NBA fans have seen some amazing scoring exhibitions from the league’s biggest stars this season. And while Kobe has lost a step in 2013-2014, a look back at the last 10 years sets it straight: it’s been a good decade for Black Mamba.
Update: On a quiet Monday, March 3rd, with Dwayne Wade out of the line up, King James went off. 8/10 from behind the arc. 67% shooting overall. When the dust settled and James took off the protective mask he was wearing over his recently-broken nose, his new career high was set at 61 points.
Watch every bucket here.
We’re going to go ahead and claim that LeBron’s game was inspired by his having originally been snubbed from our list, below. The performance would tie him for sixth with one of Kobe’s many entries.
Without further adieu, et us relive ten of the decade’s best scoring performances using the time machine that is YouTube.
10 Best NBA Game Scoring Performances of the past Decade
10. Stephen Curry (54 Points vs. NYK in ‘13)
Date & Venue: February 27, 2013 at Madison Square Garden, New York
Stat Line: 18-27 FGs, 11-13 3FGs, 7-7 FTs
[sc:NBA240banner ]The Warriors may have fallen short of victory against the Knicks in February 2013, but it was no fault of Stephen Curry’s. Curry was just a point shy of a Jordan-esque “double nickel” as he electrified the Garden crowd with a barrage of three-pointers. He finished 11-for-13 from downtown.
9. Brandon Jennings (55 Points vs. GSW in ’09)
Date & Venue: November 14, 2009 at Bradley Center, Milwaukee
Stat Line: 21-34 FGs, 7-8 3FGs, 6-8 FTs
Brandon Jennings is still a very young man, but it’s entirely possible that he will never top what he did in just the 7th game of his pro career. The rookie Jennings dropped a “double nickel” on the Golden State Warriors – all of which came after a scoreless first quarter. Only three other rookies – Wilt Chamberlain, Rick Barry and Earl Monroe – have scored more points in a single game.
8. Allen Iverson (60 Points vs. ORL in ’05)
Date & Venue: February 12, 2005 at Wachovia Center, Philadelphia
Stat Line: 17-36 FGs, 2-5 3FGs, 24-27 FTs
Allen Iverson’s time with the 76ers would come to an end in 2006, but he gave the loyal Philadelphia crowd one last vintage AI game in 2005 against Orlando. Iverson torched the Magic for a career-high 60 points, almost half of which he earned at the free throw line. He went 24-for-27 from the stripe.
7. Gilbert Arenas (60 Points vs. LAL in ’06)
Date & Venue: December 17, 2006 at Staples Center, Los Angeles
Stat Line: 17-32 FGs, 5-12 3FGs, 21-27 FTs
A major knee injury cut the “Agent Zero” era in Washington woefully short. However, Arenas will always have that incredible night in Los Angeles, when he went off against the Lakers with a 60-point performance — an NBA-record 16 of which came in overtime — that outgunned Kobe Bryant’s 45 points as the Wizards prevailed in a 147-141 shootout.
6. Kobe Bryant (61 Points vs. NYK in ’09)
Date & Venue: February 2, 2009 at Madison Square Garden, New York
Stat Line: 19-31 FGs, 3-6 3FGs, 20-20 FTs
Prior to 2009, Bernard King’s unforgettable 60 points on Christmas Day 1984 was the most points scored at the current Madison Square Garden, and Michael Jordan’s famous “double nickel” was the most points any Knick opponent had scored.
But Kobe Bryant broke both those records in February 2009, when he scored 61 points in front of an awestruck Garden crowd that serenaded him with chants of “MVP!”
5. Kobe Bryant (62 Points vs. DAL in ’05)
Date & Venue: December 20, 2005 at Staples Center, Los Angeles
Stat Line: 18-31 FGs, 4-10 3FGs, 22-25 FTs
Five days before Christmas 2005, Kobe Bryant gave the good fans at Staples Center an early present in the form of a 62-point barrage against the Dallas Mavericks. Just how good was Bryant on that night? Well, he scored all 62 points in just 33 minutes and sat out the entire fourth quarter, having single-handedly outscored the Mavs 62-61 at that point in the game. Simply astounding.
4. Tracy McGrady (62 Points vs. WAS in ’04)
Date & Venue: March 10, 2004 at TD Waterhouse Center, Orlando
Stat Line: 20-37 FGs, 5-14 3FGs, 17-26 FTs
The NBA hadn’t seen a 60-point game in over four years before Tracy McGrady’s explosion in 2004. T-Mac scored 62 points and also added 10 rebounds and 5 assists for the Orlando Magic, becoming the first player since David Robinson in 1994 to record a 60-10-5 line. And he could’ve scored even more had he not missed nine free throws.
3. Carmelo Anthony (62 Points vs. CHA in ’14)
Date & Venue: January 24, 2014 at Madison Square Garden, New York
Stat Line: 23-35 FGs, 6-11 3FGs, 10-10 FTs
You know it’s your night when making a buzzer-beating halfcourt shot looks as easy as a free throw. That’s just the zone Carmelo Anthony was in during his epic 62-point performance in January 2014. With the game well in hand, Melo sat out the final seven minutes, but not before he reclaimed the all-time MSG scoring record from Kobe, and took the all-time Knicks scoring mark from the great Bernard King.
2. Kobe Bryant (65 Points vs. POR in ’07)
Date & Venue: March 16, 2007 at Staples Center, Los Angeles
Stat Line: 23-39 FGs, 8-12 3FGs, 11-12 FTs
Back in March 2007, the Lakers were in the midst of a seven-game losing streak. Kobe Bryant was hell-bent on halting that horrendous run, and he succeeded. Bryant poured in 65 points, 33 of which came in the fourth quarter and overtime to lead the Lakers past the Portland Trail Blazers. It was the third straight season Bryant topped the 60-point plateau.
1. Kobe Bryant (81 Points vs. TOR in ’06)
Date & Venue: January 22, 2006 at Staples Center, Los Angeles
Stat Line: 28-46 FGs, 7-13 3FGs, 18-20 FTs
Kobe Bryant may never eclipse the specter of Michael Jordan in the eyes of many, but he will always have the upper hand on His Airness in one key scoring stat.
On January 22, 2006, Bryant produced the greatest single-game scoring performance in modern NBA history. His 81 points against the Toronto Raptors is second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points all-time and a full dozen more than Jordan’s career best.
Apart from the subpar defense played on him, Kobe should also be thankful to the Raptors for keeping the game very competitive. That gave him the added satisfaction of leading the Lakers to a comeback victory with 55 of their final 73 points.
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