Ah, yes. The good ‘ol 50-piece. To us who grew up in basketball’s modern era, scoring in that range is a Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and James Harden thing. The three have combined for 79 regular season games with 50 or more points – Harden has 24 and is still actively trying to add more.
To the older guys, Wilt Chamberlain is another, and he’s in a league of his own. The man was a monster among men in his heyday and simply lorded over everyone, tallying an astounding 118 50-plus point games in his career – he even averaged 50.4 PPG for an entire season!
But enough about the all-timers; they’re getting enough praise every day. It’s time we put some spotlight on the lower-tiered guys, particularly ones who shockingly joined the 50-point club out of nowhere. This list for them.
Damon Stoudamire started out his NBA career as a high-scoring guard, but it eventually fizzled as he became more of a playmaker and defensive presence. On January 13, 2005, however, he turned back the clock and just went off. He scored 54 points on 20-for-32 shooting, including eight three pointers.
‘Mighty Mouse’ has only cracked the 30-point plateau twice in the four years prior (December 2000 – January 2005). The next three seasons, meanwhile, which concluded his career, saw him average just 7.4 points per game.
Andre Miller was also a Blazer in the first and only game he scored 50-plus, and he too had no hint of big-time scoring ability – he never actually did, which makes this feat even more shocking. He’s a classic facilitator with an old-school style of play and really slow-paced attack.
On January 30, 2010, though, the slow, old-school dude was getting bucket after bucket. He punished the Dallas Mavericks with 52 points and a franchise-record 22 field goals, which still stands today.
Miller was already on the decline at that time. In fact, he never scored more than 28 points again.
Brandon Jennings is unlike anyone on the list. There’s simply too many layers of goodness – he’s a rookie who was only in his seventh game, who also started off the contest going 0-for-3 and scoreless in the first quarter.
To go into a more detailed description, Jennings was a 20-year-old kid that’s roughly 170 lbs. soaking wet, and he exploded for 55 points (21/34 FGs, 7-for-8 from three) in three periods. It broke the franchise rookie record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and was close to tying Michael Redd’s single-game franchise record of 57.
Jennings never scored over 37 points again, and he hasn’t played in the league since 2018, but the way he outplayed co-rookie and future two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry will always be his main highlight.
The ultimate default back-up point guard. A career journeyman, Tony Delk was mostly there to give the starting guards a breather, play solid defense, and manage the ball movement.
On January 2, 2001, though, he was there to score. Seemingly out of nowhere, he poured in 53 points on 20-for-27 shooting and going 13-for-15 from the line – no three-pointers too, just mid-range shots and lay-ups.
Delk never scored over 27 points again.
I know what you’re thinking: Who???
We can’t even find his solo highlights for the game anywhere.
Nevertheless, it’s still as crazy as any game on this list, and it might be one of the unlikeliest. Willie Burton was a role player, who’s really just one of the many generic dudes in the ‘90s.
On December 13, 1994, Burton had 53 points on 12-for-19 shooting and going 24-for-28 from the charity stripe. It was the highest single-game scoring output from any Philadelphia 76er for 33 years (December 1967 to January 2001).
By season’s end, he was released by the Sixers and opted to play in Italy for a year before returning to the NBA. He never scored more than 20 points in his second run.
The mid 2000s were the early stages of the three-loving era we are watching now, and it led to a bevy of high-scoring performances from anyone who can get hot.
Among that was Terrence Ross’s 51-point outburst on January 25, 2014. He shot 16-for-29 from the floor, highlighted by burying 10 three-pointers. It was two shy of tying the Toronto Raptors’ franchise record.
While Ross has since established himself as freak athlete with dangerous, streaky shooting, he was an unheralded second-year swingman at the time of the feat. In fact, he never topped 30 points again until January 2019.
In his short peak, Tracy Murray was one of the best sharpshooters in the league. He’s one of the ‘90s guys that would’ve been a way better weapon in today’s game.
Murray entered the 50-point club on February 10, 1998. He scored 51 points on 18-for-29 shooting, including five threes. At the time, he was only the sixth Washington Wizard to score as much.
He played for six more seasons and never scored over 30 again, averaging a measly 6.5 PPG during that stretch.
The odds of Corey Brewer going off for 50-plus points on that fateful day of April 11, 2014 is simply too low. After falling short of meeting the high expectations when he came out of Florida, he has been relegated into a typical ‘3 and D’ guy at that point.
He had career averages of 9.5 points and a 41.6% shooting clip heading into that season, including a dreadful 29.8% from beyond the arc.
But for whatever reason, he just kept piling points that day. He went 19-for-33 from the floor, which includes six trifectas and a couple of and-ones. His 51 points is second-highest among any Minnesota draftee in history, which wasn’t broken until four years later by Karl Anthony-Towns, while the 19 field goals is still tied for a franchise record.
Brewer’s next highest output is 29, and after the 2013-14 season, his averages have mirrored the ones he had prior to that career game – 6.9 PPG, 41.9 FG%, 26.8 3FG%.