Back in 2022, Ja Morant set the Memphis Grizzlies franchise record for points against the San Antonio Spurs. That amazing moment got us thinking about where all the other teams’ single-game NBA scoring records currently stand.
Since 2010, 13 different teams saw their scoring records broken or tied, including the 12th 70-point game in NBA history when Donovan Mitchell accomplished that feat for his new Cleveland Cavaliers team to start the 2023 calendar year.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at the most points scored by an individual in a game for each NBA team.
Atlanta Hawks: Bob Pettit & Dominique Wilkins (57 points)
On three separate occasions, a Hawks player scored a franchise-high 57 points in a game. The first came in 1961 when Bob Pettit did it for the St. Louis Hawks in a 141-138 win against the Detroit Pistons. Dominique Wilkins topped the feat by scoring 57 points twice with the team.
The first came in the penultimate matchup of the 1985-1986 season when the Hawks faced the New Jersey Nets. This performance helped him become the NBA’s scoring leader for the season. He would once again tie the single-game scoring record in December 1986 against the Chicago Bulls. Wilkins was extremely efficient, shooting 68% from the field, and helping lead the Hawks to a 123-95 win.
Boston Celtics: Jason Tatum & Larry Bird (60 points)
Two Boston Celtics have scored the team’s record of 60 points in one game. The first was Larry Bird when he dropped 60 against the Hawks in 1985. The next came in 2021 when current franchise star Jason Tatum torched the San Antonio Spurs for 60 in 45 minutes. He also snatched up eight rebounds and dished out five assists.
Brooklyn Nets: Kyrie Irving (60 points)
Just days after Karl-Anthony Towns dropped 60 points to break the Timberwolves’ single-game record, Kyrie Irving did exactly the same on March 15, 2022. On that night, he threw up a 60-point game on the road against the Orlando Magic to set a new Brooklyn Nets record. It was an awe-inspiring performance where he scored 41 points and hit on six threes in the first half alone.
Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker (60 points)
In the Charlotte Hornets history, there have only been two 50-point games, both recorded by Kemba Walker. He first broke the franchise record in 2016 when he scored 52 points against the Utah Jazz.
Two years later, Kemba broke his own franchise record scoring 60 points against the Philadelphia 76ers in an overtime loss. This included scoring 35 points in the second half. In the overtime period, Kemba went cold scoring just two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
Chicago Bulls: Michael Jordan (69 points)
Michael Jordan holds the NBA record for the highest career-scoring average in league history. He was a 10-time scoring champion, including an NBA record seven straight from the 1986 to 1993. The best scoring output of his career came on March 28, 1990, when he scored 69 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jordan also recorded a career-high 18 rebounds along with six assists and four steals. The Bulls went on to win the game 117-113 win in overtime.
Cleveland Cavaliers: Donovan Mitchell (71 points)
There have been 12 Cleveland Cavalier 50-point performances. The first 11 of those 50-point performances were done by either Kyrie Irving or LeBron James before Donovan Mitchell on Jan. 2. In just his 34th game in a Cavaliers uniform following a blockbuster trade from the Utah Jazz, Mitchell set NBA records.
The All-Star guard scored 71 points on 22-of-34 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out 11 assists. He became the first player in Association history with 70-plus points and double-digit assists. It’s stunning that it only took several handfuls of games for Mitchell to best franchise legend LeBron James.
Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic (60 points)
Doncic put up three 50-point outings in his first 34 games of the 2022-23 season. That included an historic 60-point outing against the New York Knicks a couple days after Christmas. Said performance also saw the likely NBA MVP grab 21 rebounds and dish out 10 assists, making him the first player with a 60-point, 20-rebound triple-double since Wilt Chamberlain back in 1968.
Denver Nuggets: David Thompson (73 points)
There have been six players in NBA history that have scored 70 points in a game. Of those players, David Thompson is the only ABA veteran. In the final game of the 1977-1978 season, Thompson went off for 73 points. Shooting a super-efficient 28-of-38 from the field. However, it was not enough to give the Nuggets the win as they went on to lose 139-137 to the Detroit Pistons.
Detroit Pistons: Jerry Stackhouse (57 points)
Jerry Stackhouse’s 2000-2001 season with the Detroit Pistons saw him set the franchise record for scoring in a single season. He averaged 29.8 points per game and led the league in the category. During the season, Stackhouse also set the Pistons franchise record for points in a game, scoring 57 against the Chicago Bulls in the final month of the season.
