NBA individual record breakers and performances

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Tatum shares most 50-points game in Celtics history with Bird

March 13, 2022 – Jayson Tatum tied Larry Bird for the most 50-point games in Celtics history when he scored 54 points in a 126-120 win over the visiting Brooklyn Nets on March 6, 2022.

Bird took much longer to get there (he didn’t record his first career 50-ball until he was 26, and had his last at age 32). Tatum turned 24 on March 3.

Tatum scored 34 of his points in the second half. He shot 16-for-30, including 8-for-15 from 3-point range and 14-for-17 from the foul line. He also grabbed 5 rebounds and dished 3 assists.

Here are Jayson Tatum’s other 50-point games: 60 points on April 30, 2021 in a 143-140 overtime win against the visiting San Antonio Spurs; 53 points on April 9, 2021 in a 145-136 win against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves; and 51 points on January 23, 2022 in a 116-87 win on the road against the Washington Wizards.

Here are Larry Bird’s 50-point games: 60 points on March 12, 1985 in a 126-115 win on the road against the Atlanta Hawks; 53 points on March 30, 1983 in a 142-116 win against the visiting Indiana Pacers; 50 points on November 10, 1989 in 117-106 win against the visiting Atlanta Hawks; 50 points on March 10, 1986 115-116 in loss on the road against the Dallas Mavericks.

Tatum is 4-0 while Bird was 3-1 during these games. The Atlanta Hawks are Bird’s target practice partners as two of his highest scoring games came against them both at home and on the road.

Irving joins MJ for an all-time guard record

March 13, 2022 – When Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving dropped 50 points on just 19 attempts from the field in Brooklyn’s 132-121 win while visiting the Charlotte Hornets on March 8, 2022, he tied the second fewest attempts from the floor ever in a 50-point game.

Aside from that, Irving converted 15 of his 19 attempts for 78.95% shooting clip. This made him join Michael Jordan as the only guards in NBA history to score 50 or more points on 75 percent or better shooting in multiple games.

Irving was 9-of-12 from 3-point land, and 11-of-13 from the free throw line.

It was the second time Irving achieved the feat. He scored  54 points on 19-of-23 field goal shooting (82.6%) for Brooklyn in a 133-118 win against the visiting Chicago Bulls on January 31, 2020.

Meanwhile, Jordan recorded the feat three times, all for the Bulls. He scored 59 points on 21-of-27 shooting (77.8%) in a 112-110 win on the road against the Detroit Pistons on April 3, 1988; 53 point on 21-of-28 shooting (75%) in a 102-81 win on the road against the Detroit Pistons on March 7, 1996; and 52 points on 24-of-29 shooting (82.8%) in a 110-123 loss on the road against the Philadelphia 76ers, on November 16, 1988.

Irving ties second-fewest field goal attempts in a 50-point game

March 13, 2022 – Brooklyn Nets’ guard Kyrie Irving tied the second fewest attempts from the floor ever in a 50-point game when he dropped 50 points on just 19 attempts from the field in Brooklyn’s 132-121 win while visiting the Charlotte Hornets on March 8, 2022.

He joins Adrian Dantley and Willie Burton as the only players in NBA history who attempted less than 20 shots from the floor in scoring 50 points.

Just last month, Giannis Antetokounmpo placed fourth on the list when he scored 50 points on 17-of-21 shots from the field to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 128-119 victory over the Indiana Pacers on February 15, 2022. He now completes the top five.

Here are the top-five players who had fewest field goal attempts in a 50-point game:

17 – Adrian Dantley. Dantley scored 50 points on 12-of-17 shots from the field for the Utah Jazz on October 31, 1980 against the Dallas Mavericks.

19 – Willie Burton. Burton scored 53 points on 12-of-19 shots from the field for the Philadelphia 76ers on December 13, 1994 against the Miami Heat.

20 – Damian Lillard. Lillard scored 50 points on 13-of-20 shots from the field for the Portland Trailblazers on March 16, 2020 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

DeRozan broke a Wilt Chamberlain shooting record

March 6, 2022 – DeMar DeRozan of the Chicago Bulls did the rare and difficult when he broke a Wilt Chamberlain field goal percentage record.

Given Chamberlains was almost automatic from the floor once he gets inside the paint where he is virtually unstoppable during his time, it amazingly surprising a guard is the one to break this one.

From February 6 – 24, 2022, DeRozan scored more than 35 points while shooting 50% or better in eight straight games.

