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
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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.
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Comments

Since: Jul 12, 2010
Posted on: February 28, 2013 12:11 am
 

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

wow... you're just an idiot..



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: March 10, 2012 2:30 pm
 

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

Ok, you're right.  Kobe and Wilt were both ballhogs.  We shouldn't commend them for that.  



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 4:41 pm
 

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

He was a good, not great player, FOR THE 60's.  But he got into the HoF because he was on a championship team.  If you are a HoF player with great fundamentals you should get more than 3.5 rebounds a game when you don't score or get assists.  Especially in the 60's when most teams shot below 40%.  If he were playing today he would never be in the HoF.  Using him as an example of how good Wilt's opponents were in the 60's is a joke.  And to say that Kobe didn't play against HoFer's in 2006 was an ignorant comment by Twocoach when obviously they haven't been elected yet.  Then he argues about which players would get in the HoF, when almost all are better than KC Jones or Frank Ramsey, neither of which guarded Wilt.



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 4:20 pm
 

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



Even if it was as a player, perhaps you should take a look at that article.  Not every player needs to score a ton of points in order to be a HoFer.  Fundamentals go a long way and Jones was obviously a very, very good defender.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:18 pm
 

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

KC Jones is in the HoF as a coach, not a player.
That is not true.  He was elected to the HoF in 1989 as a player.



Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:24 am
 

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

KC Jones is a HOFer...shouldn't he represent the "best" of the basketball culture of the 1960's with his 7 ppg, 3 rpg and 4 apg?
KC Jones is in the HoF as a coach, not a player.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 4:57 pm
 

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

You have to be the dumbest person on the planet. "THAT WOULD BE ELECTED  TO THE HALL OF FAME means when they are eligible. The guys Wilt played against were SKILLED enought that, WHEN ELIGIBLE, they were in the Hall of Fame. 

As for that list of names you provided: Chris Webber, Gary Payton, Gilbert Arenas, Pau Gasol, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, Grant Hill, Joe Johnson, Dikembe Mutombo, Yao Ming, Chris Bosh, Grant Hill, Jermaine O'Neal, Chauncey Billups, Tony parker aren't EVEN CLOSE to being Hall of Famers. Get real. You can't name ANYONE that made an all star game at some point in their career and say they are a "possible Hall of Famer". That's retarded.
Twocoach, How can you say on the one hand Wilt played against great HOFer's like KC Jones, but then say players of today with much, much better stats do not deserve to be in the HOF with KC Jones? If KC Jones set the minimum stats with an average of 7 ppg, 3 apg and 4 rpg to qualify as a great player, Kobe played against great players every single game. What an ignorant comment.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 2:01 pm
 

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

Kobe is a ballhog
Kobe's career average for field goals attempted is  19.5.  Wilt averaged 22.6 field goal attempts per game. In 2005/2006 (the season of his 81 point game) Kobe attempted 2,173 field goals in 80 games or 27.2 field goal attempts per game.  In 1961/1962 (the season of his 100 point game) Wilt attempted 3,159 field goals in 80 games or 39.5 field goal attempts per game.  Only once in his 16 year career has Kobe attempted more than 1,900 field goals.  In Wilt's 14 year career, 7 times he attempted more than 1,900 field goals.  Half of the seasons in his career Wilt took more shots than Kobe did in every year of Kobe's career except 1 season.

So...who's the ballhog?



Since: Sep 19, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 1:03 am
 

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

Kobe is a ballhog and a bad teammate.  That's why everyone hates him.



Since: Dec 23, 2006
Posted on: March 4, 2012 12:53 am
 

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

Sigma1575, I'm not trying to diminish Wilt and what he was able to accomplish.  Wilt had strenth, size, agility and skills way, way ahead of his time.  But when you compare his 100 point game to Kobe's 81 point game, I think it took far more basketball skills for Kobe's accomplishment than for Wilt's.
  • The players of 1962 were physically smaller and less skilled than the players of 2006. 
  • Wilt was physically taller and stronger than anyone on the court.  Kobe is of average basketball height and strenth and has to rely on his basketball skills for success.
  • Many of Kobe's shots were outside shots, whereas many (if not all) Wilt's shots were in the paint.
  • Wilt made a lesser percentage of his shots than Kobe even though Wilt's were closer.
  • Kobe's shots came in the normal flow of the game the Lakers were trying to win.  While Wilt was fed the ball over and over trying to get to 100.
  • Yes, Kobe had the 3-pt shot, but the difficulty of the shot, percentage made and points received usually even out.  If you make a high percentage of 3-pt shots, you've earned it through the difficulty of the shot.
I'm a Wilt fan for everything he was able to accomplish with the agility of a man his size.  He was amazing.  But, I think Kobe's accomplishment took more basketball skills.   IMHO.


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