Our Daily Top 5 showcases the biggest individual points hauls in NBA history – and unsurprisingly, Wilt Chamberlain features heavily. The best efforts of legendary players such as David Robinson (71), Elgin Baylor (71), Michael Jordan (69) and Pete Maravich (68) weren’t enough to force their way into the top five, with Chamberlain incredibly notching 15 of the top 22 entries for most points in a single NBA game.
4. David Thompson (Denver Nuggets) – 73 points v Detroit Pistons, 1978
‘Skywalker’ became just the third player to top 70 points after Chamberlain and Baylor, setting an NBA with 13-for-14 from the field in the first quarter. Incredibly, he was edged for the year’s scoring title in this season-ending game when San Antonio’s George Gervin scored 63 points on the same night.
4. Wilt Chamberlain (San Francisco Warriors) – 73 points v New York Knicks, 1962
A change of scenery failed to stop Chamberlain’s rampant scoring, averaging 44.8 points per game (second all-time) in his first season after the Warriors relocated to San Francisco. This game featured a run of 14 straight free-throws made at one point.
4. Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors) – 73 points v Chicago Packers, 1962
Chamberlain’s amazing ’61-62 season featured 45 games in which he scored 50 points or more. This haul was a record for a regulation game until his iconic century of points less than two months later.
3. Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors) – 78 points v Los Angeles Lakers, 1961
A record for points in a single NBA game that stood for almost three months before he crushed it himself, Chamberlain was aided by the match going into triple overtime and still stands as a record for most points in a losing effort.
2. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) – 81 points v Toronto Raptors, 2006
The modern master became only the second player ever to top 80 points. Bryant scored 19 consecutive Laker points at one stage, and out-scored the Raptors 55-41 in the second half. He scored 66 per cent of his team’s points and 36 per cent of the game’s points – both NBA records.
1. Wilt Chamberlain (Philadelphia Warriors) – 100 points v New York Knicks, 1962
Chamberlain’s magical 100-point performance will almost certainly never be replicated. He scored 59 of his points in the second half in the match at Hershey, Pennsylvania, which was his fourth straight game posting 60-plus points. Chamberlain’s achievement did little to quell his reputation as a selfish player in the eyes of some pundits, but it helped him average 50.4 points per game in the ’61-62 season – another unparalleled mark.