How about 100? Unlikely, says Phil
NEW ORLEANS -- Phil Jackson does not believe Kobe Bryant is capable of breaking Wilt Chamberlain's record of 100 points in a game, and he's not the only one thinking that way.
Kobe doesn't think he could do it, either.
"I tend to agreed with him, just because of the rules and the way the game is being played today," Bryant told me after he scored 50 Friday night in a victory over the Hornets. "They scored so many more points back in the day, had more possessions. In this day and age, with the scouting and the zone defense, it's very tough."
Bryant attempted 29 field goals Friday night -- the first time he's been under 30 during his streak of four consecutive 50-point games -- and made 16, and he also went 16-for-16 from the foul line. As a team, the Lakers attempted 86 shots and 21 free throws.
Contrast that to the numbers from Chamberlain's 100-point game, and you begin to see where Bryant's and Jackson's disbelief is coming from. Chamberlain shot 36 of 63 from the field and 28 of 32 from the line in his 100-point game March 2, 1962, and the Philadelphia Warriors attempted 115 shots and 52 free throws in that game. (Their opponent, the New York Knicks, attempted 118 field goals and 41 free throws in that game).
"The game is not played the same way anymore," Jackson said when I asked him about the possibility of a 101-point game. "A couple teams are running up and down, Phoenix and Memphis, but for the most part you'll never get that many possessions in a game."
Bryant is well aware of the historical significance of his accomplishment, and he is happy it's helping a younger generation of both NBA fans and Lakers fans learn something about the greats of the game from years gone by.
Somebody asked Bryant if he had ever met Chamberlain, and he laughed at the absurdity of the question because he remembers meeting him when he was barely out of kindergarten.
"When I was like 6, the only name I knew him by then was Bombaata, from the Conan the Barbarian movie," Bryant said.
Bryant also spoke to a few other items both related and unrelated to his scoring streak:
• He said he does not think he merits MVP consideration this season, because that award should be reserved for a player on a team with one of the NBA's best records. "You have to honor that. When we get to that point, then maybe I'll get some consideration."
• He claimed he did not know he had 48 points before hitting a tough jumper over Rasual Butler with 5:12 left. "I went up to [assistant coach] Brian Shaw and said, 'Did I get 50 already?' " One player who did know Bryant was on 48 was Butler. "I didn't like being a part of history that way," Butler told me.
• Bryant acknowledged that his scoring streak was spurred by the national debate over whether he was a dirty player after he was suspended twice for elbowing opponents in the face. "For me, that was insulting. To have people talking about something else is a much better thing."
• You may notice on the highlights of Friday night's game how Bryant high-fived a young boy midway through the third quarter after hitting a sick 3-pointer from the left side with a defender draped all over him. I asked Kobe: Why the high-five? "It was a little kid, and he had said, 'What's up,' and I said, 'What's up' back. And I told him: 'Watch this 3. I've got a 3 for you.' "
Chris Sheridan covers the NBA for ESPN Insider. To e-mail Chris, click here.
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