Golden State Warriors: Wilt Chamberlain (100 points)
In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain dominated and built his legend by averaging 50.4 points and 27.2 rebounds per game. He recorded 50 points or more in a game 45 times, highlighted by an NBA record 100-point game on March 2 of that year. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game is not only the Golden State Warriors’ franchise record for points scored in a game, but it’s also the NBA record.
Houston Rockets: James Harden (61 points twice)
Both of James Harden’s Houston Rockets-record 61-point performances came in the 2018-2019 season. The first took place in January when he scored 61 points against the New York Knicks. Two months later, James Harden would replicate the feat against the San Antonio Spurs. This was a much more efficient performance as he shot 56% from the field and connected on nine 3-pointers. It’ll be interesting to see if Harden can become the rare player to break individual NBA scoring records with two separate franchises as a member of the 76ers.
Indiana Pacers: Reggie Miller (57 points)
Reggie Miller played his entire 18-year career with the Indiana Pacers franchise. This makes him one of only six players in NBA history to play that many seasons with just one team. Miller had a decorated Hall of Fame career with the franchise as he set numerous team records, including a 57 point game in. November 1992 against the Charlotte Hornets.
Los Angeles Clippers: Bob McAdoo & Charles Smith (52 points)
The Clippers single-game franchise scoring record has been set on the different occasions. The first two instances came from team legend Bob McAdoo. In 1974 and 1976, respectively. Both of McAdoo’s historic performances ended up in losses for the then Buffalo Braves. The third and final 52-point game came from Charles Smith in 1990. This was Smith’s only 50-point game. Unlike McAdoo, Smith was able to lead the Clippers to a win by defeating the Denver Nuggets,137-121.
Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant (81 points)
This is the second-highest single-game record in NBA history, and arguably the greatest performance in the modern era. Taking place in January 2006 against the Toronto Raptors, Kobe Bryant scored an astonishing 81 points on 28-of-46 shooting, while connecting on seven three-pointers.
Bryant actually had a slow start, scoring just 26 points in the first half as the Lakers trailed 63-49. He picked things up when he scored 27 points in the third quarter and connected on four three-pointers as the Lakers took a six-point lead going into the fourth quarter. He then scored 28 in the final quarter leading them to a 122-104 win.
Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (52 points)
In the 2021-2022 season, Ja Morant built his reputation as the face of the Memphis Grizzlies and put up an MVP caliber year. The true highlight came in February of 2022 when he set a franchise record of 52 points against the San Antonio Spurs. During the game, Morant had several highlight-reel moments that also set the NBA social accounts ablaze.
Miami Heat: LeBron James (61 points)
In his four years with the Miami Heat, LeBron James scored 50 points or more on two occasions. One of those two performances saw him set the team’s single-game record in March 2014 against the then-Charlotte Bobcats. A masked James ended up finishing LeBron with 61 points on 22-of-33 shooting and eight three-pointers.
Milwaukee Bucks: Michael Redd (57 points)
Michael Redd set the Bucks’ scoring record in November 2006 against the Utah Jazz. Redd started off slow scoring 15 in the first half as the Bucks trailed by 21 at halftime. He started to pick things up in the third quarter scoring 17 but the Bucks still trailed by 17 going into the fourth quarter. There Redd stayed hot, scoring 25 on 8-of-13 shooting en route to helping the Bucks claw back in the game. However, he was unable to hit the three at the end of the game to complete the comeback as the Bucks lost 113-111.
Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl-Anthony Towns (60 points)
Karl Anthony-Towns is one of only five Minnesota Timberwolves players to ever score 50 points in a game. He broke the T-Wolves’ scoring record in March 2018, dropping 56 points against the Hawks. However, he topped his team record almost exactly four years later when he dropped a new Timberwolves all-time high of 60 points against the San Antonio Spurs in March of 2022.
New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis (59 points)
Of the four 50-point games in Pelicans history, Anthony Davis has three of them. This includes recording a Pelicans franchise-record 59 points in February 2016 against the Pistons. He shot 70% from the field while also recording 20 rebounds and four assists. Davis was one of only two players to score in double figures in the game leading his team to a narrow 111-106 win.
