The 50-burger is becoming more and more routine for NBA players these days.
With Detroit Pistons forward Saddiq Bey dropping 51 points against the Orlando Magic on March 17, the league witnessed eight 50-point games in March alone. That’s the most in one month in the NBA since December 1962, when nine players scored at least 50 points in a game.
But the scoring madness extended beyond March. Twelve games have featured 51-plus-point games by a player, and six regular season games had exactly 50.
Let’s look at the highest-scoring games by a player this NBA season:
T-1. Karl-Anthony Towns: 60 points, March 14
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns had the first 60-point game this season. Towns converted on 19-of-31 shots from the field, including a 7-of-11 clip from 3-point range. He went 15-of-16 from the charity stripe in a 149-139 win over the San Antonio Spurs. That marked a career-high for the 2015 No. 1 overall pick.
T-1. Kyrie Irving: 60 points, March 15
It took only one day for someone to match Towns’ output. Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving also exploded for 60 points in a game where he shot 20-of-31 overall, 8-of-12 from 3-point range and 12-of-13 from the free throw line as the Nets drubbed the Magic 150-108. This outing also marked a career-high for Irving.
T-3. Trae Young: 56 points, Jan. 3
Atlanta Hawks star guard Trae Young had the highest-scoring game for a little over two months. He went for a career-high 56 points on 17-of-26 shooting overall while making 7-of-12 shots from downtown. He made all 15 of his free throws.
However, the Hawks lost to the Portland Trail Blazers by a score of 136-131. Anfernee Simons led Portland with 43 points while Jusuf Nurkic, Nassir Little and ex-Trail Blazer Norman Powell all dropped over 21 points to spoil Young’s record-breaking night.
T-3. LeBron James: 56 points, March 5
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James may be 37 years old now, but he continues to defy Father Time. James had a huge performance against the Golden State Warriors, going for 56 points to lead Los Angeles to victory, 124-116. James’ scoring barrage amplified in the fourth quarter, and he finished the game making 19-of-31 shots overall, 6-of-11 from deep and 12-of-13 from the charity stripe. James’ career-high is 61 points, which came in 2014.
5. Kevin Durant: 55 points, April 2
Kevin Durant is labeled one of the best scorers of all time, and while he has scored over 50 many times, he scored a career-high 55 points against the Atlanta Hawks. While the game ended in a loss, the Brooklyn star finished the game going 19-of-28 from the field and 8-for-10 from three-point range.
6. Jayson Tatum: 54 points, March 6
Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum followed James’ night with a big one of his own, erupting for a season-high 54 points against the Nets. Tatum shot 16-of-30 overall, 8-of-15 from 3-point range and 14-of-17 from the charity stripe to guide Boston to an important 126-120 win. Tatum’s career-high is 60 points, which came in April 2021.
7. Kevin Durant: 53 points, March 13
Just four games after a near-two-month hiatus, Nets star Kevin Durant dropped 53 points in a 110-107 win against the New York Knicks with Irving sidelined due to COVID-19 vaccination guidelines. Durant made 19-of-37 shots overall with a 4-of-13 clip from long distance. He converted on 11-of-12 free throws. Durant fell one point shy of tying his career-high output, which was a 54-point game in 2014.
8. Ja Morant: 52 points, Feb. 28
The Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the best stories of the season, and Ja Morant, the leader of the pack, has been a huge factor. Morant, who has taken a significant leap this season as a multi-level scorer, dropped a career-high 52 points against the Spurs in a 118-105 win. Morant shot 22-of-30 overall and made all four of his 3-point attempts. He went 4-of-7 from the free throw line.
T-9. Jayson Tatum: 51 points, Jan. 23
Before Tatum’s 54-point performance, he scored 51 in a 116-87 rout of the Washington Wizards. He shot 18-of-28 overall, 9-of-14 from deep and made all six free throws. For the Wizards, the highest scorer was Bradley Beal with 19 points.
T-9. Kevin Durant: 51 points, Dec. 12
In a game where Irving and then-Nets guard James Harden did not play, Durant once again delivered with 51 points to usher Brooklyn to a win. Durant shot 16-of-31 overall, 5-of-10 from deep and 14-of-15 from the charity stripe to help top the Pistons in a 116-104 win.
T-9. Luka Doncic: 51 points, Feb. 10
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic had his career-high night against the Los Angeles Clippers, a team he just seems to love shining against. Doncic dropped 51 on 17-of-26 shooting overall, 7-of-14 from long distance and 10-of-14 from the stripe in the 112-105 win.
T-9. Saddiq Bey: 51 points, March 17
Bey is the most recent player to have a 50-burger. He exploded for a career-high 51 points to help beat the Magic by a score of 134-120. Bey made 17-of-27 shots on the night and drilled 10-of-14 triples. The 3-point makes also marked a career-high. He went 7-of-10 from the free throw line, which is where he got his final two points. He became the youngest Piston in franchise history to have a 50-plus-point game.
What are the 50-point games this season?
As mentioned before, there have six regular season games this season where a player has scored exactly 50 points:
Stephen Curry: 50 points, Nov. 8 vs. Hawks
Jaylen Brown: 50 points, Jan. 2 vs. Magic
Joel Embiid: 50 points, Jan. 19 vs. Magic
Giannis Antetokounmpo: 50 points, Feb. 15 vs. Pacers
Kyrie Irving: 50 points, March 8 vs. Hornets
LeBron James: 50 points, March 11 vs. Wizards
DeMar DeRozan: 50 points, March 31 vs. Clippers
Curry also had 50 points in the 2022 All-Star Game, just two points shy of Anthony Davis’ record set in 2017.