Random 50 point NBA games…

, Monday, February 23, 2009 at 11:08 PM Comments (0)

My name is Joe Barry-Carroll, and I once scored 52 points in an NBA game. But I bet you are even more surprised that with that name, I am not white.

So I caught most of Dwyane Wade’s 50 point game this afternoon, and considering all the other 50 point explosions, I figured I would take a look at the list. You can find an entire listing here. There have been 389 50 point games in NBA history, before we get to some analysis, first some fun facts:

  • Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain are the only players to record a point total for every number in the 50’s (and Wilt scored every point from 50-63, missed 64 and scored 65,66,67,68)
  • There have been 389 all-time 50 point games, and 183 of them have occurred since 1980. That’s 47% of the total 50 point games in the last 29 years.
  • If you eliminate the 105 of those 50 point games that Wilt Chamberlain had, then 64% of the all time 50 point games have been scored since 1980.
  • 104 different players have scored those 50 points. 68 of those players have done it since 1980, which accounts for 65% of the games.

So, given that we have gotten the fun facts out of the way, lets take a deeper look at some of those players that scored 50 points.

Adrian Dantley-Scored 51, 53, 55, & 57 in the 1980-1982 seasons. Not being the biggest NBA fan out there, I had never heard of this guy. He played 15 years in the NBA, led the league in scoring in 1981 & 1984, and scored 50 points 6 separate times (5 in the 1980’s). His lifetime field goal percentage was .540, which is 16th in NBA history. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1976, won the Rookie of the Year, and was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. He played college ball for Notre Dame, and was on the team that ended John Wooden’s 88 game winning streak.

But there is one other interesting fact about Mr. Dantley. He played his entire career with one leg 3 inches shorter than the other. He had a special shoe made to make his legs even, and shot most of his jumpshots flatfooted.

David Thompson-The big story here is that he is the man with the fourth highest point total in NBA history, 73, and never again scored more than 50 points. Of course, the story behind his 73 point explosion was that it occurred on the last day of the season in an attempt to win the NBA scoring title. He would later become Roy Tarpley before Roy Tarpley knew what that meant.

Freeman Williams-Scored 51 in the 1979-1980 season. NCAA scoring leader in 1977 and 1978, and was drafted 8th overall by the Clippers. Had a seven year NBA career, and only played in 27 games over the last two years of it. He never averaged more than 19.3 points in a game, and oddly never averaged more than 25 minutes a game in a full season. He was eventually traded to Utah in the deal that brought Dominique Wilkins (6 50 point games) to Atlanta. Thanks to the fantastic invention called the internet, we are also able to know that Freeman Williams has the 3rd lowest total in NBA history of a player that has scored 50 points, and he will move up to second once Brandon Roy passes the career mark of 4,738 points. Who has scored the lowest career points to score 50 you say? Well, I am glad you asked, here we go:

Willie Burton-Scored 53 in the 1993-1994 season. Played eight years in the league from 1990-1999, but only played 40 games over those final three seasons. In 1994-95, he had his career high in points, dropping 15.3 a game. Most strikingly, his second highest total was 33, and those were the only two times he ever scored more than 30 in an NBA game. If you are looking for the answer to the question, “Who is the most random and unlikely guy to ever score 50 points in an NBA game? This is probably your man.

Purvis Short-Scored 57 and 59, both in the 1983-1984 season. I looked at this guy just because I liked his name. He wasn’t a half bad player, played 12 seasons, averaged 17.3 points per game, and played all 82 games in his final season, which was with the Nets.

Some other random names that scored 50, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (51) while being an absolute jerk who was unthankful to the country that made him a millionaire, Cedric Ceballos (50) and he did it blindfolded Jerry, blindfolded!, Charles Smith and I bet you he didn’t miss 5 layups from point blank range in this game (52), Kiki Vandeweghe, who did it twice (50,51), and Vernon Maxwell 51.

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