Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Donovan Mitchell shocked everyone with a NBA season-high 71 points in a game against the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 3. Damian Lillard then matched him nearly two months later with a 71-point performance of his own.
It was just the continuation of high-scoring outputs from some of the top stars in the NBA today. Earlier in the season, Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic dropped a 60-point triple-double. It’s the first time since Wilt Chamberlain that this has happened in the NBA.
With so many spectacular individual performances this season, we figured it made sense to track the list of top single-game scorers throughout the 2022-23 NBA season.
Most points in NBA game this season
There were only 19 50-point games during the 2021-22 NBA season. Thus far in 2022-23, there’s been a whopping 20 such games. We’re a bit over halfway through the season. Let’s check in on all the 50-point games in 2022-23 starting with the most points in an NBA game by one player.
Related: Single-game NBA scoring record for all 30 teams
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (71 points)
- Damian Lillard stats (Feb. 27, 2023): 71 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists
After scoring 60 earlier this season, Dame matched Donovan Mitchell for the most points scored during the 2022-23 campaign. The dude went nuclear in a win over the Houston Rockets, dropping 71 points on 22-of-38 shooting. He hit 13-of-22 from three-point range in becoming just the eighth player in league history to drop 70-plus points.
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers (71 points)
- Donovan Mitchell stats (Jan. 2, 2023): 71 points, 8 rebounds 11 assists
What makes Mitchell’s performance to open 2023 so amazing is the fact that he dished out 11 assists in leading Cleveland back from a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit against the Chicago Bulls. He also shot an effective 22-of-34 from the field while making 20-of-25 free throws.
Only the 12th 70-point NBA scoring game in history, Mitchell was aided somewhat by the officials. But that matters little with the new Cavaliers guard breaking LeBron James single-game record for points in franchise history.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (60 points)
- Luke Doncic stats (Dec. 27, 2022): 60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists
A couple days after Christmas, Doncic became the first player in NBA history to notch a 60-20-10 triple double and the first player since Wilt Chamberlain some half-century early to score 60 points and grab 20 rebounds. It was an absolutely epic performance from the MVP candidate.
The amazing thing here is that it almost didn’t happen. The New York Knicks were up by two points in the final seconds of regulation. Doncic missed a free throw on purpose with the hopes of putting it back. He did just that, sending the game to overtime en route to a 126-121 Mavericks win.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (60 points)
- Damian Lillard stats (Jan. 25, 2023): 60 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists
Dame has now dropped 60 points or more four times in his career with 14 50-point games mixed in. He was especially on one against the Utah Jazz in this January game. Lillard hit on 21-of-29 from the field, including 9-of-15 from three-point range. He also hit on 9-of-10 from the charity stripe. This was the continuation of a 13-game span in which Lillard averaged 38 points on 52% shooting.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (59 points)
- Joel Embiid stats (Nov. 13, 2022): 59 points, 11 rebounds, 8 assists, 7 blocks
Embiid boasted the most points in NBA game this season prior to the two mentioned above when he absolutely dominated the Utah Jazz back in November. The All-Star shot 19-of-28 from the field while hitting a resounding 20 free throws. He also blocked seven shots in the 105-98 victory.
This represented the fourth time Embiid has scored 50-plus points in a game and the second occasion he’s hit this plateau during the 2022-23 season. The center’s dominance can’t be ignored.
Related: Each NBA team’s highest-scoring playoff game
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (58 points)
Devin Booker stats (Dec. 17, 2022): 58 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists
Prior to Mitchell’s outing, Booker held the mark for the 11th highest-scoring game in NBA history. The dude dropped a resounding 70 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics back in 2017. His outing against the New Orleans Pelicans back in December was different in that Booker scored 58 points in a winning effort.
Said game saw the star guard shoot 21-of-35 from the field while hitting on 6-of-12 from three-point range. It represented his second 50-point outing within just a couple weeks (more on that below).
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers (55 points)
- Anthony Davis stats (Dec. 4, 2022): 55 points, 17 rebounds, 3 blocks
Despite his injury-plagued ways, AD was able to dominate throughout an entire game earlier in 2022-23. It came during a virtuoso performance in which he shot 22-of-30 from the field in a win over the Washington Wizards.
