Scoring 50 points in an NBA game
During a nine-day span of games in late January, three different NBA players scored 50-plus points in a game. On Jan. 17th, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant had 54 points in a game; a week later on Jan. 24, the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony dropped in 62; and on the 25th, Toronto’s Terrence Ross had 51 for the Raptors.
For Anthony it was his fourth 50-plus game, second most among active players (LeBron James has nine 50-plus point games in his career). Durant’s 54-point game was the third of his career, while for Ross the 51 points was a career high and first 50-point game in his short NBA career.
In each of the past 15 NBA seasons at least one player has scored 50 or more points in a game (the last season where no player scored 50-plus was during the 1998-99 season). There were three such games last season, three in the 2011-12 season, two in 2010-11 and three in 2009-10. Since the 1999-2000 NBA campaign, we have had 99 50-point games.
Basketball-Reference.com has points scored stats back to the 1963-64 season. Since then, Michael Jordan has had the most 50-point games with 31. He is followed by Wilt Chamberlain with 30 and Kobe Bryant with 24. Rick Barry (14), Allen Iverson (11) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (10) complete the list of NBA players who scored 50 or more points in 10 games or more since 1963-64.
In looking at the 107 players who have scored 50 or more points in an NBA game since 1963-64 (42 players did it multiple times, 65 did it once), we see that Brandon Jennings, current Detroit Pistons guard, is the youngest player to score 50 in a game, while Michael Jordan was the oldest. Here’s a look at the seven players who were the youngest and oldest to score 50+ points in an NBA contest.
Youngest to score 50 in a game
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee, 55 points (20 years, 52 days)
LeBron James, Cleveland, 56 points (20 years, 80 days)
LeBron James, Cleveland, 52 points (20 years, 345 days)
LeBron James, Cleveland, 51 points (21 years, 22 days)
Rick Barry, San Francisco, 57 points (21 years, 261 days)
Allen Iverson, Philadelphia, 50 points (21 years, 309 days)
Jamal Mashburn, Dallas, 50 points (21 years, 348 days)
Oldest to score 50 in a game
Michael Jordan, Chicago, 51 points (38 years, 315 days)
Karl Malone, Utah, 50 points (36 years, 273 days)
Alex English, Denver, 51 points (35 years, 64 days)
Karl Malone, Utah, 56 points (34 years, 257 days)
Bernard King, Washington, 50 points (34 years, 92 days)
Michael Jordan, Chicago, 55 points (34 years, 69 days)
Bernard King, Washington, 52 points (34 years, 25 days)
One final item: Did you know that two players scored 50-plus points on their birthday? On March 6, 2000, on his 28th birthday, Shaquille O’Neal had 61 points. The other player was Dominique Wilkins. He had 53 points on his 27th birthday, on January 12, 1987.
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