Tag:NBA History
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:10 am
Edited on: March 2, 2012 11:54 am

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

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.
Posted on: February 6, 2012 9:30 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 9:31 pm

Shaq congratulates Kobe for passing him

Posted by Royce Young

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal didn't finish their relationship on the best of terms, but there was always mutual respect. And when Kobe passed Shaq for fifth all-time in career scoring, there wasn't any doubt that Shaq would give proper props.

Greatest Laker ever? We haven't forgotten Earvin Magic Johnson so quickly, have we? But then again, with Kobe now sitting firmly fifth all-time in scoring with a good chance to climb as high as third along with his five rings, maybe there's a case...
Posted on: February 6, 2012 8:01 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 9:34 pm

Kobe Bryant passes Shaq on all-time points list

Posted by Royce Young

Kobe now has pretty much every bragging right he needs over Shaquille O'Neal. Rings (5-4, Kobe) and now points.

Kobe passed Shaq on the NBA's all-time scoring list with a deep 2-pointer with 5:08 left in the second quarter Monday against the 76ers. Of course, fittingly, Philadelphia being Bryant's hometown. Sixers coach Doug Collins pulled a classy move following it by calling timeout to let there be some acknowledgment of the milestone.

Kobe now stands with 28,597 career points which places him fifth all-time behind Wilt Chamberlain (31,419), Michael Jordan (32,292), Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387). So currently, Kobe is a little less than 10,000 points behind Kareem meaning he would have to average about 23 points per game over the next five seasons (assuming he plays in all 82 games), to finish No. 1.

Bryant, who is still just 33 years old, could potentially do it. But he's played in a lot of games though and his body could wear out before he gets there. Abdul-Jabbar probably isn't in play, but Chamberlain and Jordan definitely are. There's a strong possibility of Kobe finishing third all-time in scoring. That's just... incredible.

Here's what Matt Moore of CBSSports.com wrote Monday
about Kobe passing his former teammate:
When Bryant passes O'Neal, however, it will not be the petulant child crossing the pillar of dominance without validation. Kobe Bryant, remarkably, considering what we thought that summer in 2004, has proved himself the better player. He is the second best shooting guard the game of basketball has ever witnessed.

Were it not for his airness, he would likely be regarded as the best player of the modern era, arguably the best of all time. That he is measured constantly against the complete, nearly spotless, and unfathomably incredible resume of Michael Jordan only fuels the fire that is the public debate over Kobe Bryant. Never as good as Jordan, but good enough to dare and make the ascent to try.
As for passing Shaq, it took Kobe 1,128 games to reach this mark while it took Shaq 1,207. Over his career, Kobe has averaged about two more points per game than Shaq partly because of the final four years of Shaq's career where he barely averaged double-digits while battling injuries and age.

Kobe Bean is now a top five all-time scorer though, which is an incredible place to be. It's a little hard to really put his career in perspective right now because it's not finished, but when it's all said and done, you'll be able to put Kobe's resume up against pretty much anyone's.
Posted on: January 2, 2012 1:26 pm

Video: Kobe becomes youngest ever to 28,000

Posted by Royce Young

Sunday's game for Kobe Bryant was so very Kobe Bryant. He went just 6-28 from the field and scored only 16 points. But he also made history.

Kobe became the youngest player ever to 28,000 points with a free throw in the third quarter. Kobe is 33 years and 131 days old. Kobe is now one of six to have reached at least 28,000, but Kobe needed 1,109 games to reach the mark. Wilt Chamberlain did it in 825 games, Michael Jordan in 886, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1,008 and Karlm Malone in 1,070. Shaquille O'Neal is the sixth player to score that many.

Kobe came into the league straight out of high school, so he got a head start in terms of age. He's the youngest, yes, but he's also needed the second most games. There's a key difference in youngest ever and fastest ever.