This represented Davis’ fifth career 50-point game. He scored a career-high 59 as a member of the New Orleans Pelicans in a win over the Detroit Pistons back in 2016. Said game saw AD also nab 20 rebounds while shooting 24-of-34 from the field.
Related: Top 2023 NBA MVP candidates
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (55 points)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo stats (Jan. 3, 2023): 55 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists
A two-time NBA MVP, Giannis was on an absolute role to conclude the 2022 calendar year and open 2023. This 55-point outing came amid a broader stretch of seven games in which Giannis averaged north of 40 points to go with 14 rebounds.
The Washington Wizards were on the receiving end of a dominating outing that saw Antetokounmpo shoot 20-of-33 from the field en route to leading Milwaukee from behind for the win. Despite his dominance, this represented only the fourth 50-point game of Giannis career. That’s surprising.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (54 points)
Giannis Antetokounmpo stats (Feb. 3, 2022): 54 points, 19 rebounds, 2 assists
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors (54 points)
- Klay Thompson stats (Jan. 2, 2023): 54 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
He’s back. After missing 2.5 years to injury, most thought Thompson wouldn’t be able to revert back to earlier-career form. Boy were those skeptics wrong. The Atlanta Hawks found that out first-hand as Klay hit big shot after big shot en route to leading Golden State to a double-overtime win.
Thompson shot 21-of-39 from the field, including a whopping 10-of-21 from distance. He scored 54 points despite only going to the charity stripe two times. Unsurprisingly, this wasn’t Klay’s career-best outing. Back in December of 2016, the four-time NBA champion scored 60 points in 29 minutes against the Indianapolis Pacers. He also holds another NBA scoring record (more on that below).
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers (53 points)
- Joel Embiid stats (Dec. 11, 2022): 53 points, 12 rebounds, 3 assists
Noticing a theme here? Throughout his first 28 appearances in 2022-23, Embiid averaged a resounding 33.5 points per game. During a 12-game span from Nov. 7 to Dec. 11, Embiid averaged a whopping 36.5 points to go with 10 rebounds.
That span was capped off by a 20-of-32 shooting performance in a win over the lowly Charlotte Hornets in which Embiid led Philadelphia to a second of what would be eight consecutive wins. Can you say MVP?
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (53 points)
- Luka Doncic stats (Jan. 30, 2022): 53 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals
Including this 53-point outing in late-January, Doncic has scored 40 points or more 11 times on the season. This specific performance against the Detroit Pistons saw him sink 17-of-24 from the field in an efficient overall effort.
Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors (52 points)
- Pascal Siakam stats (Dec. 21, 2022): 52 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists
LeBron James and Michael Jordan are the only opposing players to have multiple 50-point games inside the Mecca of the Basketball world, Madison Square Garden. Among those who have accomplished this feat, Siakam might be the most-random name.
It came a few days before Christmas and was a surprise to everyone on hand in the Big Apple. Siakam shot a resounding 17-of-25 from the field while hitting on 16-of-18 from the free-throw line. If had had put up one more rebound and three more assists, he would’ve become the first player in the history of MSG with a 50-point triple-double.
Related: Top 50 NBA players of 2023
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (51 points)
- Luka Doncic stats (Dec. 31, 2022): 51 points, 6 rebounds, 9 assists
How good was Luka to close out 2022 and open the 2023 calendar year? During a six-game span from Dec. 23 to Jan. 2, the stud guard averaged 44.5 points to go with 11.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists. Those are NBA2K numbers. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
This specific 50-point outing on New Year’s Eve helped lead Dallas to a one-point win over the in-state rival San Antonio Spurs. It was the second of three 50-point outings for Doncic within an eight-day span. There’s a reason why Doncic is the highest-scoring NBA player this season.
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns (51 points)
- Devin Booker stats (Nov. 30, 2022): 51 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists
As of Jan. 6, Booker had played in all of 29 games for Phoenix during the 2022-23 NBA season. Two of those games saw him go for north of 50 points.