New York Knicks: Carmelo Anthony (62 points)
In January 2014, Carmelo Anthony not only recorded the only 60-point game of his career, but he also set a New York Knicks franchise record. In a matchup against the Bobcats, Anthony scored 62 points en route to leading the Knicks to a 125-96 win. He scored 37 points on 71% shooting in the first half culminated by a half-court shot at the buzzer. He also recorded 13 rebounds in the game.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Fred Brown & Russell Westbrook (58 points)
Fred Brown first set the Oklahoma City Thunder single-game record in March 1974 in a matchup against the Golden State Warriors. Brown scored 58 points for his one and only 50-point game. While Brown set the record for the then-Seattle Supersonics, Russell Westbrook holds that distinction for the franchises Thunder era.
In March 2017, Westbrook scored 58 points against the Portland Trail Blazers, including 28 in the first half and 30 in the second half. It was not enough to get the win for the Thunder as the Blazers won 126-121.
Orlando Magic: Tracy McGrady (62 points)
Tracy McGrady is the owner of four of the five 50-point games in Orlando Magic history. His peak came in March 2004 when he scored 62 against the Washington Wizards. This included scoring 21 points in the second quarter and 24 points in the third quarter. McGrady also recorded 10 rebounds and five assists in the game.
Philadelphia 76ers: Wilt Chamberlain (68 points)
In his career, Wilt Chamberlain has scored 60 points 32 times. No other player in NBA history has more than 10. One of those instances came when he set the 76ers single-game record of 68 in December 1967 against the Chicago Bulls. Chamberlain scored 68 on 30-of-40 shooting in a 143-123 win. He also grabbed 34 rebounds in the game.
Phoenix Suns: Devin Booker (70 points)
The most recent 70-point in the NBA came from Devin Booker in a 2017 matchup against the Boston Celtics. He not only set the Phoenix Suns single-game record, but he also set the record for the most points scored in a game against the Boston Celtics, and the most points they’ve allowed a player to score on their home floor. It was not enough to give the Suns the win as they went on to lose 130-120.
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard (61 points, twice)
In the Portland Trailblazers’ history, a player has scored 60 points three times. Damian Lillard has all of them. His two 61 point games are the Blazers’ franchise record for points in a game. Both games took place during the 2019-2020 season. His first 61-point performance was in January 2020 win over the Golden State Warriors. Then in a matchup with the Denver Nuggets. In each game, he set the Blazers franchise record making 11 three-pointers.
Sacramento Kings: Jack Twyman (59 points)
The Sacramento Kings have the longest standing franchise scoring record with Jack Twyman setting the team’s single-game record back in 1960. In January of that year, Twyman scored 59 points for the then Cincinnati Royals against the Minneapolis Lakers. The Royals took the win 122-118.
San Antonio Spurs: David Robinson (71 points)
In the final game of the 1993-1994 season, David Robinson set the Spurs franchise record to lock up the scoring title that year. He scored 71 points against the Los Angeles Clippers and led the Spurs to a 112-97 win. Robinson was the only player for the Spurs to score in double figures in the game.
Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet (54 points)
The most recent game on this list, Fred VanVleet scored 54 points against the Orlando Magic to give the Raptors just their third 50-point game in franchise history. VanVleet was extremely efficient shooting 17-of-23 from the field and 11-of-14 from three. He scored 28 points in the first half with all eight of his field goals coming from three-point range. He then scored 18 points in the third quarter on his way to leading the Raptors to a 123-108 win.
Utah Jazz: Pete Maravich (68 points)
Pete Maravich set the Utah Jazz (then New Orleans Jazz) single-game scoring record in February 1977. In his game against the New York Knicks, “Pistol Pete” dropped 68 points leading the Jazz to a 124-107 win. He added six rebounds, six assists, three steals, and two blocks to his totals.
Washington Wizards: Gilbert Arenas & Bradley Beal (60 points)
In December 2006, Gilbert Arenas set the Wizards scoring record with 60 points against the Lakers. With the game going into overtime, Arenas scored 16 points in the extra period and also set an NBA record for most points in overtime, which still stands to this day.
Bradley Beal tied the mark in January 2021 when he dropped 60 against the 76ers. Through three quarters, Beal scored 57 points including 25 in the third quarter alone. However, he managed just three points in the fourth quarter as the Wizards went on to lose 141-136.
Jarret Hoffman was the original writer of this article
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.