Kobe's Best Finals Performances vs. Michael Jordan's!

Isaiah MontoyaCorrespondent IJune 3, 2010

10 Jun 1998:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls in action against Chris Morris and Howard Eisley of the Utah Jazz during the NBA Finals Game 4 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls defeated the Jazz 86-82. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /Allsport
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Facing a team like Boston without Shaq may lead to yet more bad finals games for Kobe. The more you look into it, Kobe's bad finals performances are somehow overlooked, and more common than people think. Put it this way, after this article you will never compare him to MJ again. Game two of the 2010 Finals (#8 Kobe worst) saw KB shoot 40% again in a loss where his man, Ray Allen made a finals record 8 three pointers. 

In his career so far, Kobe has played in 35 finals games. In his finals career, Kobe has averaged 25 points on .414 percent shooting from the field and .300 percent from three-point range, including a 1/7 effort in the game three win. His regular season career averages are higher with 25.5 points, 45.5 percent shooting and 33.3 percent from three-range.

What were Kobe’s 10 worst and 10 best finals performances?

Worst Individual Finals Performances by Kobe Bryant

No. 10

In game two of the 2000 Finals vs. Indiana, Kobe only scored TWO POINTS, and this is only his 10th worst finals game!

He took three shots and only made one, and he missed a three point attempt too. He was only played nine minutes because he hurt his ankle in the first quarter, but the Lakers, thanks to Shaq, won anyway.

In contrast, Michael Jordan never once scored under 22 points in any of his finals games, and never lost a series.

No. 10 Jordan worst- Game 3 1998 Finals - Jordan only had 24 points on a night where he took only 14 shots of which he made 7 (50%). He made 10 of 11 from the line against Utah and the Bulls won anyway. Jordan added only 3 rebs, 2 assists, 1 stl and 1 blk.

No. 9

In game one vs. Boston in 2008 Kobe did score 24 points, but it was on 9 of 26 shooting, missing all three three-pointers he attempted. He had three rebounds and one steal also, but Boston won and eventually took the series.

No. 9 Jordan worst - In the 1996 closer against Seattle (game 6), Jordan won on Father’s Day, and capped off a comeback like no other finishing off a 72-10 season. But in that last game he didn’t put up impressive individual stats…well he did, but just not compared to himself. He was rather Kobeish in this one. Jordan had a career Finals low 22 points on five of 19 shooting. He did make 11 of 12 from the line and added seven boards but he did have five turnovers. His stats weren’t his best, but it was his most satisfying title win that night!

No. 8

In game 2 of the 2010 Finals vs Boston the Lakers let the Celtics tie the series up. Kobe once again shot only 40% 8/20 and had only 21 points to go along with his 5 fouls which weakened his attack in the fourth. He could not stop Rondo and Allen scored 8 three pointers, a few in Kobe's face. After a good game one, The Celts clamped down on KB24.

No. 8 Jordan worst – The Seattle series in 1996 was the only time Jordan had great teammates. In game one he had a sub-par Jordan game but the team still won. MJ scored 28 points on 9 of 18 shooting. He also made 9 of 10 from the line and added 7 rebs 2 asts 2 stls and 1 blk. He did have 4 fouls, but this is Jordan’s eighth WORST finals game, that’s how good he was.

No. 7

In his first ever Finals appearance in game one of 2000, the Lakers beat the Pacers definitively. Kobe was rather shaky though. He played 38 minutes and took only 13 shots. He made 6 of them. Bryant missed both threes he attempted. His 14 points was not much, but he did have five assists. His excuse was it was his first Finals game.

No. 7 Jordan worst – When the Bulls lost to Portland in game four of the 1992 Finals he was kind of off, but his teammates were to blame on a higher level. Jordan contributed with 32 points, but only made 11 of 26 shots from the field. He was a perfect 8 for 8 from the line but only hit 2 of 6 three’s. He did have six assists and five boards in the game but it wasn’t enough – after all he didn’t have Shaq or Gasol to make him look better.

