It's one thing to be a good scorer and it's a whole different thing to be a dominant scorer when it matters the most. When most players get scared or pass the ball, some step up.
Clutch scorers make sure the job is done. Either sealing a comeback or protecting a lead, they're those who rise to the occasion and become even better when the rest of the players on the court are just exhausted.
Today, we're going to honor some of the masters of the clutch, letting you know about the top 10 players with the most 4th quarter points in a season since 1997.
10. Gilbert Arenas (2006) - 587 PTS
Not many people talk about Gilbert Arenas anymore and when they do, they mostly talk about his gun incident. But let's not forget that he was one of the deadliest scorers in the league in his prime.
Arenas was a master in the clutch. He made a habit of knocking down huge pull-up three-pointers from way downtown, and he was as crafty as they come when it came to penetrating.
9. Kobe Bryant (2013) - 589 PTS
Kobe Bryant earned a reputation for not passing the ball in key times. He even admitted that he didn't trust most of his teammates because of their - lack of - work ethic.
But hey, if you score at the same clip as Kobe Bryant did - especially in the clutch - then no one will complain about you taking most of the shots in the fourth quarter. On the contrary, we want you to.
8. James Harden (2019) - 590 PTS
James Harden earned a lot of detractors over the past couple of years. People say that he was boring to watch because of the way he fools the referees and tricks them into calling fouls.
Well, if that were easy, then everybody in the league would do it. Harden is a master of his craft and managed to score at will when his team needed him the most, even if that meant going to the line 10+ times per game.
7. Kobe Bryant (2007) - 590 PTS
If you're surprised about seeing Kobe Bryant crack this list again, then you may have not been paying attention. When the game was on the line, there's no way that Kobe would hesitate to take a big shot.
That's just one of the many things that made Kobe Bean Bryant such a legend in the league. He knocked down countless clutch shots with two or three defenders right on his face.
6. Lou Williams (2018) - 597 PTS
Lou Williams has something not any other player on this list has. He's the only one who made this list despite coming off the bench. You know what they say: It's not who starts but who closes out games.
And Lou Williams was the Los Angeles Clippers' closer over and over. He may not be your average pass-first guard nor a good defender but he could get buckets at will. He's a master at drawing contact and getting 4-point plays.
5. Paul Pierce (2001) - 597 PTS
They didn't call Paul Pierce 'The Truth' for nothing. While never the most athletic or best player in the league, he was known for being a deadly scorer when the game was on the line.
Pierce was an efficient shooter from all three levels but once the fourth quarter came, his three-pointers were just like free throws. Back in the day, there was no stopping him in clutch time.
4. LeBron James (2008) - 645 PTS
No list of great basketball accomplishments would be complete without LeBron James. James has been used to doing it all for his teams since he entered the league, including clutch scoring.
There's a false narrative that states that LeBron James isn't clutch. Every single possible stat and video denies that narrative. He only trails Michael Jordan for the most game-winners in NBA history.
3. Russell Westbrook (2017) - 681 PTS
Just like it happened with Kobe Bryant, Russell Westbrook wasn't going to give up on the chance to be 'the man'. In fact, that overconfidence has backfired throughout his career more often than not.
But there was a stretch during the 2016-17 season that Westbrook was a wreaking ball every time the fourth quarter hit. He was a bulldozer attacking the rim and getting whatever he wanted night in and night out.
2. Isaiah Thomas (2017) - 684 PTS
Isaiah Thomas looked poised to become one of the biggest stars in the league before suffering a back injury that derailed his career. He was the leader in fourth-quarter points in 2017 and scored the second-most all-time in a single season.
Thomas constantly got off to a slow start and only got better as the game went by, up to the point where he completely took over in the fourth quarter. Hopefully, he'll get another shot in the league.
1. Kobe Bryant (2006) - 715 PTS
Unsurprisingly, Kobe Bryant headlines this list. He scored the most fourth-quarter points in a season in NBA history and established himself as one of the most dominant players of all time.
Kobe's toughness went beyond his game. He was mentally made for the big moment. He wanted the pressure, the spotlight, the double-team. Everybody knew that he was going to shoot but no one could do anything to stop him.