So Donovan Mitchell went off last night, setting a new career high and franchise best in a single game with 71. In my opinion, it was his 13 points in OT that was most impressive. And that crazy offensive rebound from his own missed free throw. Luka must be proud.
So this got me thinking about the crazy scoring bursts I remember, and here are my starting five "High scoring performances".
5. David Robinson 71 points in 1994
Shaq and the Admiral were battling all season for the scoring crown. And even tho Shaq would win his first scoring title the next season, it was more at stakes since this was the first time in 7 years that the NBA was gonna have a new scoring king. With Michael Jordan off playing baseball, the title was up for grabs and heading in to the last game of the season, Shaq stood as the leader. Then, the Spurs played the Clippers. And if you are too young to know that there was a time before Lob-City, when the Clippers weren't that good.
So, the Spurs fed David Robinson the entire game, and he finished with 71, and landed at an average of 29.8 while Shaq and his missed free throws got him second place with 29.3.
4. Kobe Bryant 60 points in 2016
There's a couple of games to choose from when it comes to Kobe. His 61 points in MSG or outscoring the Mavs after three quarters. But his last game of his NBA career, was so special. That whole season he looked humbled, just happy to play the game, and I remember that I was feeling a little sad that he didn't have that many great games, but then he had a 35 points game against Houston two games before the career was gonna end against the Jazz at the Staples. The Lakers lost that game by 20 and I thought that it was gonna be his last "great" game.
During the last 16 games, the Lakers were 2-12 with Kobe in the lineup and he sat out twice in two losses. And then Kobe did what Kobe did. It was so cool to see Kobe locked in, and even tho he broke the record with most attempts with 50, it was the ending that was awesome. And very Kobe like to end his career with 60 points in a win. If only it would've been against the Spurs or Celtics.
3. Michael Jordan 55 points in 1995
How do you make a statement five games into a comeback, letting everyone know that you're back? You go for a 55 points game against your old rivals who you knocked out after being down 0-2 in the ECF last time you played them. In their gym. The worlds most famous arena. Madison Square Garden. That's how Michael Jordan did it. He came back, had a tough game against the Pacers on the road, got his legs under him, scored the game winner against the Hawks. Then he took over Broadway, and never looked back.
Maybe he should've tho, cause if he had looked back to see Nick Anderson coming up behind him in the second round (while wearing Jordan 10's) the Bulls might've never lost that series. But it turned out fine in the end anyway.
2. Kobe Bryant 81 points in 2006
OK, I know this is the best one. But wait for it, I have my reasons. On January 23, 2006 I woke up and sat down to go thru some e-mails and maybe edit my MySpace page and as I always did when I opened a browser, I typed in nba.com and for a couple of minutes I didn't get it. Kobe 81 was all over the page. Clips, articles and even t-shirts with KOBE 81 on them. What's 81, his number is 8? And then I opened the box score and it was the craziest thing I've seen. I called my friend who's the biggest Kobe fan I know, and he had yet to see it. So I told him to go to his computer and get on nba.com and his reaction was as pure as a fan can have. Rest easy Kobe.
1. Carmelo Anthony 62 points in 2014
This is special to me, both because it's my Knicks and I'm a die hard Carmelo fan. It's not for nothing that I own 10+ Melo jerseys and almost named my dog Melo when he was a puppy. And the world is divided in two groups. The ones who have been thru normal pain, and Knicks fans. We've been thru more misery than most people can't even imagine. But then we bring up those short stints of happiness like 2012-13 Knicks season, the underdog finals-run in '99, Ewing not having any HOF teammates, Starks dunk on Jordan and a few more. We even bring up how close we were to draft Steph, like that is an accomplishment.
The year was 2013. We won the Atlantic division, got past the first round and Melo was third in the MVP voting. Everything felt like it was going in the right direction. Then, Phil Jackson the GM happened. We went from 54-28 to 37-45, missed the playoffs and we were right back to were we've been since Sprewell n LJ left. So imagine how it felt watching Melo hit turn arounds and pull ups like he had a cheat code on 2K. When he hit that shot from half court, LeBron knew Melo was gonna set a franchise and MSG record. He probably knew on that Bananan boat too.
Yeah, Melo going for 62 matters, even tho it was against Charlotte at a time when everyone had great games against them. To me, it matters more than to most people.