No. 6

In the final game (game five) of the 2004 Finals, Kobe, Shaq, Karl Malone and Gary Payton lost it all.

In that game Kobe tried to do it all, and the rest of the guys were rather disregarded.

Wrong move Kobe.

In 45 minutes Kobe only made 7 of 21 shots and missed both his three attempts. He grabbed only 3 rebounds and passed off for 4 assists. Three turnovers and two personal fouls didn’t help as Kobe scored 24 but they were ousted four games to one.

No. 6 Jordan worst – At age 35 Jordan was the oldest NBA MVP, Finals MVP and scoring champion ever. The first finals game in 1998 kind of showed his age and the Jazz won. Jordan did have an outstanding 33 points but he shot badly (for MJ not for Kobe) with a 13/29 shooting night and 6/8 free throws. He had 2 blocks but no steals and only two assists with three boards in the loss.

No. 5

The Lakers heartbreaker of a loss in Game Six vs. Boston came for a reason.
Bad shooting was one of them. Kobe led the bad shooting exhibition as he seemed to give up in the worst finals closer loss in NBA history.

Kobe only made 7 of 22 shots, including 3 of 9 from three point range. He finished with 22 points and he added just 3 rebounds, 1 assist and one steal in the losing game. Kobe loses second finals.


No. 5 Jordan worstGame 3 1992 Finals vs. Portland wasn’t Jordan’s greatest personal performance ever, but he still willed his team to the win in the end. His point total was 26, on 11 of 22 shooting. He missed all four three pointers he took but he did have 3 steals 4 assists and 5 rebounds. In the press conference, as if apologizing for only scoring 26 in the win Jordan said, “It was a win, and that’s all that matters.” Exactamundo.

No. 4

In game one of 2001, Iverson bested Kobe, and Philly beat L.A. Bryant played an astonishing 52 minutes in the overtime game and made 7 of 22 shots.

He was one of one from the free throw line and finished with 15 points. His next highest stat was 6 turnovers, then five assists.

No. 4 Jordan worst – Any loss in the Finals for Jordan was a bad game to him. In game five in 1998 vs. Utah, Jordan ‘only’ had 28 points in 45 minutes of play and the team lost. He shot an abysmal nine of 26 from the field and the rest of the Bulls just looked lost. Jordan came up with 10 of 11 free throws and added 'only' 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. 

No. 3

In game four of the 2000 Finals, Kobe Bryant had another really off game and the team lost to Indiana. Bryant, somehow, shot an unmistakably bad 4 of 20 from the field, and added just 3 assists. He finished the game with a total of 8 points in 37 minutes!

No. 3 Jordan worst – Jordan did shoot 50% on the night and he held up his end of the bargain but the Bulls did lose against Seattle in game 5 of 1996. He had a personal low one assist in the game but he did score 26 points. Was he being selfish or did his teammates suck that bad? I’d go with his teammates sucked that bad, not like Shaq or Gasol. This was Longley and Wennington. After all Jordan did go 11/22 on the night in his third worst ever Finals game. 

No. 2

In 2004, game three was essential for the Lakers to win, so the Pistons clamped down on Kobe.

The Pistons won. They could not stop Shaq, but they held Bryant to 4 of 13 shooting from the field and he missed all four, three’s he took.

He had 3 rebounds in the loss and scored only 11 points!

No. 2 Jordan worst – In game four vs Utah in 1997, the 34 year-old Jordan, tied a personal career finals low with 'only' 22 points. He was 11/27 from the field, and the Bulls lost their second in a row against the Jazz.

No. 1

In his worst of all finals performance Kobe Bryant helped the Lakers fall 1-3 to Detroit in 2004.

The game before this would have been his worst finals game ever, but this one topped it. Kobe played a whole 45 minutes and took a lot of shots, but he only made 8 of 25 (.320 percent) shots.

He made 2 of 6 three pointers, and had an abysmal zero rebounds and 2 assists with 3 turnovers and 3 personal fouls.
In this game, it was actually his fault that they lost.

