A Breakdown Of Every 60-Point Game In NBA History

01.28.14 4 years ago
Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony (photo. Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY Sports)

There is a special place of being, an existential plateau that transcends the game of hoops. When an individual has no fear and the utmost confidence, we as the fans get to witness something truly special. Last week, Carmelo Anthony had a scoring explosion that will be remembered by Knicks fans long after his modest achievements with the franchise are forgotten.

During Friday’s game versus the Charlotte Bobcats, Anthony was, in that moment, a superstar. For 48 minutes, the Knicks crappy record, Anthony’s pending free agency, and the overall inadequacy of the franchise were forgotten. Everyone watching the game in the Garden or the comfort of their own couch were interested in one thing, and one thing only: “How many points can he drop?”

Defense may or may not win championships, but high scoring nights like Anthony’s 62-point effort will remain legend. With that said let’s take a moment to reminisce over the greatest individual scoring efforts of all time.

Thirty points is impressive. Forty points is fantastic. Fifty points is extraordinary, but 60 points and beyond just defies logic. There have been 20 players in NBA history to record a night that magnificent. You won’t remember every player who wins a championship but you will remember the names who posted such legendary scoring nights.

[Eds. note: Joe Fulks scored 63 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in 1949 in the BAA, but we’re only counting NBA games here.]

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Carmelo Anthony
Team(s): New York Knicks
Occasions scoring 60-plus: 1
Opponent: Charlotte Bobcats
Shooting Splits: 23-for-35, 66 percent

David Thompson
Team(s): Denver Nuggets
Occasions scoring 60-plus: 1
Opponent: Detroit Pistons
Shooting Splits: unknown

The Skywalker dropped 73 points on April 9, 1978. Thompson never led the league in scoring but did set a career-high 27.2 points per game that season. His 73-point outburst actually resulted in a losing effort as the Nuggets would fall 139-137 against the Pistons. The 73 points rank as the most points ever in a game by anyone not named Wilt or Kobe.

Bernard King
Team(s): New York Knicks
Occasions scoring 60-plus: 1
Opponent: New Jersey Nets
Shooting Splits: 19-for-30, 63 percent

This display was a small Christmas miracle for the Knicks fan base back in 1984. Dropping a career-high against your rivals is sweet — winning might’ve been sweeter — but regardless, King brought his “A” game. Shooting above 60 percent from the field, King held the home team scoring record at the Garden for over 30 years. King led the league in scoring one time, scoring 50 or more points on eight separate occasions.

Larry Bird
Team(s): Boston Celtics
Occasions scoring 60-plus: 1
Opponent: Atlanta Hawks
Shooting Splits: 22-for-36, 61 percent

On March 12, 1985, Larry Legend and the Celtics took it to Dominique Wilkins and the Atlanta Hawks, scoring exactly 60 points. Larry Legend would average 28.1 points per game over the season and lead the Celtics all the way to the Finals, where they fell in six games to the Lakers. Neither his arch rival Magic Johnson nor any of the other Showtime Lakers would ever score 60 in a single night.

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