Top 10: Most points in NBA game by one player
Of late, LeBron James' scoring exploits have been grabbing headlines left, right and center. His total of 748 points in 22 games is lower only than Michael Jordan's total of 759 in the 1992 playoffs.
Also read: Top 10 Regular season scorers in NBA History
His 51-point outing in Game 1 of the NBA Finals was the first 50-point game of his playoff career, and caused us to scurry to the record books to check out other such dominant scoring games.
As a result, we took a look at the Association's best scoring outings, and the list we ended up with prominently features a big man whose career can pretty much be summed up as the NBA record book.
We count down to the number 1 spot on this list, which obviously features Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game, but also has performances from other Hall of Fame caliber players.
Honourable Mention: Devin Booker - 70 points
Match Score: Phoenix Suns 120 - 130 Boston Celtics
The sophomore shooting guard was the lone bright spot for the Phoenix Suns in a season which was spent in the doldrums of the lottery. The Suns have messed up a number of rebuilding attempts over this decade ever since offloading Steve Nash to the Lakers in exchange for a draft pick that they traded away. But they would be thanking their lucky stars for picking the 21-year-old, who is primed for a perennial All-Star status career.
He announced his arrival on the big stage during the course of the 2016-2017 season, as coach Earl Watson gave him the greenest of green lights to shoot during a tanking season. This game is exhibit A as proof for the notion, as the Celtics surged to an unassailable lead in the third quarter. Booker had 42 points by the end of this period.
The green light he had helped him treat the shamrock green support that had flocked to the TD Garden to a scintillating 28-point fourth quarter. Most of his shots came off perimeter jump shots, but he also converted an elite total of 24 free throws on 26 attempts.
#10 (Tied) Wilt Chamberlain - 10th March 1963
Match Score: San Fransico Warriors 148 - 163 Syracuse Nationals
Statline: 70 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, 27-of-38 from the field, 16-of-22 on free throws
The Warriors teams that Wilt Chamberlain played in during the early 1960s were not great units in comparison to the rest of the league. If not for the 7'2" behemoth's presence on the court, they would be bottom-feeders for every single season that he played with them.
Much of the evidence for this notion came from games like this. You can't ask a player to contribute more than 70 points on 71% shooting from the field and 73% from the charity stripe.
Yet, the superior Syracuse team found ways to put the ball into the hoop with much greater frequency that Wilt's Warriors team.
In the end, a 148-163 loss looks like a blowout on the face of it, but it could have been a loss of mammoth proportions for the Warriors if not for the transcendent play of their star and the league's most dominant individual.
#8 (Tied) David Robinson - 71 points on 24th April, 1994
Match Score - San Antonio Spurs 112 - 97 Los Angeles Clippers
Statline: 71 poionts, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, 26-of-41 shooting from the field, 18-of-25 on free throws, 1-of-2 on 3-pointers
Prime David Robinson and a young Shaquille O'Neal had a personal battle ongoing for the scoring title in the 1993-94 season.
Going into the final game of the season, Robinson trailed O’Neal by an average of .06 points per game, needing a humongous scoring effort to swipe the crown from the 2nd-year center.
Spurs coach John Lucas had the team feed, Robinson, the ball even when he was double- and triple-teamed for much of the 44 minutes he played to help Robinson score 71 points.
None of his teammates took more than 10 shots, whereas The Admiral himself took 41 attempts, scoring on 26 of them in addition to converting 18 out of 25 free throw attempts.
His 71-point outburst meant that he was able to even top Shaq's total of 2377 points for the season with 2383.
#8 (Tied) Elgin Baylor - 71 points, 15th November 1960
Match Score - Los Angeles Lakers 123 - 108 New York Knicks
Statline: 71 points, 25 rebounds, 1 assists, 28-of-48 shooting, 15-of-19 on free throws
Elgin Baylor was a player way ahead of his time. He was progressive in his above-the-rim play.
He was the first to use the mid-range as a bread-and-butter range as well, and countless players have copied his moves - including the likes of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
His tragic Finals record of 0-8 essentially marks him out as the greatest player to never win an NBA championship.
