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Faceoff: MJ's Bulls vs. Kobe's Lakers

September 20, 2012|RedEye

Talk about the L.A. Lakers surpassing the Bulls' record-setting 72 wins from the 1995-96 season pops up nearly every year. It then quickly evaporates. But with the Lakers boasting four future Hall of Famers in their starting lineup, such talk has emerged again, courtesy of former Bull Metta World Peace.

"With Dwight Howard, Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, it's definitely possible," World Peace told the Los Angeles Times. "They're great players.

"Some guys are scared to say stuff. They make a prediction, and if they don't reach that prediction, you have to deal with the pressure of everybody talking about you. Then, what happens if you don't reach it and the season is still on? I just do what I want to do and say what I want to say. I probably shouldn't have said it."

World Peace stopped short of saying whether the 2012-13 Lakers are better than the 72-win Bulls, though that won't stop US from doing so, faceoff-style.

—Los Angeles Times contributed

Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant

What a matchup this would be. Jordan at 32 vs. Bryant at 34—the master vs. the student. Signs point to Jordan getting the best of it, though. First, because he's Jordan. Second, Bryant's a little more beat up than MJ was at this point in his career.

Advantage: Bulls

Scottie Pippen vs. Metta World Peace

World Peace can play D, but so could Pip. Plus, the 30-year-old Pippen averaged way more points (19.4 to 7.7), assists (5.4 to 2.2) and rebounds (6.4 to 3.4) than World Peace did last season. That oughta shut him up. For a second or two.

Advantage: Bulls

Ron Harper vs. Steve Nash

Harper's height advantage (6-foot-6) would benefit the Bulls on offense, but he'd have a tough time containing Nash (6-3), one of the best passers in NBA history.

Advantage: Lakers

Luc Longley vs. Dwight Howard

Oh boy, this is where it gets ugly for the Bulls. Superman would dunk on Longley a mininum of three times per quarter. Look out below.

Advantage: Lakers

Dennis Rodman vs. Pau Gasol

Gasol can light up the scoreboard, whereas Rodman was a nonfactor on that front. That helps negate the Worm's advantage on the boards.

Advantage: Lakers

Bench

Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, Bill Wennington and Co. scare a lot more teams than the Lakers backups that include Antawn Jamison, Jordan Hill and Jodie Meeks.

Advantage: Bulls

Coach

Let's see, Zen master Phil Jackson, he of 11 championships, against Mike Brown, who has none? Don't make us laugh.

Advantage: Bulls

OVERALL WINNER

Bulls. Even though the Lakers' starting lineup looks stronger, Jordan's crew won't be denied, even if he has to score 60 a game. Which he could do. Trust us.

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