Sunday, January 31, 2010

You Wouldn't Have Thunk It

After Andre Miller, who is a good player, but hardly a scoring machine, put up 52 points on the Dallas Mavericks the other day, I used Basketball-Reference's Game Finder to find all the other 50 point scorers (from 1987 to the present), and I found some other unlikely heroes.

Tony Delk, who scored 53 points for the Phoenix Suns in a 121-117 overtime loss to the Sacramento Kings on January 2nd, 2001. Delk went 20/27 from the field and 13/15 from the line, and finished with 53 points, 6 rebounds, 0 assists, and only 2 turnovers in 50 minutes of action. However, the rest of the team shot 27/74 (.365), including a 5/18 night from Jason Kidd and a 2/10 performance from Clifford Robinson. Meanwhile, Vlade Divac scored 34 for Sacramento, and Peja added 33 on a combined 24/37.

Willie Burton, who scored 53 for the Philadelphia 76ers in a 105-90 victory over Miami on December 13, 1994. Like Delk, the rest of Burton's team failed to pick up the shooting slack, with Clarence Weatherspoon shooting an egregious 4/20. However, the Adelman Kings were a much better team than the Glen Rice-Kevin Willis-Bimbo Coles Heat, and Burton's 53 points on 19 shots and 28 free throw attempts were enough to carry the 76ers, who enjoyed a 51-20 free throw attempt disparity.

Vernon Maxwell, who scored 51 points for the shorthanded Houston Rockets in a 103-97 victory over Cleveland on January 26, 1991. This game took place a couple weeks after Hakeem Olajuwon was injured by a Bill Cartwright elbow to the face, and the Rockets depended on Maxwell, Otis Thorpe, and Kenny Smith for offense. Maxwell went 14/25 from the field and took 22 of Houston's 27 free throws in a comeback win. The game was a sloppy affair, with Houston turning the ball over 26 times and Cleveland coughing it up 25 times. The Rockets withstood Larry Nance's 29-10-4 (steals) and Darnell Valentine shooting 9/11 with 5 steals.

Tracy Murray, who scored 50 points for the Washington Wizards on February 10, 1998 in a 99-87 win over the hapless Golden State Warriors, who were led by Joe Smith's 36. Murray went 18/29 from the field and 9/10 from the line. The rest of the Wizards shot 19/62 (31%), not giving Murray much help, although Rod Strickland's 20 assist night certainly helped (Strickland also scored 21 and added 12 rebounds). Fellow 50 point scorer Tony Delk appeared in this game, shooting 6/19 and turning the ball over 7 times.

Dana Barros, who scored 50 points for the 76ers on March 14, 1995 in a 136-107 loss to Houston (yes, the same 76ers team that Willie Burton scored 53 for). Barros actually averaged 21 points that year for a team with no other legitimate scoring options (Burton's outburst notwithstanding), so it wasn't that surprising that he scored 50 points, but I included this game for the reason that he scored 50 points while attempting only 2 free throws. How did he do it? By shooting 21/26 from the field, including 6/8 from three! Impressively, Barros added 8 assists while only turning it over 4 times. Clarence Weatherspoon had another bad game, shooting 5/13 with 4 turnovers (4 turnovers is acceptable when you have 50 points and 8 assists, not when you have 11 points and 1 assist), while the Rockets had Clyde Drexler, Kenny Smith, and Mario Elie combine to score 72 points on 23/34 shooting.

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