He was a star from the moment he entered the league, but it was in his 3rd year that he set some unprecedented scoring records for a perimeter player. His 71-point tally was, for a long time, the highest for any player not named Wilt.
In this particular game, Baylor put on a real show for the crowd at Madison Square Garden, treating them to an all-round effort that also included an insane 25 rebounds in addition to his 71-point tally.
#7 Wilt Chamberlain - 72 points, 3rd November 1962
Match Score: San Francisco Warriors 115 - 127 Los Angeles Lakers
Statline: 72 points, 18 rebounds, 29-of-48 shooting from the field, 14-of-18 on free throws
It can be argued that this was the point of the season when the Warriors really began going downhill.
They began with a 5-1 record up until this game, but despite a characteristically gargantuan performance from their star big man, the Warriors squandered a halftime lead to lose the match by 12 points.
Jerry West and Baylor combined for 79 points on 68 shots, with the combo guard going off for 49 points while making 21 of his 35 attempts.
West and Baylor also had 27 rebounds together, as Baylor grabbed 18 of them and West had nine.
It took a third-quarter explosion from West to get the Lakers going, as they consolidated on their eight-point lead at the end of the period with a 40-point final quarter.
#4 (Tied) Wilt Chamberlain - 73 points, 13th January 1962
Match Score: Philadelphia Warriors 135 - 117 Chicago Packers
Statline: 73 points, 36 rebounds, 29-of-48 shooting from the field, 15-of-25 on free throws
In case you didn't know, the Chicago Packers are actually the franchise known today as the Washington Wizards.
Confused? Well, let's clear it up for you. In the first season of the existence of the Wizards franchise, it was located in Chicago and the team was called the Packers.
It was rebranded to the Chicago Zephyrs the following season, before a relocation to the Baltimore region caused another change of name - to the Baltimore Bullets.
10 years after this move, the franchise was relocated once again to the Washington DC area and was called as the Capital Bullets for the length of the 1973-74 season.
The Bullets were renamed as the Washington Bullets from 1974 till 1977 when they were rebranded most recently as the Wizards.
Now that we're done with one history lesson, here's another for you: The 73 points hung by Wilt Chamberlain are the highest by any player against the franchise in any of their iterations.
On this occasion, he was provided some able assistance by Paul Arizin, who had 26 points of his own. The Warriors cantered to an 18-point win by outscoring their opponents in every single quarter.
#4 (Tied) Wilt Chamberlain - 73 points, 16th November 1962
Match Score: San Francisco Warriors 127 - 115 New York Knicks
Statline: 73 points, 14 rebounds, 29-of-43 shooting from the field, 15-of-19 on free throws
You've read about Wilt's exploits earlier in the month as he scored 72 points in a losing cause against the Lakers, but this one comes in a much more cheerful setting.
The Knicks, who'd already been subject to the big man's 100-point beating in the previous season, were once more whooped on the backsides by him in a 16-point loss.
The Warriors were actually down by three points at halftime, 56-59. But the Madison Square Garden brought the best out of Wilt and his teammates.
The Warriors battled back to an 8-point lead at the end of the third quarter and closed the deal out with an added eight-point margin during the fourth.
#4 (Tied) David Thompson - 73 points, 9th April 1978
Match Score - Denver Nuggets 137-139 Detroit Pistons
Statline: 73 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 28-of-38 shooting, 17-of-20 on free throws
Hall of Famer David Thompson is a forgotten figure in a league that doesn't remember the '70s in a good light.
The swingman played nine seasons in a career tragically cut short by injury and substance abuse, but before debuting with the Nuggets in the erstwhile ABA, he had a much-vaunted college basketball career with the Tar Heels.
Incidentally, he's the Hall of Fame inductee who ushered Michael Jordan to the podium for his induction.
In this particular game, David started off with what was then a record total for a single player in a single quarter - 32 points in the first half.
By halftime, he had the third-highest single half total for a player with 53 points. His influence fell away later on in the game as the rest of the roster was unable to get any sort of rhythm going.
