There are many players that can make an impact on one end of the court. They can score a lot, sometimes create for others, rebound, or play some defense. Still, there haven’t been many players that could contribute to multiple aspects of the game.
Throughout the course of history, we’ve seen some of the greatest players to ever live have once-in-a-lifetime kinds of performances. They’ve filled the stat sheet and scored efficiently to be two or three steps ahead of their peers and competition.
Only the creme of the crop has had some top-tier Game Score performances in NBA history. For those who aren’t aware of this statistic, it pretty much measures every quantifiable thing a player does on the court using the following formula: (Points x 1.0) + (FGM x 0.4) + (FGA x -0.7) + ((FTA-FTM) x -0.4) + (OREB x 0.7) + (DREB x 0.3) + (STL x 1.0) + (AST x 0.7) + (BLK x 0.7) + (PF x -0.4) + (TO x -1.0), via Basketball-Reference.
Today, we’re going to let you know about the top 10 greatest Game Score regular-season performances of all time.
10. James Harden
Game Score: 52.40
James Harden has made a name for himself in the league for being an offensive juggernaut not even the greatest defenders in the world can contain. And he was definitely at his best on 2019-11-30, when his Houston Rockets faced the Atlanta Hawks on the road.
Harden torched opposing defenses like few times we’ve seen in basketball history. He scored 60 points on 16/24 shooting with 8/14 from beyond the arc and 20/23 from the free-throw line. He added 3 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block; leading the Rockets to a 158-111 triumph.
9. LeBron James
Game Score: 53.20
We’ve always known LeBron James is one of the most versatile players in the history of basketball. His ability to do it all at a high level has made him a synonym to efficiency and durability throughout his 17-year career and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
James showcased his entire skillset on 2017-11-03 when the Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Washington Wizards. LeBron scored 57 points on 23/34 shooting (2/4 from three and 9/9 from the line) to go along with 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. The Cavaliers won 130-122.
8. Anthony Davis
Game Score: 53.90
Anthony Davis’ game had to be completely flawless during his tenure with the New Orleans Pelicans if he wanted to lead them to the playoffs. He was left alone on an island and had MVP-caliber seasons go to waste year after year before being traded to the Lakers.
Davis was at his peak when the Pelicans faced the Detroit Pistons on 2016-02-21. The big man scored a career-high 59 points on 24/34 from the floor, going 2/2 from beyond the arc and 9/19 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed 20 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block. His team won 111-106.
7. Kevin McHale
Game Score: 54.30
Kevin McHale is one of the most talented and skilled players in NBA history. He could do it all on both ends of the court, either starting or coming off the bench, and he played a major role in the Boston Celtics’ dynasty from the ‘190s.
McHale was in human-torch mode when the Celtics faced the Bad Boys Detroit Pistons on 1985-03-03. He scored a career-high 56 points on 22/28 shooting and 12/13 from the free-throw line. He added 16 rebounds (10 offensive), 4 assists, 1 steal, and 3 blocks. The Celtics won 138-129.
6. Devin Booker
Game Score: 54.50
Devin Booker is already one of the most talented and dominant scorers we’ve seen. It didn’t take him long to prove it and we just can’t help to feel his talents are going to waste with the Phoenix Suns, as he has to do it all for his team and they still can’t get a win.
Booker showed glimpses of his greatness on 2017-03-24 when the Phoenix Suns visited the TD Garden to face the Boston Celtics. He scored a career-high 70 points (10th highest ever) on 21/40 shooting, 4/11 from three, and 24/26 from the line. He added 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block but the Celtics won 130-120.
5. Michael Jordan
Game Score: 54.70
Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time for plenty of reasons. He dominated his rivals on and off the court and just never took his feet off the gas. He was a cold-blooded player that loved going for the jugular once his rivals were agonizing.
Jordan showcased his ability on 1988-04-03 when the Chicago Bulls faced their nemesis Detroit Pistons. He scored 59 points on 21/27 from the floor and 17/19 from the free-throw line. He added 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks; leading his team to a 112-110 victory.
4. James Harden
Game Score: 56.60
James Harden makes the cut again and it shouldn’t come as a surprise, as he’s often been called to be the Houston Rockets’ driving force, especially when they’ve struggled with nagging injuries and the inconsistencies of his supporting cast.
Harden was in his bag again on 2018-01-30. The Rockets hosted the Orlando Magic and he scored 60 points on 19/30 shooting (5/14 from beyond the arc and 17/18 from the free-throw line). He added 10 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block. The Rockets won 114-107.
3. Karl Malone
Game Score: 60.20
Back in the day, Karl Malone was an unstoppable force of nature. He just couldn’t be contained on the offensive end of the floor and was the only player that could make people wonder whether Michael Jordan was the best scorer in the league in 1990.
The Mailman delivered big time on 1990-01-27. The Milwaukee Bucks visited the Utah Jazz and Malone served him for a career-high 61 points in 21/26 shooting and 19/23 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed 18 rebounds with 2 assists, and 3 steals; leading the Jazz to a 144-96 victory.
2. Kobe Bryant
Game Score: 63.50
Kobe Bryant was the closest thing to Michael Jordan we ever saw. Once he took over, there was just no way of stopping him, he had that Mamba Mentality that could lift him past every single one of his rivals. He was just determined to win at all costs.
And, as most of you may know by now, Kobe had his all-time greatest performance vs. the Toronto Raptors on 2006-01-22. He scored a career-high 81 points (2nd highest ever) on 28/46 shooting, 7/13 from three, and 18/20 from the line. He also grabbed 6 rebounds with 2 assists, 3 steals, and 1 block and the Lakers came from behind to get a 122-104 win.
1. Michael Jordan
Game Score: 64.60
And the greatest player of all time sits at the top of the list as per usual. Michael Jordan is the kind of legend no one will ever match, not only because of how his rivals felt just by seeing him but also because he backed the talk on the court every single night.
Jordan had the greatest Game Score performance of all-time vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers on 1990-03-28. He scored a career-high 69 points (23/37 shooting, 2/6 from three, 21/23 from the line). He also had 18 rebounds (7 offensive), 6 assists, 4 steals, and 1 block; leading the Bulls to a 117-113 win.