Hello, all. Thanks for joining us. Let's get right to it.
John (Ft. Meyers):
how can you say that kobe's performance is simply the best ever? hanging 81 on the hapless raptors in the staples center in the watered down nba of today qualifies as great sure, but the greatest, no. the greatest performance ever was the 63 that a young michael jordan hung on the celtics of bird, parrish, and mchale in the boston garden in the playoffs. go put up 81 on the pistons or spurs in the playoffs and then we will talk.
Wilt's 100, until now, is considered the greatest individual feat in the game's history. I rate Kobe's as more impressive for reasons you've all probably heard dozens of times by now, but mainly because it happened in a legitimate game that didn't get screwed up by intentional fouling on both sides . . . or a game on the last day of the regular season which degenerates into an exercise solely designed to win someone a scoring title.
However . . .
You do touch upon the one area where I am inclined to throw in a disclaimer. The playoffs. Amazing individual performances like Magic playing center in the clinching game of the '80 Finals and filling up the box score obviously counts for a ton. Anything special that happens in the playoffs means more than anything that happens in the regular season. Yet we're simply talking about the greatest individual one-night feat in NBA annals and Wilt's 100 is considered the standard. Comparing the two, I say Kobe trumped him.
I'll keep it short and sweet: Peja for Artest, a matter of if or when?
With Artest, we're all probably better off saying IF. Artest-for-Maggette was "done" and look what happened. My quickie reactions are as follows: Indiana would surprise me a bit here by taking on a free agent-to-be because keeping Peja is going to be expensive and we keep hearing how concerned Indy is about getting its payroll down. Chicago (a city Peja likes) has significant cap room in the summer and would have a decent shot to steal him away, just to throw out one potential complication. One reason why none of Indy's talks with Denver have resulted in a deal is because Nene is also a free agent-to-be and the Pacers weren't sure that they'd be able to keep him around.
If the Pacers are convinced that they won't lose Peja this summer without at least getting something back for him in a sign-and-trade, then it makes more sense because he can give them some immediate help, which Indy clearly needs. But that brings us to the Sacramento side. I like this for the Kings even less. We've discussed more than once how the Webber trade can't be fully evaluated until we see the big move Sacramento makes as a follow-up. Artest might only be part of the follow-up plan, but if you're a Kings fan, ask yourself this: Is Artest any more reliable than C-Webb's bad knee? Not on this scorecard.
I'll be a Kobe believer this Sunday when he plays the Pistons. Throw up 60+ on them, and I'll be impressed. Meanwhile, why has the 70-win pace talk died down? The Pistons are still on pace, and if not for the Utah Jazz sweep (????) they'd be 35-3!
It's only died down because a lot of us have been too busy talking about other stuff. But hopefully you saw that the ESPN.com NBA Power Rankings committee (of one) noted Monday that the Pistons are on the verge of trumping the Tigers' famed 35-5 start and thus still on a 70 pace. I'm sure we'll all be back on that one soon enough. Fact is, though, that Artest and Kobe headlines have dominated discussion all season. Reader response says those are the issues that interest the masses most.
Duncan hasn't played well for a while now. Is he really that hurt or He is declining?
Funny. Declining? Wishful thinking, although I can certainly understand some anti-Duncan sentiment coming out of Boston after the lottery worked out how it did. He's hurting. But Duncan wants to play through it because only long-term rest is going to make a difference and the Spurs support him. Yet this is another big story overshadowed by the nation's Kobe-and-Artest obsession. Duncan and Ginobili are hobbling, which obviously gives Dallas and Phoenix more hope than they might have had.
As shown in your great power rankings. The Nuggets are looking better but dont't they still need something to take it to the next level?
Yes. They need some health for starters. If they can play this way without Camby, who was their best player this season until he got hurt, they should be a real nuisance when he gets back to help a better-than-ever 'Melo. But I still couldn't put Denver higher than fourth in the West behind Spurs-Suns-Mavs. As every Nuggets fan knows, they're going to have to bolster their shooting eventually and I'm still not the biggest Miller fan when it comes to PGs.
Right now, Who would you take: Carmelo Anthony or Tracy McGrady
With T-Mac's back in its present state, how can you not say 'Melo?
Point Blank. Is Amare coming back this season?
I believe so, yes. Unless there is a setback in his rehab, there is no reason to believe otherwise. But when I spoke to him earlier this month, he did say that sitting out the entire season remains a possibility. Personally, if it were my franchise, that's the direction I'd lean. But you also have to acknowledge the fact that Amare is not your average physical specimen. If anyone can get back faster than usual from the dreaded microfracture deal, he's the guy.
What else would the Mavs have to achieve to be placed at #1 in Power Rankings?
The Pistons are playing at a level where it's not all up to the Mavs.
WHEN IS MING BACK?
Not until February, most likely, but at least it now appears that we'll indeed see him before the All-Star Game. Which is the least Houstonites deserve after a half-season of injury torment.
Logan (Phoenix, AZ):
Why is it that when Steve Nash has a 28 point and 16 assist night nobody makes a big deal out of it, yet that alone accounts for at least 60, most likely more because of 3 point shots, AND it gets his teammates going. Can anyone honestly deny that Nash has had a number of "80 point" games this season? That's what an MVP is.
Didn't I just write a Nash-for-MVP-again story? Maybe I need to write about him more often.
Danny (Santa Monica, CA):
Not to nitpick or anything, but you said in your article that 3-pointers only accounted for 7 of his points, but I think it accounted for 7 3-pointers, or 21 of his points . . . still, I agree that Kobe's performance was greater than Wilt's.
I wish I had a dime for every one of these e-mails I've received in the last day or two. We've got a lot of folks who need to work on their reading comprehension. The 3-point line only gave Kobe seven EXTRA points. That is what I wrote. If he would have taken those same shots in Wilt's era, he still would have gotten 14 points for them. It's not 21 points or zero. The shots still went in. C'mon, people.
Marc, Can you see the Bucks moving Magloire, now that Andrew has shown he can play a N.B.A style game night in and night out?
More likely in the summer than midseason. I wouldn't totally rule out a Magloire move at the deadline, but the Bucks are struggling WITH him right now and wouldn't be helped in the short term by getting smaller. It's helping Bogut as a rookie to have Magloire as an escort. Keeping him out of foul trouble
Why didnt the Raptors use Pape Sow to guard Kobe?
I was going to say it, but thank you. Great way to wrap it up.
We'll do it again soon, everyone. Thanks for all the questions.