Without a doubt, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest scorers of all-time, if not the best. At his peak, Bryant quite simply was unstoppable. His scoring barrages were unlike anything we’ve seen before or since.
Four straight fifty-point games. Nine straight forty-point games. 62 points in three quarters. 81 points in a single game. Third highest single-season point per game average for anyone not named Wilt Chamberlain.
The accolades and accomplishments are staggering. The quick, easy answer to his greatest performance is his 81-point outing, which was immense. However, there is another contest that was equally staggering in its output. Just over a month prior to his game against the Raptors, Bryant took on the Mavericks and obliterated them to the tune of 62 points……in three quarters!
Which game was more impressive, though (and yes, it is up for debate)? First, let’s look at each game individually. First, let’s look at some highlights of both:
Furthermore, let’s look at each score line.
Bryant’s 62 points
32 minutes, 62 points, 18-31 field goals (58%), 22-25 free throws (88%), 4-10 threes (40%)
Bryant’s 81 points
42 minutes, 81 points, 28-46 field goals (61%), 18-20 free throws (90%), 7-13 threes (53%)
As you can see, it’s certainly fair to compare the two. First, let’s try to get a level playing field between the two games. One way to do that is to look at point per minute production. Against the Mavericks, Bryant scored 1.86 points per minute, while he scored 1.92 points per minute against the Raptors. In the same amount of minutes he played against the Raptors, he would have scored 78 points given his current pace.
What that doesn’t take into account, however, is Bryant’s torrid third quarter against Dallas. In that third quarter, Bryant dropped 30 points on Dirk Nowitzki and company, hitting from everywhere on the court. Obviously, Bryant likely wouldn’t have continued at that pace for the entirety of the fourth, but the debate remains.
The next step is looking at the opponent. We know about the level of competition in his 81-point game (or lack thereof). However, the Mavericks provided a little more resistance. Coming in with an 18-6 record, the Mavs were one of the league’s best teams, compared to the Raptors who were 14-26 and one of the East’s worst. Neither side provided all-NBA level defense, but the Mavericks were certainly the better squad.
Anytime a 62-point contest is considered second best, that’s a sign of just how great the performance was. To put it into perspective, since Bryant’s 62-point contest, only Carmelo Anthony‘s 62-point game this year equals it. Only one other player eclipsed the 60-point mark in that time also (coincidentally, it was LeBron James and his 61-point performance this year). Although it may be second best in Bryant’s book, it’s still a record-breaking game.
It will always be hard to compare both the games, given the discrepancy in minutes played. However, it will never be hard to marvel at the performances. In each contest, we saw the best Bryant had to offer, and it was nothing short of remarkable.
Let us know down below which game you think was better!