Luka Doncic has just etched his name in the history books, tying him and David Thompson for the fourth-highest-scoring game in NBA history with 73 points, but how long will the record stay there? Over the past several seasons in the NBA, there has been a scoring surge, with teams and players scoring more points. An increasing pool of talented players may be part of the growth of the new NBA, with players coming to the annual draft from colleges, overseas, and even newfound programs like the G-League Ignite team. Some NBA fans and media members blame the scoring outbursts on a lack of defensive effort and intensity; even NBA Hall of Famer Paul Pierce posted on X during the game, “I miss defense in the NBA.” Former NBA player JJ Redick has gone against most opinions, instead making a video discussing the offensive talent and how offenses in today’s NBA are more complex and thus harder to defend.
Luka Doncic’s Scoring Masterpiece
Luka had 73 points, ten rebounds, and seven assists against the Atlanta Hawks, the team that traded him on draft night for Trae Young and a 2019 first-round pick that the Hawks used to select Cam Reddish 10th overall out of Duke. The most impressive part was Luka becoming the first player to score 70 plus points while shooting 75% or better from the field. After this performance, Doncic is trailing greats like Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant for the most points scored in a game.
Scoring Surge Since Kobe’s 81 Point Performance
When Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in January 2006 against the Toronto Raptors, he added his name to a list of four other players to reach 70 points in a game. Kobe’s most iconic game was only the tenth-ever 70-point performance in NBA history at the time, which is impressive considering Wilt accomplished this feat six times between 1961 and 1963. Since Kobe’s 81-point game, the NBA has had five different players score 70 in a game. Booker is currently the youngest player in NBA history to score 70 points in a game, having done so in a 130-120 Suns loss to Boston in March of 2017. Since January of the 2023 season, the NBA has had four players score 70 or more points in a game, with Donovan Mitchell scoring 71 in an overtime thriller against the Bulls and Damian Lillard closing out his Trail Blazers career, scoring 71 points as well. So far in the 2023-2024 NBA season, last year’s MVP winner, Joel Embiid, had a 70-point game in a 133-124 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
Will Wilt Ever be Caught
Last year, during the 2022-2023 NBA season, the league had “15 different players combine for 25 50-point games this season, the most in a single regular season since the early 1960s,” as reported by ESPN. The 2023-2024 NBA season is off to a hot start as the league has seen several scoring spectacles so far, with a 8 different players combining for a total of 13 different games this year having at least one 50 point scorer in a game; even Devin Booker put up 62 points in the same night as Luka’s 73 point game. Whether you believe the players today are more skilled, such as Redick claims, or rather, that players and teams’ lack of defensive efforts have led to the 50, 60, and even 70-plus-point games, one thing is certain. There will be more high-scoring performances in the 2024 NBA season and the league’s future, and it’s possible Wilt won’t be the only one with a 100-point game.