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Who scored 70 points in an NBA game?

Scoring more than 70 points in a game very difficult to achieve – even by today’s standards, when the scoring volume has increased notably compared to previous years. Right now we have a lot of games where top players score 40 and more points, but achieving 70? Now that is not a simple task to accomplish – even for weaponised players like Steph Curry, James Harden, LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

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During the history of the NBA, only 6 players have managed to score 70 or more points. Overall there have been 11 instances and it is terrifying that in 6 of these it was Wilt Chamberlain who managed to achieve this feat. To this day the Conan Star also holds the record for the most points in a single NBA game with 100.

70 points specifically has happened only twice in the NBA. The first player was the abovementioned Wilt Chamberlain and the second one Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns, which is the latest one to enter the list. Let’s have a look at them and how their matches unfolded.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain was a true phenomenon. Not only did the center dominated his opponents but also the record books to such an extent that to this day some seem impossible to break. We have already pointed out that Wilt scored 70 points 6 times! On March 10, 1963, the San Francisco Warriors were playing against the Syracuse Nationals. Chamberlain played 48 minutes which is the whole game, but his 70 points and 18 rebounds were not enough to overcome the Nationals that won the game 163-148. Wilt Chamberlain scored 27 field goals out of 38 and converted 16 free throws out of 22 (free throws, in general, were his major weakness). Considering that the game was played almost 60 years ago, there are no records of his results by particular quarters. Keep in mind that this is the time when 3-point shots were not introduced and all of these points were collected either by field goals or by free throws.

Before this match, Wilt already had 4 games in 1962 in which he had scored 70 and more points, so the legend in the face of Wilt Chamberlain was already terrorizing his opponents. Experts and some people argue that back at that time basketball was completely different from what we have now and Chamberlain would have been unable to repeat the same records in the modern period. Though, having such amazing moments during the career is really noteworthy. Even if we take a look at the games where players scored 60 and more points, here Chamberlain is also having the lead. Do not forget that he was a player who averaged 50 points per single season!

NBA All-time Single Game Scoring List

PointsPlayer
Team
SeasonOppnonentWin/Loss
100Wilt Chamberlain
Philadelphia Warriors
1961-62169-147 vs. KnicksW
81Kobe Bryant
Los Angeles Lakers
2005-06122-104 vs. RaptorsW
78Wilt Chamberlain
Philadelphia Warriors
1961-62
147-151 3OT vs. Lakers
L
73David Thompson
Denver Nuggets
1977-78
137-139 @ Pistons
L
73Wilt Chamberlain
San Francisco Warriors
1962-63
127-111 @ Knicks
W
73Wilt Chamberlain
Philadelphia Warriors
1961-62
135-117 vs. Packers
W
72Wilt Chamberlain
San Francisco Warriors
1962-63
115-127 @ Lakers
L
71David Robinson
San Antonio Spurs
1993-94
112-97 @ Clippers
W
71Elgin Baylor
Los Angeles Lakers
1960-61
123-108 @ Knicks
W
70Devin Booker
Phoenix Suns
2016-17
120-130 @ Celtics
L
70Wilt Chamberlain
San Francisco Warriors
1962-63
148-163 @ Nationals
L
Every NBA player to have scored 70 or more points in a single game

Devin Booker

Devin Booker is the second player and sixth overall who crossed a 70-point mark in a single NBA game. On March 24, 2017 at the age of just 20, the Phoenix Suns shooting guard scored 70 points in the NBA regular-season game in a loss to the the Boston Celtics and he became the sixth player in the history of the league to reach this level. He became the youngest, who conquered the milestone of 70 points. Previously, only Wilt Chamberlain (six times), Elgin Baylor, David Thompson, David Robinson, and Kobe Bryant had done so. Only Chamberlain (three times) and Thompson scored so many points in lost matches.

This performance is the best in the NBA since 2006 when Kobe Bryant recorded 81 points in a game against Toronto, while infamously guarded by Jalen Rose.

We should also point out several statistical indicators. In 45 minutes on the court, Booker converted 21 of 40 from the game, including 4 of 11 from beyond the arc, and 24 of 26 from the free-throw line. He also had eight rebounds, six assists, 3 steals, and one block shot with five turnovers. Booker scored 23 and 28 points respectively in the third and fourth quarters.

The 20-year-old basketball player was already being compared to five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant, who retired in 2016. Both fathers of Kobe and Devon played in the NBA, both were selected in the draft with the 13th pick, Bryant and Booker are the same height – 198 cm. Bryant was drafted in 1996, Booker was born in 1996. In 2016, Bryant presented Booker with his sneakers with the caption, “Be Legendary”, which he has since turned into a Tattoo to remind him of his lofty life goals.

We can note that, after the match, Phoenix players celebrated in the locker room as if they had won the match. “I’ve never seen so many basketball players be overjoyed after a lost game,” Boston forward Jay Crowder wrote on Instagram, and Booker responded to the post with the phrase, “You can’t stop me.”

Since that day Phoenix have grown in stature and with future Hall of Famer Chris Paul running point (and Jae Crowder on the wing) look set to make the NBA Finals in 2021, with Booker leading the charge.

Honorable Mentions

We have already underlined that besides Devin Booker and Wilt Chamberlain 4 other players scored 70 points and more. However, for example, legendary Michael Jordan lacked only 1 point on March 28, 1990, against the Chicago Bulls to join the list. Jordan had 69 points. In 1977, Pete Maravich needed only 2 points to score 70 but ended with 68. These players are the ones that are legends of the NBA. Nowadays, the NBA is a completely different game from the past. More and more scorers are emerging, 3-point shooting is allowed, but reaching these players in terms of the scored points looks incredible.