Like tonight, for instance, when the headline “Kobe's 53 not enough in OT loss to Yao, Rockets” jumped off the screen. First registered thought? “Hot damn, he did it again. The man is a scoring machine.” Second registered thought? “Oh, the Lakers lost. Too bad.”
Interesting facts that I did not know: Kobe “is the only player in the last 40 years to average 40 points per game for an entire month” and his 19 games with 50 or more points rank third in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan. He’s hit for fifty or better five times in the last seven games, including a stretch of four in a row at one point, leading the media to once again push the ever popular “Kobe vs. Michael” question.
My feelings on the subject are simple: Michael Jordan was a great basketball player whose reputation and influence was enhanced by the era in which he entered the league; if Bird and Magic started the process of “saving” the NBA, it was the arrival of Jordan that took it to the next level. Kobe Bryant is also great, of course, but has never made the leap to that level of transcendence. He has never been called upon to “save the NBA”, so to speak, and probably never will; that’s the responsibility of LeBron and Dwyane at this point.
You know what, though? There’s a good chance that someday, my kid will ask me who Kobe Bryant was, and I’ll have to tell him that he was one of the best players I ever saw.
Friday’s NBA scores are after the jump.
Philadelphia 88, Boston 82
Toronto 123, Washington 118 (OT)
Charlotte 97, Milwaukee 81
Detroit 110, New Jersey 105
Miami 92, Minnesota 77
Orlando 95, Indiana 87
San Antonio 102, Utah 93
Dallas 105, New York 103
Phoenix 125, Denver 108
Houston 107, LA Lakers 104 (OT)
LA Clippers 105, Sacramento 101
Seattle 120, Memphis 93