exhibit honoring the most explosive media backlash in professional sport history.

Kobe's 81 had everything going for it. It was a close game and Bryant just completely took over. The Lakers were down 71-53 and Kobe brought them back. He wasn't ever intentionally fouled, and he team didn't do much of anything other than give him the ball and get out of the wya. He played until the end, checking out with just a few seconds remaining. And despite playing a darn near perfect game with all the factors lining up, Kobe was still 19 points short. Consider this: After Kobe, the next highest total is 78 by Chamberlain, then 73 by David Thompson and Chamberlain. Even the greatest ever, Michael Jordan, topped out at 69. There's just no chance of anyone ever sniffing 100 points in a game again.

Still, Kobe's 81 was better.

The Mamba took 17 fewer shots, 12 fewer free throws, didn't have his team fouling to get him the ball, had fewer possessions and still only came up 19 short of Wilt. He scored 55 points after halftime. That's only 14 short of Jordan's career-high. Forget what math and maybe common sense tells you. Eight-one is greater than 100.

Since: Jan 30, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 5:52 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Wilt's 100 point game is impressive in any context no doubt. But let's not diminish the fact that he was a man among boys that game. Wilt should've scored damn near 50 points per game against a bunch of 6'8/6'9 stiffs trying to guard him. Due your homework and take into account the possesions per in that era, quality of athletes playing the game, not to mention the number of FG/FT attempts it took Wilt to get 100 than I'm sorry but Kobe's 81 is far more impressive. There's a reason nobody has come close to matching Kobe's 81 in recent history, not even the great MJ. It's damn near impossible given the quality of talent on the court, number of possessions per, not to mention the constructs of team dynamics. Anyone who can't see this is blinded by Kobe hate or has the inability to see beyond the statline. No matter what concept of Wilt's play you believe to be true there's no way he would sniff 100 points in todays game. Sounds funny to say but in this case less is more when comparing Kobe's 81 to Wilt's 100.

Since: Jul 5, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 5:18 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

What a tough decision to make...Wilt or scoring game ever...considering I actually watched Kobe score the 81 was quite impressive.  As for Wilt, 100 points in one game is unthinkable.  I honestly have to call this a draw and if I would favor anyone, I would say it would be Kobe.  Players when he played that game were better athletes than when Wilt played.  Just look at the differences in teams. 

I have had the honor of seeing both play.  Kobe with the Lakers and Wilt at the end of his career with the Lakers.  They are both incredible players and can easily mentioned in the same breath!  Wilt's stat line is incredible...his first 9 yrs...lowest average was 30.1 pts a game.  Not to mention his rebounding and blocked shots...mercy, what an incredible career! 

Overall, Kobe is impressive and will never have another game like his 81 point game. 

The funny thing about Wilt is that not only did he play all those games, scored all those points, grabbed rebounds and blocked shots all night long...after hours with the ladies, he broke records too! 

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:59 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Mike ... it's IGNORANCE from dopes like you that make me LAUGH.  Wilt got those stats cause he was TOO DUMB to be a team player.  Russell could have easily amassed crazy numbers like that had he hogged the ball too, but he was a TEAM PLAYER which is what made all those players around him better, just like Larry Bird.   Bill's goal was to win CHAMPIONSHIPS not stat pad ... and that's what makes him the GREATEST OF ALL TIME as he was the focal player on those great teams.  Got RINGS?  Game Set Match .. now go back into your state of obliviousness. Sealed

Since: May 17, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:50 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

IF blocked shots were counted as a statistic the way they are today, Wilt would have averaged close to 15 per game, undeniable
There is simply no way that is true -- Wilt was a great basketball player, especially on offense.  But I defy you to find any credible source that would indicate a career average of 15 blocked shots per game, or anywhere close to that figure.

Since: May 29, 2008
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:44 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Well leave it to some dope from Boston to get under my skin...typical

So your Celtics lovin ass claims that Rusell "dominated Wilt at every turn". REALLY??? Dominated huh?  Amazing how many inaccurate statements can appear on just one story. Although I do praise you for your take on Kobe Ballhog, cmon man Wilt took Russell out behind the wood shed.

Here are some facts that get in the way of your opinion as we look at the 142 career matchups between Russell and Wilt:

Chamberlain averaged exactly 28.7 points and 28.7 rebounds a game during those 142 games, the point totals brought down a bit by his late-in-career transformation from relentless scoring machine to more well-rounded player. In the early years Wilt scored 50 or more points seven times against Russell, including a high of 62 on , 1962. By the time we could start referring to these men as "aging warriors," the numbers were a bit more back to earth. Wilt's high game in their final year was 35, and three times he scored in single figures.

Russell's totals against Wilt were 14.5 points and 23.7 rebounds per game. His highest-scoring game against his arch rival was 37.

Now exactly who dominanted who.  Now I know Russell won more games and certainly won more championships...BUT it is a team game and Russell played with about 10 hall of famers.  Wilt was generally on his own EXCEPT for 1967 with the Sixers and then in 1971 with the Lakers (and again in 72-- but unfortunately they didnt match up against the stinkin eltics that year) and Wilt was 1-1 in those series!!

Wilt was way better than Russell. Unfortunately the stinkin Celtics were way better than everyone!



Since: Mar 2, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:39 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Plus a career average of 4.4 assists a gmae........averaged 50pts a game in 1961-62....averaged 30.1 points a game for his 14 year career, and never more than 27 during the last 7 years of it....... Kobe couldn't carry Wilt's jock!!

Since: May 26, 2011
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:36 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

doesn't matter if Wilt got his points in the paint.  after he had 40pts, i am sure 4 of the 5 opposing players all collapsed on him when he touched the ball, and he still dropped another 60pts.  Wilts 100 better than 81 any day of the week, year, decade or half century.

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:36 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

"ladies and gentleman, you have witnessed the SECOND greatest scoring performance in NBA history"  Sealed


Since: Mar 2, 2012
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:35 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

And if my mother had gonads, she would have been my pop!!!!

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: March 2, 2012 4:29 pm

Better scoring night: Kobe's 81 or Wilt's 100?

Wow .. can anyone kiss KO-ME's butt any more.  SORRY .. Wilt's 100 >>> 81.   Wilt was more athletic, he was bigger and stronger than most of his time .. well, save for the guy that dominated him at every turn in Bill Russel, the true greatest of all time.   But you can't take that away just cause he had it .. it's what made Wilt so great in his ERA.   Ko-Me is a renowned ball hog and for that singles game, that's exactly what happened .. it's no different then what Wilt did.    100 >>> 81  not matter how you slice it .. now get off your knees, it's embarrassing.  Surprised

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