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10 Players With The Most Points Scored In A Single Game On Christmas Day

10 Players With The Most Points Scored In A Single Game On Christmas Day

Playing on Christmas in the NBA these days means that your team is considered a marquee team in the league. There is a reason that some teams play every year, while some teams have never played on Christmas at all. With that said, in today’s league, 10 teams for a total of five games are featured on Christmas Day.

When looking back, there have been some memorable moments on the court. While everyone is at home unwrapping presents and staying warm, these players are giving up their holiday to entertain us on the basketball court. Some players such as Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain have done it more than once, while some players like Bernard King have seen their record last for nearly four decades.

Will a player make the top-10 this holiday season? These are the top 10 most points scored in a single Christmas Day. 

10. Jerry West - 44 Points (1965 vs. Pistons)


The Los Angeles Lakers had a tough task by the Detroit Pistons on Christmas Day in 1965. The team entered the game with a 9-22 record in comparison to the Lakers’ 20-16 record. With that said, the Lakers needed 44 points from West to hold off the Pistons 115-106. West made 18 of 32 field goals, including eight of nine at the free-throw line.

West nearly made the day a Christmas special by recording a triple-double. Along with his 44 points, West recorded eight rebounds and nine assists. Eddie Miles made it a great back-and-forth as he recorded 35 points for the Pistons. As for the Lakers, Walt Hazzard added 19 points.

9. Kevin Durant - 44 Points (2010 vs. Nuggets)

A young Kevin Durant was coming off a season that saw him win a scoring title. Durant displayed his scoring mastery on Christmas Day against the Nuggets with 44 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks. Teammate Russell Westbrook chipped in 19 points, while James Harden added 21 points off the bench. The Thunder defeated the Nuggets 114-106.

The Nuggets stayed in the game with 30 points from Chauncey Billups and 19 points from Ty Lawson. Meanwhile, Durant was the only player that played 40 or more minutes and made 14 of his 20 shots. That included 12 of 15 at the free-throw line as the Thunder improved to 21-10 on the season.

8. Dominique Wilkins - 45 Points (1987 vs. 76ers)

The 76ers entered the game with a .500 record, but with Maurice Cheeks and Charles Barkley on the team, there was plenty of optimism for a great game. As for the Hawks, the team was looking to push to 10 games over .500. Doc Rivers finished with a double-double of 19 points and 11 assists with most of his assists coming to the strong big man inside as Wilkins pushed the Hawks to a 106-100 win over the 76ers.

Wilkins made 17 of 28 shots from the field with an even more impressive 11 of 12 shots at the free-throw line. Wilkins also pulled in nine rebounds. The 76ers led the Hawks 31-17 after the first quarter, but the Hawks used a 34-25 third quarter to make up for the early deficit.

7. Tom Heinsohn - 45 Points (1961 vs. Nationals)


The Syracuse Nationals entered the game with a 13-18 record, but gave the Boston Celtics, who entered 25-4), all they could handle. The Celtics narrowly beat the Nationals 127-122 on Christmas with a huge contribution coming from Heinsohn. Records show that Heinsohn made 19 of 32 shots, which included seven of nine at the free-throw line.

The Celtics made 52 shots and took 115, which means that Heinsohn made one-third of the team’s shots and took one-fifth of them. The Nationals had a balanced attack of six players scoring in double-digits, including four players scoring at least 18 points or more. In the end, it was Heinsohn’s nearly one-man show that proved victorious.

6. Wilt Chamberlain - 45 Points (1959 vs. Nationals)


The combination of Wilt Chamberlain and Paul Arizin gave Christmas viewers one of the best basketball tandems in NBA history Chamberlain led the way with 45 points in a 129-121 win over the Syracuse Nationals, while Arizin added 29 points of his own. The two combined for 26 of 44 shots from the field.

Chamberlain could have made more had he shot better at the free-throw line, where he made just 15 of 24 shots. That also included shooting 15 of 33 from the field to go with his 34 rebounds. Dick Barnett led Syracuse with 27 points, but nobody could keep up with Chamberlain’s overall game.

5. Tracy McGrady - 46 Points (2002 vs. Pistons)

Around this time, one might have expected Grant Hill to steal the show, but it was McGrady that finished with the fifth-best showing on Christmas Day in NBA history. McGrady was so stellar that the second-best scorer on the team was Mike Miller with 15 points. McGrady made 14 of 26 shots, as well as 18 of 21 shots at the free-throw line in a 104-99 win over the Pistons.

Richard Hamilton led the Pistons with 22 points, while Chauncey Billups added a double-double of 10 points and 13 assists. The Pistons shot eight-percent better than the Magic as a team, but McGrady shot better than nearly everyone on the floor to lead the team to a win.

4. Jerry West - 47 Points (1963 vs. Knicks)



The Knicks were 17 games under .500, but the New York franchise was still going to be a marquee team on Christmas. The Knicks saw players like Bill McGill, Art Heyman, and Bob Boozer step up, but the team came up short 134-126 to the Lakers. A lot of that had to do with the masterful scoring effort from West, who made 19 of 30 shots from the field, including 9 of 11 at the free-throw line, to score 47 points.

West is one of two players to make the top-10 in scoring on Christmas Day. West played with the better overall team as Elgin Baylor chipped in 27 points, while Rudy LaRusso added 10 points. In the end, West owns a reputation for being one of the best scorers in league history. It was no different on Christmas.

3. Rick Barry - 50 Points (1966 vs. Royals)


Only three players have ever scored 50 or more points on Christmas. The third-best effort came from Barry with the San Francisco Warriors against the Cincinnati Royals. The Royals were below .500 but had one of the best players on the floor as an individual in Oscar Robertson, who paced the team with 38 points. However, Barry’s 50 points led the Warriors to a 124-112 win over Cincy.

Barry made 19 of 35 shots, as well as 12 of 13 shots at the free-throw line. Nate Thurmond deserves an honorable mention for his 21 points and 27 rebounds. In the end, Barry might have taken one-third of the team’s shots by himself, but he proved that he could carry his team to a win.

2. Wilt Chamberlain - 59 Points (1961 vs. Knicks)

Wilt Chamberlain

This is potentially one of the best back-and-forth Christmas matchups of all time. For the Knicks, who entered the game with a 9-24 record, Richie Guerin scored 40 points and added 10 rebounds. Guerin was hitting on all cylinders, including making 15 of 28 shots from the field. Chamberlain set a record for Christmas Day points and it still wasn’t good enough.

Chamberlain scored 59 points on 23 of 44 shooting, including 13 of 22 shooting at the free-throw line, but the Knicks took down the Warriors 136-135. Willie Naulis scored 33 points for New York, while Johnny Green added 16 points and 24 rebounds. Chamberlain added 36 rebounds, but the lowly Knicks were able to celebrate Christmas with a smile.

1. Bernard King - 60 Points (1984 vs. Nets)

It’s been 37 years since King set the Christmas Day record for points. King narrowly beat out Chamberlain’s record, but like Chamberlain, his day was soured with a loss. The Nets used 37 points by Michael Ray Richardson to lead the team to a 120-114 win over the Knicks. The Knicks held a 64-54 edge at halftime, but the Nets stormed back to win.

King gave the Knicks everything he had, shooting 19 of 30 from the field, including 22 of 26 at the free-throw line. Rory Sparrow and Pat Cummings tied for the second-most points on the team with 13 points. The game plan was to get the ball to King, even though it ended as a loss in the end.


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