NBA FanHouse walks through the Valley of the Most Likely; we shall fear no topic.
League MVP, NBA Championships, Olympic Gold, 81 points in a game...you name it, and Kobe Bryant has pretty much done it. Well, almost everything.
Despite having some pretty big games against the Knicks, Kobe has yet to score 50 points in a game at Madison Square Garden. There's something that just feels very wrong about that statement.
Michael Jordan made it fashionable to have great performances at the Garden. Jordan had numerous spectacular games and plays at MSG, but set the bar at another level when he became the first Knicks opponent to reach the 50 point plateau at the Garden on opening night of the 1986-87 season. Jordan later broke his own record when he dropped a double nickle "wearing the four five" during his comeback in 1995.
Since Jordan, every NBA player has wanted to come to the Garden and show out. But through 2007, no visiting player other than Jordan had been able to come into the Garden and drop 50. Of course, that all changed when LeBron James came in and obliterated the hapless Knicks with a 50 point, 10 assist, 8 rebound performance last March.
So now Jordan and LeBron are the only visiting players in NBA history to score 50 points in the Garden. That fact can't be sitting well with the hyper-competitive Black Mamba. I wouldn't be surprised if he's already marked February 2, 2009 as the date to join the Garden 50 point club.
The odds of Kobe dropping 50 in the Garden are particularly good this season, considering that the Knicks are now playing Mike D'Antoni's seven seconds or less (read: no defense) style of ball. In the past, Kobe torched D'Antoni's anti-defense Suns for 50 points on two separate occasions. And they at least had top defenders Raja Bell and Shawn Marion to try and contain him. The Knicks, on the other hand, have absolutely no one to hang with KB.
After the jump, check out highlights of Kobe's best MSG performance to date.