No. 1 Jordan worst – After winning the first three in a row of the 1996 Finals the Bulls came out sluggish in game four leading to the first of two straight losses. Jordan looked a grizzled 33 years old in his worst ever finals game. He only shot 6 of 19 from the field and he did make 11 of 13 free throws but he did miss both his three attempts. He had three rebounds and two assists with one steal. His four turnovers and three fouls with 23 points in a loss, made this the worst Jordan ever played in the finals, which ain’t really that bad compared to… you know who! Ha ha ha

Best Individual Finals Performances by Kobe Bryant 

No. 10

In game one of the 2010 Finals vs Boston, truly, Pau Gasol was game MVP and the reason Kobe seemed so flawless scoring 30 points. Nevertheless; L.A. killed a pathetic Boston team in a weak and stifled defensive and offensive game for the envious green. 

No. 10 Jordan best – In game four of the 1991 Finals, Magic thought he’d lead his Lakers back to bring the series to 2-2, but instead Jordan outshot, out-defended and outpassed Magic on his way to a 3-1 series lead and 28 points, 13 assists, 5 rebounds and two blocks. Jordan averaged over 11 assists per game in the 1991 Finals, plus over 30 points!

No. 9

In game three vs. Orlando, Bryant made only 11 of 25 shots from the field and five of 10 from the line, but he made up for it with eight assists.

Of course, it was not enough as Orlando still won and were only down 1-3.

No. 9 Jordan best – The closing game of the series against Utah in 1997 was an awesome one for MJ. Not only did he win his fifth ring, in five tries, but he personally made sure it happened with 39 points in 44 minutes. The guard grabbed 11 boards and dished off for 4 assists but the Finals win was the best part.

No. 8

Game four vs. NJ was the clincher in 2002. Kobe did even better than in game three as he recorded 25 points on 7 of 16 shooting. He played an all around game contributing with six rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and only one turnover. Shaq was named Finals MVP for the third time.

No. 8 Jordan best – game 5 vs Phoenix in 1993 was another sweet game for MJ as he scored 41 points in 44 minutes on 16 of 29 shooting from the field and 7 rebounds and seven assists with two blocks. The thing is, Charles and KJ were on an awesome team and the Bulls lost that one. Man, that team was good.

No. 7

In 2001 vs. the 76ers, Bryant played a good game four, and almost had a triple double.
Kobe scored 19 points, grabbed 10 boards, and dished off for nine assists. He did have four turnovers and two fouls but he also had one steal and one block. This is the closest Kobe has come to a triple double in the Finals.

Lakers won.

No. 7 Jordan best – In his last Finals appearance ever, the 35 year old mastermind, stole the ball from Malone and then took the ball down, watched the clock and pushed Russell out of the way and made his last shot, and won his sixth ring in six tries. Who scores 45 points in their last ever Finals game? Jordan, baby, that’s who. He made 15 field goals, 12 free throws and 3 three pointers in the game and added 7 rebounds.

No. 6

In game four vs. Orlando in 2009, Bryant scored 32 points in the win. It took him a bad 11 of 31 (35.5 percent) shooting to get there, but he also passed off for eight assists. On defense he had a steal and a block.

No. 6 Jordan bestJordan scored 55 points in this one! A double nickel he laid on the Phoenix Suns and Barkley in 1993. He scored 55 points in 46 minutes on 21 of 37 shooting! He also hit 13 free throws and had 8 rebounds and 4 assists. You know a player is the greatest ever when they score 55 and it is only their 6th greatest Finals game ever. Kobe scored two points in his 10th WORST game in the finals ever. MJ never had under 22 points even once in 35 Finals games.

No. 5

In game five in 2001, the Lakers closed out the 76ers. Kobe had an even better performance than the game before.

In a series that saw O’Neal win his second Finals MVP, Bryant scored 26 points on seven of 18 shooting. He did make 10 of 11 free throws in the game and grabbed 12 rebounds; a personal Finals high.