Having led the game all game long until the fourth quarter, the Nuggets proceeded to hand the W to the Pistons, who were powered a team effort as four players scored 20 or more points.
#3 Wilt Chamberlain - 78 points, 8th December 1961
Match Score: Philadelphia Warriors 147 - 151 Los Angeles Lakers
Statline: 78 points, 43 rebounds, 1 assist, 31-of-62 shooting, 16-of-31 on free throws
Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain faced off in the most voluminous scoring duel the league has ever seen on the Warriors' home turf in Philadelphia in late 1961.
The big man attempted 62 shots in this game but missed a whopping 31 of them. Much of that can be put down to exhaustion, as the game went to triple overtime before the Lakers emerged with a 4-point victory.
Wilt played all 63 minutes of the game and must have felt the hardest after the tough loss. None of his teammates shot at 50% or above, which was a contributing factor in the outcome.
On the other hand, Elgin was provided able support by Jerry West, who had 32 points on 23 shots. Baylor ended up with 63 points, 31 rebounds and 7 assists himself, while The Logo completed his triple-double with 10 assists and 11 rebounds.
#2 Kobe Bryant - 81 points on January 22, 2006
Match Score: Los Angeles Lakers 122 - 104 Toronto Raptors
Statline: 81 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 28-of-46 from the field, 7-of-13 from 3-point range, 18-of-20 on free throws
In the greatest display of shooting in modern basketball, Kobe willed the Lakers to victory in a game that they trailed by double digits at halftime.
Despite his 26-point haul by halftime, the rest of the Lakers were unable to get it going on offense.
They were down 63-49, and Kobe had to turn on the afterburners in a manner that had become all too familiar for fans of the game who watched the Lakers with regularity at the time.
Except that he was able to single-handedly outscore the Raptors in both quarters, 27-22 in the third quarter and then 28-19 in the fourth.
The way Kobe caught fire in the second half for 55 points to turn a blowout right over on its head defies basketball logic.
One player shouldn't be able to so overwhelmingly outshine a basketball team firing on all cylinders as the Raptors were.
To demonstrate how little help he got, you can take a look at Odom's (8 points on 1-of-7 shooting), Kwame's (3 points on 1-of-5 shooting), Devean George's (0 points on 4 shots) or even Smush Parker's box score stats (13 points on 5-of-11 shooting).
If one man has ever left a singular stamp on a basketball game, it is Kobe Bryant and the game we're talking about is this one.
#1 Wilt Chamberlain - 100 Points, 2nd March 1962
Statline: 100 points, 25 rebounds, 2 assists, 36-of-63 shooting, 28-of-32 on free throws
Match Score: Philadelphia Warriors 169-147 New York Knicks
A big part of Wilt Chamberlain's legend is his 1961-62 season when he averaged a frankly outrageous 50 points and 25 rebounds per game while playing 48.5 MINUTES PER GAME.
This man, who towered above the rest of the NBA at his peak, turned in a perfect demonstration of his dominance at Hershey Sports Arena on the 2nd of March, 1962.
In the three games he played before this one, he'd already scored 67, 65 and 61 points. He started off extremely hot, making his first five shots and getting 23 points through the first quarter, including nine made free throws.
By halftime, he had 41 points and opposition center Imhoff had been benched due to foul trouble.
Guy Rodgers, a teammate, said "Let's get the ball to Dip. Let's see how many he can get." Wilt showed them just how many, reaching a total of 69 points by the end of the third. He was close to topping his highest score of 78, and he just decided to go for it from that point on, despite the Warriors holding a 126-105 lead.
The Knicks began intentionally fouling other Warriors in order to prevent Chamberlain from reaching 100 points after he reached a total of 89 with over half of the fourth quarter remaining.
The Warriors began to reciprocate this tactic to keep time on the shot clock in order to allow Chamberlain enough time to reach the magic number, and he duly did so with 40 seconds remaining in the game.
Which of these Single game scoring performances was your favourite? Sound off in the comments section below!