DeRozan’s streak bettered Chamberlain’s by two games. “The Big Dipper” did the feat in six straight twice during his career, one each during the 1960-61 and 1962-63 seasons.

Here’s DeRozan’s journey in recording the noteworthy record:

February 6 – 45 points, shooting 18-of-30 (60.0%) from the floor against the visiting Philadelphia 76ers. The Bulls lost, 108-119.

February 7 – 38 points, shooting 16-of-27 (59.3%) against the visiting Phoenix Suns. The Bulls lost, 124-127.

February 9 –  36 points while shooting 13-of-19 (68.4%) on the road against the Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls won, 121-109.

February 11 – 35 points while shooting 14-of-22 (63.6%) against the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. The Bulls won, 134-122.

February 12 – 38 points while shooting 12-of-24 (50.0%) against the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder. The Bulls won, 106-101.

February 14 – 40 points while shooting 16-of-24 (66.7%) against the visiting San Antonio Spurs. The Bulls won, 120-109.

February 16 – 38 points while shooting 16-of-27 (59.3%) against the visiting Sacramento Kings. The Bulls won, 125-118.

February 24 – 37 points while shooting 15-of-21 (71.4%) against the visiting Atlanta Hawks. The Bulls won, 112-108.

Unfortunately, DeRozan’s streak ended on a very sour note. On their next game against the Memphis Grizzlies on February 26, he was limited to 31 point on 10-of-29 (34.5%) shooting and banished from the court on account of two technical fouls. The Bulls lost, 110-116.

Overall, the Bulls were 6-2 during DeRozan’s streak.

DeRozan fell short of surpassing a Jordan Chicago scoring record, settles for second

March 6, 2022 – Along the way of breaking a Wilt Chamberlain field goal percentage record, DeMar DeRozan was also chasing a Michael Jordan scoring record.

DeRozan scored more than 35 points while shooting 50% or better in eight straight games to break Chamberlain’s by two games.

DeRozan’s remarkable feat is also the second most 35 or more points consecutively scored in Chicago Bulls history. Michael Jordan, the Bulls’ all-time leader in just about every major statistical category, still holds the franchise record at 10, a feat he recorded in 1986.

Combined with 31-point games against Indiana on February 4 and against Memphis on February 26 give DeRozan a streak of 10-games with 30 points or better.

This ties the second-longest by a Bulls established by  Michael Jordan  twice, (1) from December 25, 1990 to January 14, 1991, and another during the 1986-87 season.

Only another 11-game streak by Jordan, himself, during the 1986-87 season was better.

Jordan’s 7-game streak in 1988 is third on this list.

DeRozan’s streak ended on February 28 when he scored 18 on the road against Miami.

Overall, the Bulls were 7-3 during DeRozan’s streak.

Antetokounmpo joins 3 others in rare feat

March 01, 2022 – Giannis Antetokounmpo inserted himself to join three others in a rare single-game feat during a Milwaukee Bucks game played some couple of days before the all-star break.

Antetokounmpo scored 50 points on 17-of-21 shots from the field to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 128-119 victory over the Indiana Pacers on February 15, 2022.

ESPN also pointed out that Antetokounmpo’s 21 attempts from the floor is the fourth fewest ever in a 50-point game.

He joins Adrian Dantley, Willie Burton and Damian Lillard as the only players in NBA history who attempted less than 21 shots from the floor in scoring 50 points.

Record holder Dantley scored 50 points on 12-of-17 shots on October 31, 1980.

Burton shot 19 times on December 13, 1994 while Lillard attempted 20 shots on March 16, 2020 during their respective 50-point games.

Russel Westbrook: Back-to-back Triple-double season average

April 16, 2018 – Russell Westbrook became first in NBA history to average a triple-double for two seasons. Westbrook finished the season with an average of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists. He also reestablished the season-total high mark with his 42 TDs.

Westbrook entered the season’s final two games needing 34 rebounds to round up his average to 10. He hauled in 18 against the Miami Heat then grabbed a career-high 20 against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Knowing needed 16 rebounds, he already secured 11, along with 12 assists but only with 2 points, by halftime. He eventually finished with 6 points, 20 rebounds and 19 assists, marking only the second time in his career he has missed a triple-double because of points.

Last year, Westbrook earned MVP honors while leading the league in scoring with 31.6 points per game, third in assists with 10.4 per game and 10th in rebounds with 10.7 per game, posting 25 triple doubles. He became the second man behind Oscar Robertson to do average a triple double for a season.

Robertson still owned the most impressive TD average with his 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists during the 1961-62.

By Armando M. Bolislis

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