Everybody knows that scoring the basketball is an integral part to team success in a lot of ways. However, even the best players aren’t able to get themselves huge point totals due to different styles of play or defenses keying in on them. With that being said, there have been a few guys in league history that have just completely blown away the rest with their spectacular performances offensively.
Which NBA Players Scored the Most Points in a Single Game? There are a few guys who’ve scored many points in one game, including the number one scorer in a single game in history, Wilt Chamberlain. By now, a lot of you have probably seen the infamous picture of Wilt holding up a piece of paper with the number 100 written on it. That paper represents the game he dropped 100 points in a single game against the New York Knicks. The Knicks were taking L’s long before their cold spell in the last decade or so.
Wilt is just the top of the iceberg when it comes to these totals. Let’s dive a little deeper into that Wilt performance while also giving some honorable mentions as well as talking about a few players with the possibility to surpass Chamberlain in the long run.
The 100 Point Game
Wilt achieved this stat while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors and shockingly enough, he didn’t even play the minutes that you would expect for somebody dropping so many points. He didn’t sit down for a single second, playing all 48 minutes in a game that didn’t even go into overtime. He started out hot with 23 in the first, then added on 18 to round out the half. Then he exploded with 28 in the third quarter and everybody knew that he meant business. He wasn’t done either, topping that total with 31 in the final frame to give him exactly 100 points on the night. Thankfully, his team was able to pull off the win in what would be considered an insane finish nowadays. The final score was 169 to 147, with the Warriors winning.
Has Anybody Gotten Close to Wilt?
Surprisingly, yes. Back in 2006, Kobe Bryant came the closest to ever surpassing that mark. He dropped 81 points in what was one of his greatest games of all time. The Los Angeles Lakers were facing the Toronto Raptors, a game which they ended up winning 122-104 due to Kobe’s dominance on the floor. In those 42 minutes of action, Kobe started off pretty mediocre. He had 26 points at halftime and was just on pace for about 52 at most, though he turned up the heat by dropping 27 in the third then 28 in the fourth to give his team the win and seal his name amongst the top scorers ever in a single game. He still remains second on this list to this day, and it will take a lot for somebody to make their way past him.
Has Anybody Lost While Scoring This Much?
Sadly, there have been a few players that have lost games which saw them drop wild numbers. David Thompson dropped 73 points and watched his team lose to the Detroit Pistons back in 1978 by two points. Thompson was the opposite of Kobe scoring wise, he sprinted out of the gates with 32 points in the opening quarter of action! Then he cooled off with 21 in the second, heading into halftime with 53 already. He was only able to tally nine in the third quarter and then 11 in the fourth to round out his night, but still a great one nonetheless. Wilt Chamberlain, as expected, had a few 70 plus point performances washed away by poor team efforts. He lost a few of these games but that is to be expected given how much he was scoring on a nightly basis back then.
What Are Other Notable Performances Towards the Top of the List?
I have been waiting to mention this performance, but it was one of the most recent scoring outbursts and by far the highest we have seen in almost a decade. Devin Booker, a player that also happens to be one of the youngest players in league history to score so many points, had an insane outing back in 2017 against the Boston Celtics. The Phoenix Suns shooting guard had 19 points in the first half of a tough game, but then somehow exploded to finish the contest off with 70 right on the head! He played in 45 minutes for this game and yet the team still lost to Boston. It wasn’t even a close loss either like what happened to Thompson, Booker’s team lost by ten! Double digits! Another phenomenal game was by David Robinson, who dropped 71 points on the Los Angeles Clippers during a 15-point win.
Current Players with High Scoring Games?
There are a number of current NBA players with the potential to claw their way higher on this list and a few that are already pretty high up here. For one, Steph Curry is obviously up here and he recently just dropped 50 in a game in which he didn’t play very many minutes. He also had a 62-point performance just a year ago. Damian Lillard has a 61-point game that occurred two years ago and has shown his ridiculous ability to get heated up quickly during games. Then James Harden, one of the best scorers of our generation, dropped two 61-point games within the past five years and two more 60-point games in the same span. I fully believe that any of those three players are able to surpass the 70 point mark if they are to play an entire game while staying hot the whole time. Too many times in big games, we see coaches pull them because the game is just too far out of reach and it ends up being a blowout win for their respective teams.