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Best Scorer Ever?

What Kobe Bryant did in scoring 81 points against the Toronto Raptors has to be the single most impressive scoring accomplishment in NBA history.
Wilt Chamberlain's 100? It's obviously a bigger number, but all of Wilt's big performances (he had so many of them) were more about having a signficant physical advantage over his opponents (at least that's what all my 70-year-old friends tell me).
David Thompson and David Robinson both had 70-plus, but they were both on the last day of the season as they chased a scoring title, and scoring that many points was their only goal in those games. Teammates were also looking to set them up every time down the floor.
Elgin Baylor's 71 points must have been pretty impressive. It came with 25 rebounds, too, in a November game. But he had Jerry West on his side, so he certainly wasn't a one-man operation.

Kobe clearly has to carry his team on his own, and every opponent knows it. So not only can he score, but he can score despite the full attention of every defender.

In this game, Kobe had to bring his team back from 18 points down. And he had a slow first quarter. He scored 55 points in the second half alone. He did it in 42 minutes. At the rate he was scoring, he could have gotten to 100 if he played the whole game. Kobe's teammates were 14 of 42 (33 percent) from the field, giving the Raptors all the more reason to help on Kobe.

I just saw highlights, but he hit seven three-pointers, and it looked like a lot more of his points came on jumpers. Can anybody else have done that in the game today? Tracy McGrady maybe, but he doesn't attack enough, and if he gets hot with his jumper and you take that away from him, he won't get to the rim enough to pile up the points. He'll probably just pass the ball.
Allen Iverson? I don't think so, only because he's too small to shoot over many people, and he doesn't have that pull-up three in his game. At least not with a hand in his face like Kobe and T-Mac hit all the time.
Shaq? Maybe 10 years ago, but probably not even then.
LeBron? Maybe five years from now, but only if his jumper gets as consistent as Kobe's.
The only other two I would even put into the conversation are Dirk Nowitzki and Vince Carter. But Dirk doesn't have a good enough handle to create for himself, and Vince doesn't have enough toughness to do it when everyone's trying to stop him.
Michael Jordan probably could have put together a game like this, but he was once a one-man team, and he didn't ever score 70. So maybe he couldn't have.

Kobe's scoring exploits of late have been ridiculous, averaging better than 45 since Jan. 1. The way things are going, he's going to probably finish the season averaging close to, or better than, Jordan's 37.1 in 1986-87. If he wanted to prove he's as good or better than Jordan, he's doing a pretty good job of that this year.




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