He won't ever reach Kareem's record of 38,387 points, but should climb into the top five this season. He's currently sixth all-time behind Shaq, who has 28,596. Kobe has 28,012 as of today.

Kobe's Sunday night is almost a perfect illustration of how scorers live though. He couldn't make anything, and yet he still scored points. Scorers score, even when they can't, if you know what I mean.
Category: NBA
Posted on: June 1, 2011 4:51 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2011 5:56 am

Where does Shaq fit alongside the all-time bigs?

Posted by Royce Young

Any time one of the great players announce their retirement, it immediately becomes the task of people like me, fans and everyone else to start deciding where that player fits in the pantheon of their sport. How lasting is their legacy? How great were they really?

And, with Shaquille O'Neal hanging up the size 23's after 19 seasons, it must be asked: Where does he stand alongside the all-time big man greats?

Let's look at Shaq's resume: He averaged 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. He scored a total of 28,596 points which ranks him fifth all-time. He grabbed 13,099 rebounds, which puts him 13th all-time. He won four championships, played in five NBA Finals, won one MVP, three Finals MVPs, three All-Star Game MVPs, played in 15 All-Star games, won two scoring titles, was named to first-team All-NBA eight times and maybe had the greatest personality of any NBA star ever.

Pretty good resume, I'd say. Shaq's career was watered down toward the end as he finished out with a bit of a whimper his last three seasons playing in Phoenix, Cleveland and Boston. That has sort of has made people forget what a truly dominant big man he was. In back to back playoffs, Shaq averaged 30-15. That's pretty much unheard of and yet Shaq did it without much issue.

In terms of pure statistics, Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are better. But comparing eras in basketball is extremely difficult because of the competition players faced, the style of play and the way the game was called. Is Shaq better than Wilt? Hard to say. (Don't ask Scottie Pippen -- he'll say Dwight Howard is. And then Kareem will yell at us.)

Shaq: The Legacy
Stats (All-Time List)
  • Games: 1,207 (23rd)
  • Minutes: 41,918 (17th)
  • Points: 28,596 (5th)
  • Rebounds: 13,099 (12th)
  • Blocks: 2,732 (7th)
  • First overall pick, 1992 Draft
  • Rookie of the Year, 1992-93
  • NBA MVP, 1999-00
  • Four NBA Championships
  • 15-time NBA All-Star
  • 3-time NBA Finals MVP
  • 2-time NBA Scoring Champion
  • Career Salary: $292,198,327
But there's absolutely no doubt whatsoever that in terms of the most elite big men to ever play, Shaq stands tall right alongside them. I like defining greatness in terms of dominance. And for more than a decade, Shaq dominated unlike any center we've seen in the modern era. His game wasn't pretty. He used brute strength and size to overpower smaller defenders. He shot horribly from the free throw line. He never scored outside of the paint. He wasn't so much a basketball player as he was an offensive lineman with nifty feet and a soft touch at the rim.

And no one could stop him. As much as Shaq used raw power to beat opponents which bordered on what was legal, he also took a beating on the block every night. He's probably the most difficult player ever to officiate and nightly he was hacked, grabbed and fouled hard. His weakness was the second easiest shot in basketball -- a wide open look straight on from 15 feet away -- and yet he only sunk free throws 52.7 percent of the time.

Is he better than Wilt, Russell, Kareem or other big men you want to bring into the mix? I don't really know. Contrasting what someone accomplished in 1962 is difficult to do with 2002. What we do know for sure is that Shaq, for a time, was the most physically dominant player in basketball. Gameplanning for him was impossible. Figuring out any way to stop or slow him down didn't happen. He got what he wanted, when he wanted.

Rank all you want. If someone said they were going to hit me in the face with a claw hammer if I didn't, I'd probably put Shaq third behind Russell and Chamberlain, but that's just because that seems to be the consensus. Though, maybe we'll reconsider once we get away from Shaq's career a bit, and let it all sink in. Maybe time will help us forget about the sad ending in Cleveland and Boston.

