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It doesn't seem all that long ago that a teenage Kobe Bryant assumed the role as the "Next Michael." But 19 seasons later, the once phenom is within striking distance of Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

Kobe and Michael, despite relatively little overlap, are inextricably linked. There are always the questions of titles won, ability to score, shooting prowess and more.

Given that Kobe will likely pass Michael in scoring, B/R's Ric Bucher gives his take on which of the two NBA legends was the better scorer and who he'd want with the last shot.

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Just 43 wins away, the San Antonio Spurs' legendary three—Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker—can feel it.

With those 43 wins, they will eclipse the Boston Celtics trio of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, who dominated the NBA in the 1980s and entertained with so many thrilling battles with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Given this milestone, B/R's Ric Bucher examines which of these trios was better and which will have a more lasting legacy.

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Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema scored a pair of goals in Wednesday's 3-0 win over Liverpool at Anfield, thus becoming the third-fastest player to record 40 Champions League goals, having reached the milestone in just 67 games, per ESPN's Alexis Martin-Tamayo (via ESPN's Paul Carr).

The only players to score 40 goals faster were Lionel Messi in 61 games and Ruud Van Nistelrooy in an incredible 45.

After Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring in the 23rd minute of Wednesday's match, Benzema added goals in the 30th and 41st minutes, allowing Madrid to carry a three-goal lead into the half.

Benzema's first mark was a header on a cross from Toni Kroos, while the second was an easy tap-in amid some chaos in front of the goal. Both came in the aftermath of corner kicks, though Liverpool had a 9-5 advantage in corners taken.

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Liverpool set an unfortunate club record in Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Real Madrid, falling by three or more goals at home for the first time ever in European competition, per ESPN's Paul Carr.

Madrid took a commanding lead in Champions League Group B, netting a 23rd-minute goal from Cristiano Ronaldo that was quickly followed by a pair of Karim Benzema strikes in the 30th and 41st minutes.

Madrid has all nine points and a plus-eight goal differential through three matches, while Liverpool, FC Basel and Ludogorets Razgrad are even at three points apiece.

Wednesday's result, while perhaps not all that surprising in light of the two clubs' recent Champions League records, still had to come as a shock to Liverpool.

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San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers set a franchise record in Thursday's 35-21 loss to the Denver Broncos by throwing multiple touchdown passes in a seventh consecutive game, per the Chargers' official Twitter account.

Rivers completed 30 of his 41 pass attempts for 252 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions against a tough Broncos defense.

He has 19 touchdown passes during the seven-game run, and with 20 through the first eight games of the season, he's on pace for a would-be career high of 40.

In the midst of his best statistical season, Rivers, 32, surpassed the previous franchise record held by none other than Dan Fouts, who threw multiple touchdown passes in six straight games during the 1981 campaign, per Pro-Football-Reference.com's Play Index.

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Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning tied an NFL record by throwing multiple touchdown passes in a 13th consecutive regular-season game Thursday against the San Diego Chargers, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Manning completed 25 of his 35 pass attempts for 286 yards and three touchdowns in the 35-21 victory, extending a streak that began in a Week 12 overtime loss to the New England Patriots last season. The remarkable run has included 10 games with three or more touchdown passes, including five games with exactly four and one game with five.

Manning has tossed 43 touchdowns during the streak, with an average of 3.3 per game that works out to approximately 53 over the course of a 16-game season.

Of course, Manning piled up a record-setting 55 touchdown passes last year, actually besting the pace in his ongoing streak. One year later, he's on pace for 50 touchdowns, which would match Tom Brady's 2007 total for second on the single-season list.

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San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates became his franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards upon catching a 31-yard pass during the second quarter of Thursday's 35-21 loss to the Denver Broncos, per The San Diego Union-Tribune.

The record-setting reception, which was Gates' third catch of the night, converted a 3rd-and-20 from the Denver 33-yard line to set up a two-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Keenan Allen on the next play.

In addition to helping San Diego tie the game at 7-7, Gates' long gain brought his career total to 9,596 receiving yards, surpassing Hall-of-Famer Lance Alworth's 9,584 atop the all-time franchise list.

Already the franchise leader for receiving touchdowns, Gates caught Nos. 95 and 96 in Thursday's game, scoring from four yards out in the third quarter, and then from 10 yards out in the fourth. He finished the night with five receptions for 54 yards and two touchdowns, bringing his career totals to 751 receptions, 9,610 receiving yards and 96 receiving touchdowns—all franchise records.

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It didn't take long for the San Francisco Giants to put a run on the board Wednesday night, as Gregor Blanco led off Game 2 against the Kansas City Royals with a long ball over the right field fence, becoming the first player in franchise history to hit a leadoff homer in a World Series game, per ESPN Stats & Info.

The solo shot was the first leadoff homer in any World Series game since Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia hit one against the Colorado Rockies in 2007, according to MLB's PR Twitter account.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura gave Blanco a healthy dose of fastballs to begin the contest. Although the outfielder isn't typically known for his power, he wasted little time making the 23-year-old flamethrower pay for one that was left up in the zone. Blanco hit just five homers in 393 regular-season at-bats this year, and he has collected just 15 four-baggers through 1,948 at-bats in his career.

Blanco's moment didn't last long, however, as the Royals were able to tie the game on a Billy Butler single in the bottom of the frame. They took the lead in the next inning on an RBI double from Alcides Escobar.

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When Kelvin Herrera of the Kansas City Royals was credited with the victory in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, the Royals bullpen became the first in MLB history to start a postseason with a cumulative 7-0 record, per Elias Sports Bureau (via ESPN Stats & Info).

In addition to the record-setting streak, the seven victories have tied an all-time postseason mark for most total bullpen wins, per MLB Stat of the Day.

The original record was set back in 2003 by the Florida Marlins, who posted a 7-1 mark during their World Series-winning effort. Braden Looper and Carl Pavano each recorded two victories, while Chad Fox, Brad Penny and Ugueth Urbina had one apiece.

Kansas City has received two victories apiece from Wade Davis and Jason Frasor, and Wednesday night marked Herrera's first win of the 2014 postseason. Left-hander Danny Duffy and 21-year-old Brandon Finnegan have also recorded wins for the Royals.

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To many, Brett Favre's touchdown record seemed untouchable, yet Peyton Manning eclipsed the Packer legend and now sits first all time with 510 career touchdown passes.

Of course, the NFL is now a passing league, with touchdown and passing records getting bested on a weekly basis.

But, are any of today's stud quarterbacks on pace to catch Peyton Manning? 

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller and former NFL safety Matt Bowen break down the projections.