Devin Booker is the most recent player to have an all-time great scoring performance after dropping 70 points in a loss against the Toronto Raptors in 2017. Booker was sensational, going off and dropping 70 points at only 20 years of age. But where does Booker’s performance rank among the greatest ever?
Here are the 10 greatest scoring performances in NBA history starting with the man who will own this list, Wilt Chamberlain.
Devin Booker – 70 Points
Phoenix Suns vs. Boston Celtics 120-130 (March 24, 2017)
It didn’t take long before Devin Booker wrote his name on NBA history. He proved that he was poised to become one of the most unstoppable scorers in the league after torching the Boston Celtics for 70 points. Sadly, though, that masterpiece came during a loss, which is been the story of his career thus far. Hopefully, the Suns will find a way to surround him with talent and help him compete at the highest level.
10. Wilt Chamberlain – 70 Points
San Francisco Warriors vs. Syracuse Nationals 148-163 (March 10, 1963)
Wilt Chamberlain dropped 70 points as a member of the Warriors in 1963. Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain shot an incredible 27-38 from the floor and even went 16-22 from the stripe despite being a career 51.1% free throw shooter. Chamberlain was still not able to lead his team to victory as the Warriors fell to the Nationals 163-148. Still, Chamberlain’s performance was incredible and he kicks off a list that really should be named after him.
9. David Robinson – 71 Points
San Antonio Spurs vs. Los Angeles Clippers 112-97 (April 24, 1994)
On the final day of the season where he won the scoring title, David Robinson dropped 71 points on 26-41 from the field. Robinson was hacked throughout the game, but still made 18-25 from the free-throw line and even went 1-2 from three. He would not be denied a victory either, winning the game 112-97. The Admiral is one of the greatest Spurs in NBA history and he proved that by winning the MVP Award the following year.
8. Elgin Baylor – 71 Points
Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks 123-108 (November 15, 1960)
The great Elgin Baylor is one of the greatest players to have never won an NBA title. But he was a sensational scorer and an offensive force that is respected and admired by his peers. Baylor dropped 71 points in a blowout win against the Knicks in 1960. Baylor was a spring chicken by then, as he managed this feat in only his third NBA season. Baylor made 28 out of 48 field goals and also grabbed 25 rebounds in a big victory.
7. Wilt Chamberlain – 72 Points
San Francisco Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers 115-127 (November 3, 1962)
1962 would be a great year for the NBA’s most dominant superstar, Wilt Chamberlain. The first of his record-breaking performances during the year came on November 3rd. Wilt scored 72 points in a 127-115 loss against the Lakers. Chamberlain made 29 shots during the game and was very effective from the line by making 14-18 free throws. The fact that Chamberlain can’t carry his team to a win when dropping 72 points is shocking, but Chamberlain will be appearing on this list again.
6. David Thompson – 73 Points
Denver Nuggets vs. Detroit Pistons 137-139 (April 9, 1978)
Nuggets legend David Thompson put on an incredible show against the Pistons in 1978. Thompson dropped 73 points on 28-38 shooting from the field, while also draining 17-20 free throws. Surprisingly enough, Thompson’s incredible offensive performance was not enough to give the Nuggets a victory as they still fell short 137-139.
5. Wilt Chamberlain – 73 Points
Philadelphia Warriors vs. Chicago Packers 135-117 (January 13, 1962)
Wilt Chamberlain was on a tear all season long, as he was the first player ever to record back-to-back games of at least 50 points. Wilt dropped 73 Points at the start of the New Year, making 29-48 field goals and also 15-25 free throws. Wilt won this game for his team, 135-117, and he still wasn’t done in 1962. Wilt manages to usurp this performance with another one just a few months later.
4. Wilt Chamberlain – 73 Points
San Francisco Warriors vs. New York Knicks 127 – 111 (November 16, 1962)
Wilt Chamberlain once again dropped 73 Points just a few months after he did it on January 13. Wilt put on a show at Madison Square Garden against the Knicks, drilling 15-19 free throws and making 19-43 of his field-goal attempts. Wilt carried his team to a 127-111 victory, and it is particularly shocking if Chamberlain appears again on this list (hint: he does).
3. Wilt Chamberlain – 78 Points
Philadelphia Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers 147-151 (December 8, 1961)
Wilt Chamberlain appears again on this list, this time dropping an unbelievable 78 Points in 1961. Chamberlain played 63 minutes in the triple-overtime game and made 31-62 of his field goals. Chamberlain was at his putrid free-throw best, shooting 16-31 from the stripe but he still ended up with 78 (which is hilarious). Chamberlain did everything in his power to carry his team, but somehow the Warriors still lost to the Lakers in 3OT.
2. Kobe Bryant – 81 Points
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors 122-104 (January 22, 2006)
Kobe Bryant’s 81 points in the modern NBA game shocked the world. Kobe was on a tear all season long for the Lakers, and the team desperately needed his offense. The team was very poor with the likes of Smush Parker and Kwame Brown in the starting lineup, so Bryant had to turn it up to full throttle every game. And that’s what he did against the Toronto Raptors in 2006. Bryant scored 81 points in a 122-104 victory, by making 28-46 field goals and 18-20 free throws. There will never be another Kobe Bryant.
1. Wilt Chamberlain – 100 Points
Philadelphia Warriors vs. New York Knicks 169-147 (March 2, 1962)
No surprise Wilt Chamberlain ends the list spectacularly. Wilt finished with 100 total points in a 169-147 win against the New York Knicks in 1962. Despite being one of the worst shooters in NBA history, Wilt drained 28 out of his 32 free-throws and shot 36-63 from the field. It is very likely that no player will ever come close to this record because, quite frankly, teams can’t score 169 points in the modern NBA even with relaxed defensive rules.