No. 5 Jordan best – In game one of the 1997 Finals Jordan hit an amazing buzzer beater for the win, but in game two he actually had an overall better game with 38 points 13 rebounds and 9 assists with 2 steals. The near triple double for Jordan propelled a lagging Chicago team to a 2-0 series lead.

No. 4

In game two of the 2001 Finals, Kobe Bryant bounced back from a crappy 15 point performance and a loss in game one, to score 31 points on 11 of 23 shooting. He had eight rebounds and six assists as L.A. tied the series.

No. 4 Jordan bestIn his first ever Finals appearance Michael Jordan was the main man any way you look at it, but his former college teammate Sam Perkins hit the last second game winner as L.A. beat Chicago. Jordan did his part with 36 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds with 3 steals on 14 of 24 shooting and 7 of 9 from the line. He did this all in 40 minutes.

No. 3

In 2008 vs. Boston, Kobe had a fine game two, but the Lakers still lost. He shot 11 of 23 from the field which is good for Kobe. He made seven of seven free throws, had four rebounds, and eight assists to go with three steals. He did have four turnovers and three fouls, but he scored a total of 30 points.

No. 3 Jordan best – game two vs Phoenix in 1993 was another crazy scoring game for Jordan as he put up 42 points in 40 minutes. Also amazing is that he had 12 rebounds and 9 assists for a near triple double. He added two steals as Phoenix threw everything imaginable at him, but he still made 18/36 from the field and 2/2 from three range. The Bulls won.

No. 2

In the closer vs. Orlando in 2009, Kobe had his second best ever Finals game.

The guard had five rebounds and six assists with two steals and an amazing four blocks.
He added 30 points on 10 of 23 shooting and made two of five from three point range. Without Shaq, but with Gasol, the Lakers won the title that day.

No. 2 Jordan best – In his second finals game ever in 1991 Jordan came back from another awesome game where he put up 36 points and 12 assists but this time, no one was going to stop Jordan from winning. In the first game Perkins hit a game winning three for the Lakers win but the Bulls swept them the rest of the way, started off by this amazing Jordan game. In only 36 minutes, Jordan schooled the entire Lakers team so bad, that if you were watching this game you would freak out at how amazing Jordan was compared to anyone. He put up 33 points and had 13 assists and 7 rebounds 2 steals and a block. He did it on 15 of 18 shooting!, at a certain point hitting an all-time playoff record 13 consecutive field goals without a miss! Remember when Jordan flew into the lane and then switched hand and layed it up on the other side? “Oh, a spectacular move by Michael Jordan!” said Marv Albert.

No. 1

Bryant’s greatest individual Finals game of his career was easily and by far game one of the 2009 Finals.

Kobe shot 16 of 34, and was eight for eight from the line. He also had eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and two blocks. He ended up scoring a career Finals high 40 points that day and set the tone for the series.

No. 1 Jordan best – I have never in my life seen a player on any level play as absolutely perfect and exciting as Jordan did in the first game of the 1992 Finals vs Portland. I was literally left dumbfounded as halftime came and Jordan had just hit his sixth three pointer over 6’10” Cliff Robinson, as he put his hands up, like, “I can’t explain this”, but he was the greatest player ever and he had 35 points AT HALFTIME!!! I never have ever seen a person play that good at that level in the NBA, never. The Bulls were up so bad that they barely even played Jordan in the second half. He finished with 39 points on 16/27 shooting and those six threes were spine tingling. Jordan the most exciting player ever, and the greatest ever! Sorry KB lovers, but MJ is unexplainable.

Jordan did that for a whole Finals series in 1993 vs. Phoenix, by averaging 41.0 points per game in that six game series, the highest finals scoring average ever, including a 55 point outburst vs. Sir Charles and KJ.

Will Bryant add more to his top 10 worst or best games this year vs. Boston?

Maybe Boston should just let him shoot and stop everyone else, because it seems that even at his greatest, it is hard for Kobe to hit over 50 percent in the Finals.

Boston is a defensive team that could win the championship again. Or will Kobe actually play like Jordan for once and beat a team that is better on paper?

We will see.


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