It's unlikely, though, and here's why: There are some qualms with Shaq's career. It does feel like something was missing. That maybe Shaq could've actually been better than he was. There were so many outside distractions -- acting, rapping, police work, making up nicknames, pop culture icon, reality TV star -- that Shaq probably sacrificed a little greatness and a little of his on-court legacy for all of that.

Would he have it any other way? Probably not. He had the career he wanted, won titles, dominated games and had a ton of fun doing it. He probably had an opportunity to win even more and really cement his place at, maybe the top of any list, but he picked another path. And I don't think we should blame him for it.

Shaq certainly had a career that will stand the test of time. He was bigger than the game. Nobody owned the league, media, fans and everything else quite like Shaq. He called himself Superman and there's no doubt, he played like him too.

He's not the greatest center ever, but he certainly was great. He wasn't the Most Dominant Ever like he dubbed himself, but dominate, he did. All of that stuff never seemed all that important to Shaq, which is what made him so relatable. He wasn't the near psychotic killing machine like Michael Jordan. He was more Magic Johnson -- fun, crazy, outgoing and still very awesome at basketball.

Category: NBA
Posted on: June 1, 2011 10:56 am

Video: The NBA Finals go Lego

Posted by Matt Moore

We're likely to get a few dramatic moments in these NBA Finals, considering how close Game 1 was and both teams' comeback abilities.  And maybe one day they'll wind up turned into Legos like these from Tauntr, courtesy of IamaGM.com: 

Feels like we're missing a few... something that looks bad for John Starks, something with Kobe, maybe the Ray Allen drive in 2008. But that's a pretty fun list. 

And hey, the form on it looks better than most Shawn Marion jumpers.  
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 18, 2011 3:42 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 7:37 pm

Hey Lakers, Kareem would like a statue now

Posted by Royce Young

I was in Los Angeles for Jerry West's statue unveiling and it was quite the scene. A ton of former legends all gathered into a spot to honor one of the all-time great Lakers. It was two hours of pretty much talking about how great Jerry West was.

I'm sure it was pretty nice.

And Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, would like that moment too. Via the Sporting News, Kareem is feeling overlooked.

"I don't understand (it)," he said. "It's either an oversight or they're taking me for granted. I'm not going to try to read people's minds, but it doesn't make me happy. It's definitely a slight. I feel slighted."
I can't imagine it being either because how can you overlook him or take him for granted. Let's recap here: Again, the all-time leading scorer, a 19-time All-Star (!), six-time champion (five with the Lakers), three national titles at UCLA and he's widely considered one of the top five players of all time. How you could overlook or take that for granted is pretty incredible.

It's got to be a bigger issue like, "they just haven't gotten to it yet."

Kareem's also issued this statement through his business manager: "I am highly offended by the total lack of acknowledgement of my contribution to Laker success. I guess being the lynchpin for five world championships is not considered significant enough in terms of being part of Laker history."

Kareem's statue wouldn't take a brilliant creative mind to come up with though. Everyone knows his infamous skyhook pose. That would definitely look pretty sweet standing in bronze outside of the arena.

Currently, there are five statues outside of the Staples Center: Magic Johnson, Jerry West, legendary team announcer Chick Hearn, boxer Oscar De La Hoya and hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

Lakers spokesman John Black gave a response: "We've been at Staples Center 11 years and have two ex-players who have statues now. It's not like we do it every year; we have no timetable. Whenever we do the next statue of the third Los Angeles Lakers player, it (will be) Kareem---and he has been told that. Again, we didn't say when that was going to be. It could be next year, the year after or several years from now."

See, that's what I'm saying. I don't think it's so much an oversight as it's just that they picked Magic Johnson and Jerry West first to do. Kareem can be offended by that, but that's kind of hard to argue with.

Kareem added to things, tweeting this: "Rumor has it that I will be getting a statue. A caveat for all my fans-don't hold your breath. Lakers don't care about me." Lakers don't care about you? Yeesh.

