Lakers-Heat: How do Kobe Bryant, LeBron James do against each other?

Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James will play for the 18th time Sunday afternoon, with LeBron having a decided advantage in the matchup between the league's two most famous players.

Kobe Bryant! LeBron James! It's a Nike ad writer's dream, even if its a game between a team likely to appear in the NBA Finals and a team that probably won't make the playoffs. (Probably.)

It's a Young Jeezy song from 2009. It's the two biggest names in the NBA. They'll probably only match up on one end of the floor, like we wrote here, you should expect Metta World Peace on LeBron and maybe LeBron on Kobe on the other end - but it's still impossible to see these two guys square off and for that matchup not to be the biggest story.

Let's take a look at their 17 career matchups against each other, and how each guy has done in each. Surprisingly, its a lopsided rivalry in LeBron's favor. Even including a sweep in 2009, the first of the Lakers' two title runs, LeBron is 12-5 between the Cavs and Heat against Lakers teams with Kobe playing, including two runs of five in a row. Kobe averages 26.7 points, while LeBron averages 27.7 points, not to mention his ridiculous rebounding and passing numbers.

Jan. 12, 2004: Lakers, 89, Cavaliers, 79

Their first matchup, and not a particularly impressive one. The Cavs team LeBron's rookie year is the only sub-.500 team LeBron ever played on, and hahahahahahahahah remember that Lakers team with Gary Payton on it? Eeesh, he went 5-for-22. Kobe didn't play in the second matchup between these teams this year.

Kobe: 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists

LeBron: 16 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists

Feb. 13, 2005: Cavaliers 103, Lakers 89

Kinda like we said up there: The year after the Shaq trade was the only team Kobe played on that went below .500 - you know, until this one - and it showed.

Kobe: 26 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists

LeBron: 25 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists

Jan. 12, 2006: Lakers 99, Cavaliers 98

Kobe scored the last six, including a game-winner with under 12 on the clock. LeBron had a chance to tie the game with free throws after Kobe fouled him, but Skip Bayless.

Kobe: 27 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists

LeBron: 28 points, 2 rebounds, 9 assists

March 19, 2006: Cavaliers 96, Lakers 95

Flip Murray - ! - had 14 points in the fourth quarter and hit a game-winning free throw. Kobe missed a potential game-winning three.

Kobe: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

LeBron: 29 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists

Feb. 11, 2007: Cavaliers 99, Lakers 90

Kobe went off, but Sasha Pavlovic had 21 points in a Cavs win. This is weird: I forgot LeBron had teammates on those teams. Mind you, this is the Cavs team that went to the Finals and got shellacked by San Antonio.

Kobe: 36 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists

LeBron: 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists

Feb. 15, 2007: Cavaliers 114, Lakers 108

They made dudes play twice in a week? Damn, NBA, space it out. No Pavlovic here: that 38-performance by LeBron was on only 16 shots, which, yeah, you'll win games that way. This as the fifth straight loss for this Lakers team.

Kobe: 34 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists

LeBron: 38 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Dec. 20, 2007: Cavaliers, 94, Lakers, 90

I'm starting to get worried. Does Kobe ever win?

Kobe: 21 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists

LeBron: 33 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists

Jan. 27, 2008: Cavaliers, 98, Lakers, 95

#pray4Kobe - the Lakers didn't even get a game-tying 3-point attempt off as Luke Walton passed to Kobe as the clock expired. LeBron's 41 is surprisingly the only 40-point game either guy has against the other.

Kobe: 33 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists

LeBron: 41 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists

Jan. 19, 2009: Lakers 105, Cavaliers 88

Thank goodness y'all. I was getting tired writing about all those LeBron wins. Sun Yue played 31 seconds in this game, is my point.

Kobe: 20 points, 6 rebounds, 12 assists

LeBron: 23 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists

Feb. 8, 2009: Lakers 101, Cavaliers 91

I probably should mention this Lakers team won the Finals. And the next one did too, but whatever. LeBron went 5-for-20 from the floor, while Lamar Odom led all scorers with 28 and ripped down 17 boards. Oh, THAT'S why we care about Lamar Odom. Forgot for a bit there. I thought it was because he was Kris Humphries' erstwhile brother-in-law.

Kobe: 19 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists

LeBron: 16 points, 8 rebounds, 12 assists

Dec. 25, 2009: Cavaliers, 102, Lakers, 87

Merry Christmas, Kobe! They finally figured out that this game belonged on the NBA's biggest regular season day, although it took the faux-storyline of Shaquille O'Neal still being relevant when he was on the Cavs.

Kobe: 35 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists

LeBron: 26 points, 4 rebounds, 9 assists

Jan. 21, 2010: Cavaliers 93, Lakers 87

LeBron went 1-of-9 from three. Still finished with 37 points on 25 shots. That's a thing that's possible, apparently.

Kobe: 31 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists

LeBron: 37 points, 5 rebounds, 9 assists

Dec. 25, 2010: Heat 96, Lakers 80

Wait, LeBron went to the Heat? A triple-double for LBJ in the second Xmas showdown for these guys.

Kobe: 21 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists

LeBron: 27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists

March 10, 2011: Heat 94, Lakers 88

I'm seriously surprised by how many of these games turn out to be LeBron wins. Well, not THAT surprised, but whatever. LeBron was the lowest-scoring of the Big Three here, as Chris Bosh had 24 and Dwyane Wade had 19.

Kobe: 24 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds

LeBron: 19 points, 8 rebounds, 9 assists

Jan. 19, 2012: Heat 98, Lakers 87

31, eight and eight from LeBron, but he's so unclutch.

Kobe: 24 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists

LeBron: 31 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists

March 4, 2012: Lakers 93, Heat 83

Remember when the Lakers used to win games? Kobe led the way with 33, but Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol had double-doubles. Mike D'Antoni should play those two more often.

Kobe: 33 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist

LeBron: 25 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists

Jan. 17, 2013: Heat 99, Lakers 90

LeBron went off, and we expect nothing less today.

Kobe: 22 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists

LeBron: 39 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists

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