I've said it before and I'll say it again, Paul Pierce and Kendrick Perkins transitioning to the media is one of the best things to happen to Celtics fans. Every day it seems like one of them is giving us some behind the scenes story from their years together, and even if what they say is utterly ridiculous at times, I can't get enough. On this edition of my beloved Celtics saying crazy shit, Perk declares it was much easier playing and beating Kobe than LeBron. That he would prefer the Mamba.
I'd like to look at this statement in two ways. First let's check in on the numbers from each. Both Kobe and LeBron have had a ton of high pressure elimination game situations. Let's begin with shots to take the lead in the last 5 seconds of regulation/OT. In the regular season, you want Kobe
Kobe: 25/16% shooting (16-64 and 4-25)
LeBron: 14/4.8% shooting (8-57 and 1-21)
But in the playoffs? The numbers don't lie
Kobe: 23/0% (3-13 and 0-3)
LeBron: 50/66% (8-16 and 2-3)
Their averages in elimination games is also pretty one sided
Kobe: 22.6/5.7/3.4 on 44% shooting and a 8-11 record
LeBron: 33.6/10.8/7.9 on 49% shooting and a 14-10 record
Now there are certainly moments where LeBron has turtled. There's no denying that, especially against both Pierce and Perk so I can understand why Kobe stans would get upset with this claim. But that brings me to my second area of evaluation on this topic.
As a fan who has watched his team go up against both in high pressure situations, I feared LeBron more than Kobe. People forget Kobe's 6-24 in Game 7 in 2010. Maybe this is because LeBron's Game 6 in 2012 was the most impressive thing I've maybe ever witnessed in person, but there's just something about LeBron, especially in his MIA years that was more terrifying than Kobe's Lakers run for me as a fan. Sure Kobe could get hot, but it felt like LeBron could dominate an entire game in every aspect, something we didn't really see Kobe do. Plus I always felt like LeBron got a better whistle than Kobe and that was so fucking frustrating.
So while every day it may seem like Paul and Perk are saying ridiculous shit on the internet/TV, I don't think this is one of them. In a win or go home game I would much rather have to deal with Kobe than LeBron. Feels like that shouldn't be too controversial.