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NBA: Most 50-point games in NBA history

There have already been three 50-point games in the NBA this season and Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid has the highest scoring game with 59.

Embiid came agonizingly close to an outrageous 50-point triple double as he managed 59 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists on 13th November in a 105-98 win over Utah Jazz as he registered the fifth best scoring performance in the Sixers’ history.

The same night, Cleveland Cavaliers’ third-year guard Darius Garland registered a career-high 51 points in a defeat to Minnesota Timberwolves, scoring with 10 of his 15 attempts from three-point range.

Golden State Warriors talisman Stephen Curry recorded the 11th 50-point game of his career three days later as the Dubs lost out at Phoenix Suns, with Curry finishing with 50 points, nine rebounds and six assists.

Curry is +700 to win the regular season MVP award, Embiid is +1000 and Garland is +20000 but the trio still have some way to go before they get anywhere near the record for most 50-point games in the history of the league.

1. Wilt Chamberlain - 118 50-point career games

Leading the way, by some distance, with what looks to be an uncatchable 118 50-point games in his career, is the legendary Wilt Chamberlain.

Chamberlain’s career spanned a 25-year spell, during which time he won two championships, was a four-time MVP and was the NBA’s scoring champion for seven consecutive seasons between 1960 and 1966.

The former Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers star is also the only player in NBA history to ever record a 100-point game in a 169-142 win for the Philadelphia Warriors (now Golden State) over New York Knicks in 1962 – an achievement that will potentially never be matched.

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2. Michael Jordan - 31 50-point career games

Michael Jordan is one of the few players who could rival Chamberlain in the greatest of all time debate and the former Chicago Bulls superstar is next on the 50-point games list with 31 over the course of his 14-year active playing career.

Jordan won six championships during his incredible playing career, winning every finals series he contested. The five-time MVP also won 10 scoring titles and arguably his most memorable 50-point game came in a Finals Series, as he hit 55 in a clash with Phoenix Suns in the 1992/93 season.

3. Kobe Bryant - 25 50-point career games

The late great Kobe Bryant is next on the all-time 50-point games list with an impressive 25. Like Jordan, Bryant managed one 50-point game in a Finals Series as he scored 52 in 2001 as his Los Angeles Lakers outfit overcame Philadelphia 76ers. Bryant also had a couple of 49-point games in the Finals and averaged 42.7 points-per-game in the Finals over the course of his career.

At the age of 37 and in his final season with the Lakers, Bryant had a 60-point game in a win over Utah Jazz - meaning he had the highest scoring game in the league that season. ‘Black Mamba’ is the only player to have ever really come close to matching Chamberlain’s 100-point game as he scored 81 points in a 122-104 win for the Lakers against Toronto Raptors in 2006.

4. James Harden - 23 50-point career games

James Harden has the most 50-point games of any active player in the NBA with 23 - and all of those came in a devastating four-year spell with Houston Rockets.

Harden recorded his first 50-point game in 2015 against Denver Nuggets and his last came in 2019 as he hit 54 against Orlando Magic. Now at Philadelphia 76ers, the guard managed four 60-point games during that period and was named the MVP in 2018, while he won three successive scoring titles between 2018 and 2020.

5. Elgin Baylor - 17 50-point career games

Before Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor set the NBA alight with his scoring prowess and he became the first NBA player to score more than 70 points in a game as he managed 71 in a win for Los Angeles Lakers over New York Knicks.

Baylor, who was with the Lakers when they moved from Minneapolis to LA, enjoyed his peak years from 1960 to 1965 when a serious knee injury proved to be a major setback, and he would perhaps be higher on this list had he not suffered that blow.

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