Quarter Mania: Klay Thompson and the top scoring quarters in NBA history
The score was tied at 58-58 between the Kings and the Warriors at the 9:45 mark in the third quarter when Klay Thompson hit a mid-range shot to score his 14th and 15th points of the game.
Eight minutes and 40 seconds later, the Warriors had opened up the score to an unsurmountable 97-73 and Thompson had made history. In a record-breaking performance, Thompson poured in 37 points – thirty seven points! – in a single quarter to take his personal score to 50 before the quarter ended. Thompson, who finished with 52 in the game, hit every shot he took in the magical third period, going 13-13 from the field including a single-quarter record 9-9 from the three-point line.
The ‘Klay Kquarter’ (which is a phrase I just invented) helped Thompson one-up the previous record of 33 in a single period, set by George Gervin and Carmelo Anthony before him. Here’s a look back at Klay and the top five scoring quarters in NBA history:
Klay Thompson (37 on January 23, 2015)
The numbers are mind-blowing. Thompson took 13 shots and made 13 shots, including nine threes in a quarter, which has never been done before. One half of the NBA’s Splash Brothers, Thompson has been enjoying a breakout season, averaging a career-high 22.1 points per game for the NBA’s top team and becoming an All Star for the first time in his career. The 25-year-old may have many more highlights or accolades ahead in the future, but it’s unlikely if he’ll ever top his 37-point quarter again.
George Gervin (33 on April 9, 1978)
George Gervin and David Thompson were on a race for the NBA’s scoring title, on the final day of the 1977-78 season. After Thompson scored 73 points on the same day, Gervin – playing for the Spurs – needed 58 against the New Orleans Jazz to win the race. He finished with 63, highlighted with 33 points in the second quarter of the game. Unlike the modern players on this list like Thompson, Gervin got his numbers from the mid-range, before the three-point line was implemented.
Carmelo Anthony (33 on December 10, 2008)
Thirty years after Gervin, Anthony – while with the Nuggets – equalled his record with 33 points in an unstoppable third quarter against the Timberwolves. Melo finished with 12-15 in the quarter including four three-pointers. One of the greatest natural scorers of this era, Anthony won the NBA scoring title with the Knicks in 2013 and scored a career-high, Knicks’ franchise record 62 in January 2014.
David Thompson (32 on April 9, 1978)
For a few hours, before Gervin scored 33 in a quarter and 63 in the game, David Thompson was NBA’s scoring leader and the record holder for the league’s highest-ever scoring quarter. Thompson also held Anthony’s franchise record for a quarter for the Nuggets. He scored 32 against the Pistons en route to 73 on the last day of the NBA season. Later that same night, Gervin scored 33 and snatched the scoring title away from him.
Joe Johnson (29 on December 16, 2013)
Johnson was another recent benefiter of the three-point line. The Brooklyn Net went berserk two years ago against the 76ers, hitting eight of 10 three-pointers in a third-quarter where he eventually ended up with 29 points. He scored all of his points from outside the paint, hitting a total of 10 of 13 from the mid-range or the three-point line.