Stats say Kobe 's 81 is better than Wilt's 100 It seems at first glance that Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point night in 1962 is far superior to Kobe Bryant's 81-point game Sunday. After all, Bryant still needed 19 more points -- roughly Pau Gasol's average -- just to catch the Dipper. But if you stack the two games side by side, you'll come to the startling realization that Bryant's performance was actually far superior. Breaking the two games down by the numbers, it quickly becomes apparent what a dominant night Kobe had. Consider the facts:
Chamberlain's game featured 233 field-goal attempts versus 164 for Bryant's, and 93 free-throw attempts to 60 for Bryant's. We have no data on turnovers and offensive rebounds for Chamberlain's game, but based on the numbers I just mentioned, we can estimate there were 46 percent more possessions in the Chamberlain game than in the Kobe game. If that's the case, we need to inflate Kobe 's numbers by 46 percent to get an accurate idea of what it equates to in Chamberlain's era. The answer? An unbelievable 118 points. And if we add in six extra minutes for Bryant, we end up with the mind-boggling total of 135. By one player. In one game. Another way to look at it is by deflating Chamberlain's numbers by a similar amount. If we change his currency into "2006 points," so to speak, the Stilt ends up with 68 points -- still an awesome performance, but clearly not on a level with Kobe 's 81-point outburst. And once you adjust for the 48 minutes Chamberlain played vs. Kobe's 42, you end up with 60 points for Wilt -- or just a bit more than Kobe rang up in the second half. So when our Marc Stein says this is the most amazing performance ever , believe it. Once you adjust for the differences in pace between the two eras and the fact that Bryant sat out for six minutes, even Chamberlain's monumental 100-point game pales by comparison. For basketball historians, Bryant's effort is now the scoring effort against which all others should be measured.
<By> John Hollinger |