This past NBA season we saw some astounding scoring outbursts.
Devin Booker led this year’s 50+ points camp as he put up 70 in a late season game against the Boston Celtics. Other players to hit the 50-point ledger this season included: DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden (x2), John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook (x4), Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson.
With 14 50-point games being recorded in this regular season campaign this past year, I felt compelled to scan the 50-ball books and see who besides the usual suspects (Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James etc.), may have etched their name in the 50-point scoring tome over the last half decade + some change. During my research, I came across some names that might surprise, so I decided to compile a list of the five most random 50-point scorers since 2010.
Mo Williams: 52 points (Timberwolves vs. Pacers: January 13th, 2015)
Mo Williams’ most memorable days will always be when he served as a supplemental scoring piece to LeBron James during the King’s first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but the retired Williams also had solid stints with the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets.
During one of Williams’ stops with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he turned into a basketball inferno inside of Bankers Life Fieldhouse on the night of January 13th, 2015. Williams combusted on the Indiana Pacers, erupting for a 52-point, 7-assist performance that snapped a 15-game losing streak for the T’Wolves.
How rare of a feat was this for Williams? In his 13-year career, Williams scored between 30-39 points less than 25 times, and only scored 40 or more three times including this 52-point outing against Indiana.
This performance remains so comedic to me thanks to the type of shots Williams was connecting on. One-legged fall-away threes with the shot-clock in it’s waning seconds? No problem! A deep three-pointer with a hand in his face? Cash!
Whether he was going to the basket unimpeded or smothered by a Pacer defender, Williams was to not be denied, and it’s a 50-point game that’ll always resonate with me due to its randomness, as I laid on my couch watching it live, bewildered by what was going on.
Corey Brewer: 51 points (Timberwolves vs. Rockets: April 11, 2014)
Who would’ve thought in a game that James Harden posted a 33-point, 10-assist, 8-rebound, 6-steal stat-line that he wouldn’t have been the best player on the floor?
At the tail-end of the 2014 season, Corey Brewer put up 51 points in a 112-110 Minnesota Timberwolves win over the Houston Rockets, besting Harden’s all-around performance in a narrow T’Wolves victory. Brewer scored most of his points on drives to the basket, snaking his way to the hoop repeatedly for easy buckets.
Brewer only totaled 43 points in Minnesota’s final three games of the season, and this unexpected 51-point detonation remains as the lone career outing in which he scored 30 points or more. Brewer hit that 30+ point scoring ledger one time and when he did, he went for the gusto.
Brewer’s career is starting to become akin to that of a journeyman but some of his most notable NBA work came with the Timberwolves. Brewer and Harden would later go on to become teammates until Brewer was traded to the Lakers for Lou Williams at this season’s trade deadline, and one has to wonder if Brewer ever took the time to remind Harden of that night.
Terrence Ross: 51 points (Clippers vs. Raptors: January 25, 2014)
You can probably count on one hand the number of Raptors games where Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan took a backseat to Terrence Ross as he pioneered Toronto to a victory. Matter of fact, this might be the only game that fits that description.
On a Saturday evening in January of 2014, Ross set the Air Canada Centre ablaze with a surprising 51-point showing as he dueled Blake Griffin (30 points), Jamal Crawford (37 points) and the Chris Paul-less Clippers.
Ross’ career night wasn’t enough to tilt the game in Toronto’s favor, but it will forever serve as the most memorable moment of his career, one that has been marred by inconsistency. This game showcased what Ross is capable of from a talent standpoint and it surely shocked the entire league.
Andre Miller: 52 points (Blazers vs. Mavericks: January 30, 2010)
In his later playing days Andre Miller might’ve been slow-footed and limited athletically, but he was still a damn good NBA point guard. Heady, physical, durable and precise, Miller appeared in all 82 games for the Portland Trail Blazers in the 2009-2010 season and averaged 14 points and 5.4 assists per game.
In a January contest against the Dallas Mavericks, Miller had the night of his 17-year career, scoring 52 points on 22-of-31 shooting against Dirk & Co. What makes Miller’s feat more remarkable is the fact that he only shot, and made, one three-pointer and journeyed to the charity stripe only eight times. Miller was never a three-point specialist, but he understood what worked for him. On this night, everything was operating at its peak.
He blitzed the Mavericks with an array of drives to the basket and by dropping in mid-range jumpers, and he even hit the shot to send Portland to OT over Shawn Marion, one of league’s toughest defenders at the time. Miller hit big-time shots in overtime to bring Portland home, the perfect finishing touches to his best NBA game ever.
Brandon Jennings: 55 points (Bucks vs. Warriors, November 14, 2009)
The hype that surrounded Brandon Jennings was real from day one. Jennings, a rookie at the time with the Milwaukee Bucks, was the No. 10 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft and had the distinction of being the first high school player to forego the collegiate ranks in lieu of playing in Europe.
In an early season matchup with the Golden State Warriors and rookie counterpart Stephen Curry, who was selected three spots ahead of Jennings at No. 7, Jennings put on a show to the tune of 55 points, becoming one of the youngest players of all-time to hit the 50-point mark, and breaking a franchise record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabaar
What adds to the absurdity of it all is the fact that Jennings was scoreless after the first quarter. Many believed Jennings would blossom into a star for Milwaukee after this performance, but his career failed to pan out that way.
It seems as if now Jennings is permanently tailored for the role of a reserve point guard, a huge discrepancy from what this game indicated he may become.