Analysis. History. Perspective.

Sports Then and Now

NBA’s 70-Point Club

Posted on March 06, 2014 by Martin Banks

LeBron James’ recent offensive performance scoring 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats makes him the 64th player to score at least 60 points in NBA history. It seems almost impossible to beat that record, or to top James’ sheer brilliance of mixing skill with durability and consistency throughout a single game. However, five players have surpassed that feat and propelled themselves into one of the most exclusive groups in sports: the 70-point club.

Wilt Chamberlain


Without a doubt, the king of single-game scoring is Chamberlain. The Lakers legend scored at least 70 points in a single game six times, which is easily the most ever. Chamberlain also holds the overall record for points in a game, with 100 for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks in a 169-147 victory in 1962. The 100-point performance shattered the previous record, which Chamberlain had set less than three months earlier, of 78 points. Perhaps the most impressive part of his 100-point record was the fact that Chamberlain made 28 of 32 free throws as a .511 free-throw percentage shooter. Chamberlain would also score 70, 72, and 73 points in NBA games.

Kobe Bryant


Another Lakers great scored the second most points in a single NBA game ever. Bryant was simply unstoppable in his 81-point performance that lifted the Lakers over the Toronto Raptors in 2006. On his own, Bryant outscored the entire Raptors team 55-41 in the second half. The Raptors would have needed a Columbia utility vehicle in order to stop Bryant in the final 24 minutes of that game. Bryant shot the ball relatively few times considering his 81 points. He made 28 of 46 from the floor and added 18 points via free throws.

David Thompson

Denver Nuggets vs. Milwaukee Bucks

Thompson’s best single-game scoring performance came against the Detroit Pistons when he played for the Denver Nuggets. Thompson set an NBA record by going 13 of 14 from the field in the first quarter, scoring 31 points. He would then add 41 more points to give him a total of 73. Thompson’s great scoring performance came in the last game of a season that was defined by a scoring-title race between Thompson and the San Antonio Spurs’ George Gervin. Thompson was able to score more points that night, but Gervin’s 63 points against the New Orleans Jazz, along with the slight edge he carried into the evening, turned out to be enough to defeat Thompson by .07 points for the scoring title.

Elgin Baylor


Baylor is one of only four players to score at least 60 points on more than one occasion. He is also the only player besides Michael Jordan to score at least 60 points in a playoff game. His highest-scoring night was a 1960 game against the New York Knicks in which he scored 71 points. Baylor went 28 of 48 from the field along with 15 of 18 from the free throw line.

David Robinson


The final member of the NBA’s 70-point club is Robinson, who scored 71 for the Spurs against the Los Angeles Clippers in 1994. He scored his team’s first 18 points of the contest and finished with 28 points in the fourth quarter. Like Thompson’s 73-point game, Robinson’s 71 came in the final game of the season, giving Robinson the scoring title over Shaquille O’Neil.

Will LeBron ever reach 70? It’s possible. If he gets hot and is playing a team that’s tanking, it could easily happen. Especially if they’re in a game that means nothing to the playoffs. Maybe we’ll even see it this year.

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