We’re only about one-seventh of the way through the season, but there have been some pretty spectacular games already — and some of them weren’t even done by Stephen Curry!
Whether it’s 50-point games or historic performances, these are the best of the best performances so far this season. In the interest of not making it too spicy (i.e. too much Curry), we’re including only one game from each player in these highlights.
1. Stephen Curry Gives Treats on Halloween
Shocking, isn’t it, that Curry gets the nod at No. 1 here? But when you go off for 53 points, and then throw in nine assists and four steals for good measure, that’s a pretty darned good game. What’s perhaps most remarkable about that performance is Curry only attempted 27 shots to get those points.
That got me to wondering the fewest shots anyone ever took to get to 50. Willie Burton, who was a 10.2 career points-per-game scorer, had a remarkable performance, scoring 52 points on 19 tries. That, however, wasn’t the most efficient 50-point game. The honors there belong to Dana Barros, who went for 50 on a 93.0 TS% on Mar. 14, 1995.
Curry had a true shooting percentage of 83.2, the third time he scored 50 points while topping 80 percent. Only one other player has accomplished that multiple times, and he also has three: Micahel Jordan. So yeah, that’s kind of impressive.
2. Andre Drummond Goes all Andre Drummond
Andre Drummond put up a ridiculous line against Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 8. (Hey! That’s my wife’s birthday, but I digress.)
Drummond posted 29 points and grabbed 27 boards on 73.7 percent shooting. Which. Is. Crazy. That got me to wondering how many similar results there were. So I looked it up. The last player to go 25 and 25 on 70 percent shooting: Andre Drummond on Nov. 5.
Other players since 1985 to do it include Charles Barkley (3/30/86), Kenneth Faried (12/26/14), Dikembe Mutombo (12/14/99), Shaquille O’Neal (3/21/2004) and Robert Parish (1/9/87). Faried’s a bit surprising, but that’s some pretty impressive company.
3. Russell Westbrook Does Almost Everything – Literally
Russell Westbrook posted numbers that are crazy enough when you just look at them through normal person eyes; he scored 40 points and had 14 dimes in the game. That’s rare but not unprecedented: Nine players have accomplished that since 1985. If you include his three steals, that trims the number who’ve done it five. So it’s still pretty special.
What was amazing about Westbrook’s performance though, was that he did most of his damage in the second half. In fact, the Thunder scored 62 of their points after the break and Westbrook scored or assisted on 51 of them. I don’t know how often 50-point halves are in the NBA, but I expect they’re pretty rare.
4. Anthony Davis Is Mr. Complete
Anthony Davis had a phenomenal game in a losing cause against the Atlanta Hawks on Nov. 6. He posted a relatively rare stat line by scoring 43 points on better than 60 percent shooting while snatching 10 boards. That (40/10/.600) by itself is only marginally impressive, as 64 players have accomplished it since 1985. A little more impressive is that it was his fifth time doing it. Only 12 other guys have accomplished that feat, and all of them are or will be, in the Hall of Fame (with the possible exception of Amar’e Stoudemire).
But it gets more impressive. In addition to those numbers, Davis had three blocks, four steals and three assists.
When you factor those into the equation, the membership club is Davis’s alone.
5. Brandon Knight 30/15/10
This one come from Elias: According to Elias Sports Bureau, via Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports.com:
Knight became just the fourth player since steals became an official stat in 1973-74 to record a triple-double with a line of at least 30 points, 15 assists, 10 rebounds and four steals; he joined Russell Westbrook (30-17-11-4 vs. Toronto, 3/8/15), Magic Johnson (33-17-15-6 vs. Denver, 3/29/81) and Pete Maravich (42-17-10-4 vs. Seattle, 1/17/75).
That was also the highest-scoring triple-double of the season. So far this year, we already have 10 of them. Four of those have come from Rajon Rondo, who gets an honorable mention here for that fact. His best game was a 23-point, 14-dime, 10-board outing against the Brooklyn Nets on Nov. 13.