LeBron earns fifth top player honor this season

With the debate continuing to rage over whether LeBron James or Kobe Bryant is better, they shared top billing Monday.


The Miami Heat forward was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week and the Los Angeles Lakers guard got the award for the West.


Michael Jordan had said recently in an interview with NBA TV he would take Bryant over James by a narrow margin and only because Bryant has won five championships to James’ one. Jordan’s comments sparked plenty of talk during the Feb. 15-17 All-Star Weekend and beyond.


James, whose Heat have won 11 straight games, led Miami last week to a 4-0 mark while averaging 23.5 points, 9.3 assists, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals. With the NBA announcing that Heat guard Dwyane Wade also was under consideration, James won his fifth award this season for Player of the Week.


Bryant led the Lakers to a 3-0 week. He averaged 31.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists.


James and Bryant have concluded their two annual regular-season games against each other, with the Heat winning both. They’ve never faced each other in the NBA Finals, something fans have longed to see.


If there’s any chance of it happening this season, the Lakers first have to get themselves back in playoff position. While the Heat (40-14) have the top record in the East, the Lakers (28-29) are 2 ½ games behind Houston (31-27) for the eighth and final berth in the West.


Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter@christomasson