Wednesday, February 4, 2009

LeBron Vs Kobe, A Comparative Study of MSG Performances

MADISON SQUARE GARDEN - Outside of the Iron Sheik and Gerry McNamara, is there anyone who enjoys a trip to MSG more than Kobe or LeBron? The two most talented players the league has seen since MJ have been able to name their stat lines at the hallowed Garden grounds.

Interesting that Knicks coach Mike 'antoni (not a misprint, you figure it out) actually knows both pretty well from their time in Beijing during the Summer Olympics - yet still decided one-on-one was the optimal way to neutralize the stars
In a way, their stat lines in this game properly encapsulated the essence of everything we know about these players, and everything that makes them great (that sounds like an awful Mike and Mike promo). LeBron filled up the stat sheet as usual - as did the guy he defended most the night. While Kobe once again put up huge scoring numbers, and not much else. Both led their teams to a victory, albeit over a a sub-.500 team.

ESPN will no doubt do an Outside the Lines panel discussion with Skip Bayless, Spike Lee, Chris Broussard, John Hollinger and Gloria James' probation officer, comparing and contrasting these performances. We might as well add to the fruitless debate.

Here's what LeBron did better: Had 11 assists and 10 rebounds (the most points with a triple double since 1976). Accounted for 78 points. Lied in the press conference about not knowing how many rebounds he had before his triple double-clinching rebound).

Here's what Kobe did better: Less shots but 9 more points and no miss free throws in 7 less minutes, with a +19 in +/- (LeBron had a +7) . Lied in the press conference about not knowing the MSG scoring record before his record-clinching points.

While some (like Jeff Van Gundy) are touting that LeBron should be getting some defensive player of the year votes (and he's improved exponentially in that area), James was in charge of guarding Al Harrington most the night and down the stretch, Harrington tied his season high with 39 points. Kobe, on the other hand, defended Chris Duhon and was more of a rover for the majority of his game with the Knicks. LeBron was defended by David Lee most the night, while Kobe was checked by Wilson Chandler (never trust a guy who uses the first name of two very popular mid-90's sit-com characters to defend the best players in the game). Very tough to compare apples and oranges, even if we're talking about a game in the Big Apple. So we'll leave it up to you to decide, who ultimately had the better game.

In the end, basketball fans win out, as they get to see Kobe and LeBron square off this Sunday at the Q, as the Lakers try to become the first team give to give the Cavs a home loss. Baseball fans get nothing out of this deal.


Tim said...

thanks for the g-mac mention. I'll be interested to see what gloria's probation officer has to say.

Anonymous said...

"James was in charge of guarding Al Harrington most the night and down the stretch, Harrington tied his season high with 39 points."

Did you watch the game webmaster? Wally Szczerbiak was in charge of guarding Harrington most of the night, which would equal big numbers for just about any player in the league. When he wasn't covering him, Varejao was given the task and he was also abused by Harrington. LBJ covered Harrington a few times down the stretch but lets get our facts straight here guys.

Webmaster said...

I stand by what I said anonymous. I just looked at my DVR and can count 5 different times James was scored on in the first half alone.

But let's say I accepted your argument. Then that's the difference between LeBron and Kobe on the defensive end. While LeBron is an excellent rover b/c of his athleticism, he should want to guard a guy having a career night right?

In the olympics, it was Kobe guarding the best players on the other team. He's always accepted that challenge. I give lots of credit to LeBron for improving the attitude that was missing for his first 5 years (kobe came right in playing defense immediately).

Appreciate your thoughts though (seriously!).

Anonymous said...

Al Harrington scoring 39 is a career night? I guess you haven't watched basketball for the last, oh, 3 years...

Webmaster said...

Well considering Al harrington's 39 points is just one shy of his actualy career high, I think my claim that it was career night was pretty on target.

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