51 points on 17/44 (38.6%) shooting in a win against the Suns on October 28, 2016
Russell Westbrook has been a beast for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2016-17 campaign, averaging a triple-double and leading the league in points per game with 31.
However, among his fellow 50+ point scorers, Westbrook ranks last for a few key reasons.
Firstly, he put on the worst shooting performance of the eight and it wasn’t even close. He was the only player not to crack 50 percent shooting (38.6%), he shot the worst free throw percentage (75%) and the second worst three point percentage (20%).
He also had the lowest Game Score (a rough measure of a player’s productivity for a single game) of the group (32.9).
Lastly, he played more minutes (45) than any of the other players. That being said, he still scored 51 points with a triple-double in a win.
Even a “bad game” is a good game for Russell Westbrook.
50 points on 17/34 (50%) shooting in a loss against the Nuggets on October 26, 2016
It’s not Anthony Davis’ fault the Pelicans still lost despite his incredible performance. However, it does mean that his performance didn’t contribute to a win.
This isn’t the primary reason that Davis is ranked at number 7 – the main reasons are his 50 percent field goal percentage (2nd lowest in group) and the fact that his scoring total is also the lowest of anyone in the group.
Davis also missed both his three-point attempts and, as noted previously, the Pelicans still lost.
The fact that Davis’ performance may not be up to par with some greater performances doesn’t take away from the fact that Davis was spectacular nevertheless in this game and was the first player to score 50 this season, starting off this record-tying scoring season.
So, from all basketball fans with love, thank you Anthony Davis.
52 points on 18/31 (58.1%) shooting in a loss against the Magic on December 6, 2016
Like Anthony Davis, John Wall’s 50+ point explosion also came in a loss. It was also overshadowed by Klay Thompson’s scoring outburst the night before (more on that later).
Wall also took 42 minutes to get to 52, the highest of anyone who got to 52 and the second highest of anyone that got to 50. His Game Score (41.3) also ranked sixth in the group.
It may seem unfair to put John Wall at number six because he did shoot well, kept his turnovers to four and contributed eight assists. However, I find it hard to put this performance any higher considering it didn’t result in a victory.
I am one of the biggest advocates of John Wall and his game but unfortunately in this instance, his Wizards let him down and Klay Thompson has, unfortunately, already helped us somewhat forget this game.
53 points on 14/26 (53.8%) shooting in a win against the Knicks on December 31, 2016
In terms of a game performance, James Harden undoubtedly had the best game of the group and most likely anyone in the NBA this season. He tacked on 16 rebounds and 17 assists to his already impressive 53 points.
In terms of a scoring performance, The Beard ranks a modest fifth as he shot better from the field than only two other players in the group (Davis and Westbrook).
He also tied John Wall with 42 minutes to reach his final points total, behind only Russell Westbrook’s 45.
Harden is going to have to settle for top five on this list. It’s too bad – if we were ranking the best performances of the season so far, Harden would undoubtedly be number one.
52 points on 15/26 (57.7%) shooting in a win against the HEAT on December 30, 2016
Isaiah Thomas, standing at 5-foot-9 inches, joined Calvin Murphy as the shortest players to score 50 points since the 1963-64 campaign and only the fifth Celtic ever to reach 50 points.
Coming into the fourth quarter, Thomas only had 23 points before he exploded for 29 points in the final period to push the Celtics past the Heat.
He took only 37 minutes to get 52, only triumphed by the insane 29 minutes it took for Klay Thompson to reach his points total.
He also shot a perfect 13-for-13 from the line in a very memorable performance.
The storyline behind Thomas’ 52, mainly how he has been underestimated and undervalued all his life due to his height in a league meant for giants, clearly makes his performance better and earns him the number four spot in these rankings.
52 points on 15/24 (62.5%) shooting in a win against the Hornets on January 2, 2017
The most recent of the 50+ point games, Jimmy G Butler (the ‘G’ stands for ‘Get Buckets) took only 38 minutes (third best in the group) to get to his 52 that helped carry the Bulls over the Hornets.
Compared to the rest of the group, Butler ranks 2nd in field goal percentage (62.5%), 1st in two point percentage (70%) and 2nd in free throw percentage (95.5%) whilst attempting more free throws than anyone else.
Butler also had a Game Score of 51.5, the only one of the eight to crack 50.
In conclusion, Jimmy Butler is in fact very good at getting buckets and if the Bulls don’t want his getting buckets function to break down before February, they should get him some help.
As for now, let’s hope Jimmy can give us another 50-point performance as we watch the Bulls turn to turmoil due to the presence of Rajon Rondo.