While Bryant outplayed James Sunday, will he continue to do so for the rest of the season?
In the process, can Kobe pass LeBron in the hunt for the MVP?
It's possible. If we learned anything, it's that anything involving Bryant is possible.
Comparing the two superstars' collective seasons to date, the numbers are very impressive.
28.9 PPG (leads NBA), 4.8 APG, 5.8 RPG, Lakers 23-14
27.8 PPG (third in NBA), 6.8 APG, 8.4 RPG, Heat 28-9
In almost perfect timing to begin the stretch run, Bryant has the Lakers looking more like the Lakers should. They've won three straight and eight of their past 10 games.
But Bryant will have to continue to do something special to jump ahead of James in the MVP race.
LeBron is in the middle of a truly great season, but if he and the Heat come back to earth, it opens the door for Bryant.
Kobe's gone over the 30-point mark for the third consecutive game since donning the mask, and to win the MVP he's going to have to keep putting up big scoring numbers and more importantly keep the Lakers winning.
On paper, if both teams finish in the top three in their respective conferences, you can make the case that Bryant's season has been more impressive.
The Lakers are thin on paper. They don't have a point guard, get next to nothing from the small forward spot and have next to no one on the bench.
James, on the other hand, is surrounded by much more talent and the Heat are a much deeper team than the Lakers.
Most people have already crowned the Heat NBA champions, so if Bryant can continue what he's doing and lead the Lakers to an impressive finish, his season could be considered more impressive on paper.
Then look at what the MVP should stand for.
Bryant is more valuable to the Lakers than James is to the Heat, and that's no knock on LeBron.
Take Kobe off the Lakers and this is a lottery team. Do the same to LeBron and the Heat still make the playoffs.
Of course, passing LeBron in the MVP race is one thing, but Bryant would still have to worry about passing up the likes of Kevin Durant as well.
My gut feeling is that at the end of the season Bryant won't win the MVP, but that doesn't mean he won't deserve to win it.