NBA: Ranking The 50 point games Of The 2016-17 Season

Dec 30, 2016; Boston, MA, USA;  Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) shouts after making a basket during the second half against the Miami Heat at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 30, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) smiles during the second half against the Miami Heat at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Dec 30, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) smiles during the second half against the Miami Heat at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

With Jimmy Butler putting up 52 points against Charlotte in the new year, eight different NBA players now have at least 50 points in a game just this season. We rank each of those performances

Eight difference players have no scored at least 50 points in a game during the 2016-17 NBA season. That equals an NBA record, tied with the 1989-90 season and last season, the 2015-16 campaign.

Here to break down which performance was the best 50+ point output of the season so far is yours truly.

Please note that accompanying statistics such as rebounds and assists will not significantly boost the value of the performance. This is a ranking of scoring performances, not game performances.

8. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

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.

7. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans

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.

6. John Wall, Washington Wizards

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.

5. James Harden, Houston Rockets

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.

4. Isaiah Thomas, Boston Celtics

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.

3. DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings

55 points on 17/28 (60.7%) shooting in a win against the Trail Blazers on December 20, 2016

DeMarcus Cousins may not be universally liked or appreciated but his performance against the Portland Trail Blazers certainly should be.

Cousins erupted for 55 points (second only to Klay’s 60 this season), joining Klay Thompson and Jimmy Butler as the only ones to shoot above 60 percent from the field.

More impressively, Boogie missed only one free throw of 17 and went 5 for 8 on threes, a better three point percentage than everyone in the group bar John Wall and Isaiah Thomas.

Cousins may be a center but he showed more than ever that he can score both down low and from downtown in this brilliant performance.

2. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls

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.

1. Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors

60 points on 21/33 (63.6%) shooting in a win against the Pacers on December 5, 2016

Really, it wasn’t even close. And I’m allowed to say that because it really wasn’t.

Klay Alexander Thompson scored 60 points on 63.6 percent shooting in only 29 minutes without turning over the ball once, mainly because he only held the ball for just 90 seconds the whole game.

There is no further reason I need to argue this as the best scoring performance of the season.

With the highest total points, the best shooting percentage and in the lowest amount of time, Klay Thompson runs away with the number one spot in the rankings for best 50+ point games of the season.

Agree? Disagree? Leave your opinions in the comments section below!

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