It seems like Kareem's outrage might put the Lakers in an awkward position now. Like since he complained about it and got his way, are other players going to? What about Shaq, does he deserve one? James Worthy? Eddie Jones (kidding).

Now if they give Kobe a statue before Kareem, then he'll really have a point.
Posted on: February 11, 2011 11:01 pm
Edited on: February 11, 2011 11:02 pm

And on the 27th try, the Cavaliers won

Posted by Royce Young

The Cleveland Cavaliers are finally discovering the key to success. Just take every game to overtime.

Finally, the Cavs have snapped their historic 26-game losing streak by defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in overtime, 126-119. The Cavs last win came against the New York Knicks, in overtime, which snapped a 10-game losing streak.

Eerily similar to the last win too, was the way the game got to the extra frame. Just like against the Knicks, Mo Williams -- who was making his much needed return to the team after missing 13 games with a left hip flexor injury -- made a big shot with 6.3 seconds left to tie the game at 110-110.

Of course everyone could feel it coming. A somehow packed arena was anticipating yet another letdown. When you lose 26 straight, you start inventing new ways to come up short. And everyone could sense yet another heartbreak.

Except this time, the Cavs got a big play. Baron Davis drove left and had a decent left-handed runner at the rim, but J.J. Hickson denied the shot at the buzzer. It was almost definitely goaltending, but finally, this Cleveland team got a few breaks. Almost like it was meant to be, naturally those breaks went against the Clippers. Oh, how so very fitting.

In overtime, the Cavs went up six, 120-114 with a minute left. Everything appeared to be in the bag. But then the Clips ripped off five quick points, punctuated by a Randy Foye 3-pointer. Again, here we go again. The Cavs needed a basket badly because the Clips were coming and it almost seemed like Cleveland could do anything but lose.

Instead, good fortune struck again. Williams drove baseline and caught all air on a layup attempt. Ryan Gomes appeared to have the rebound secured for L.A., but Hickson came flying over his back, forcing the ball out of bounds off Gomes. Instead of a huge foul on Hickson, the Cavs had possession and a big break. The ball went in to Antwan Jamison who calmly drilled a 3, essentially locking things up for Cleveland.

It had been 55 days since the last Cavalier win. Think about that. Fifty-five days since this team had experienced how it felt to win. The Cavs own the NBA's longest losing streak in history, but have avoided setting a new mark for longest losing streak for all four major American professional sports. They now share that distinction with the 1976-77 Tampa Bat Buccaneers.

A few notes about the losing streak:
  • Now with nine wins on the season, we can end all talk about the Cavs tying the 76ers worst record of all time of 9-73
  • The Cavs lost by an average of 13.6 points per game during the 26-game streak
  • The Cavs lost just one game by one point and only five games by six or less.
  • The Lakers beat the Cavs by 55 points in one game during the streak.
  • Cleveland was defeated by at least double-digits 14 times. 
  • Here's how bad the bottom of the East is: The Cavs are just 15 games out of eighth. And I don't think anyone is completely certain it couldn't happen.
Because of this win, we avoid the "Toilet Bowl" with the Wizards, who are 0-25 on the road, versus the Cavs. Now it's just another bad NBA game between a 14-37 team and a 9-45 team. Way to ruin it Clippers.

There was a lot made about LeBron James' return to Cleveland and following that, this team dropped 10 straight. Then they won, but lost 26 more. It's hard to deny that LeBron's return had some kind of affect on the team, but on top of that, injuries to Anderson Varejao and Mo Williams killed them. Losing your two best players when your team lacks talent in general, really hurts.

Now the next step for this team is winning a game in regulation. Because that hasn't happened since Nov. 27. The Cavs have lost 36 straight in the first 48 minutes. Ouch.

But don't you dare go to overtime with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Because you've got no chance.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com