In this specific outing against the Chicago Bulls shortly after Thanksgiving, Booker shot an astounding 20-of-25 from the field. He added six made threes on seven attempts as Phoenix came out on top by 19 points. The dude might have gone for 70 again if he had played in the fourth quarter.
Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers (51 points)
- Darius Garland stats (Nov. 13, 2022): 51 points, 2 rebounds, 6 assists
It’s either Siakam or Garland as the most-random name on the list of most points in NBA game this season. Less than two months before his new teammate dropped 71, Garland hit the 50-point plateau in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. He shot 16-of-31 from the field while hitting on 10 from beyond the arc.
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (51 points)
- Jayson Tatum stats (Jan. 16, 2023): 51 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists
All four of Tatum’s 50-point outings have come within the past calendar year. This might have been the most impressive outside of the 60 he dropped back in April of 2021 against the San Antonio Spurs. He connected on 15-of-23 from the field, including 7-of-12 from distance.
Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors (50 points)
- Stephen Curry stats (Nov. 16, 2022): 50 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists
This four-time NBA champion, two-time NBA MVP and all-time leader in three-pointers made continues to do his thing at the age of 34. The conference-rival Phoenix Suns found that out relatively early in the 2022-23 season when Curry dropped 50 points on 17-of-28 shooting despite Golden State losing the game.
Curry’s performance represented the 11th time in his career that he has dropped 50 or more points. His career-high came against the Portland Trail Blazers back in January of 2021 when the future Hall of Famer scored 62 in just 36 minutes of action.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks (50 points)
- Luka Doncic stats (Dec. 23, 2022): 50 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists
As noted above, Doncic dropped three 50-point games within the matter of eight days earlier in the 2022-23 campaign. The Houston Rockets had no real answer for him with the guard shooting 17-of-30 from the field. He also came within two rebounds of yet another 50-point triple-double.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks (50 points)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo stats (Jan. 29, 2023): 50 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists
Over the course of a month, this two-time NBA MVP dropped 50 points three different times. In 11 games during this span, Giannis averaged 33.1 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists. This particular game against the New Orleans Pelicans was awe-inspiring in that the Greek Freak hit on a resounding 20-of-26 from the field.
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (50 points)
- Damian Lillard stats (Jan. 12, 2023): 50 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists
As noted above, Dame has found himself on a role recently. That included yet another 50-point outing January 12 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. It’s a game that saw Lillard hit on 16-of-28 from the field despite Portland losing to Donovan Mitchell and Co.
Most points NBA game this season
Highest-scoring NBA player in a game
- Wilt Chamberlain: By now, we already know the stories of Wilt dropping 100 points for his Philadelphia 76ers in a game against the New York Knicks back in 1962. He made 36-of-63 shots from the field and 28-of-32 from the line while grabbing 25 rebounds.
- Kobe Bryant: This late-great Lakers legend holds the record for the second-most NBA points scored in the modern era. Kobe dropped a resounding 81 points in a win over the Toronto Raptors. That game saw him connect on 28-of-46 from the field while hitting eight three-pointers.
- Wilt Chamberlain: In what can’t be considered a surprise to Association historians, Wilt boasts the record for the next three highest-scoring NBA games in history. All three came within a calendar year with Chamberlain dropping 78 points in a win over the Lakers in Dec. of 1961. He followed that up by scoring 73 points in games against the Chicago Packers and Knicks.
Other NBA scoring records
There are certainly other records we should focus on. Here’s some other NBA scoring records, focusing on the random and some you might already know about.
Most points NBA career
Former Los Angeles Lakers star and Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar boasted the NBA record for most points by a single player in his career with 38,387. Kareem’s magic came during a career that spanned 20 years and three different decades.
Current Lakers star LeBron James broke that mark during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder back on Feb. 7.
Most points NBA season
Wilt Chamberlain. Need we say more? The all-time great scored a resounding 4,029 points during the aforementioned 1961-62 campaign. That season saw Chamberlain average 50.4 points to go with 25.7 rebounds for a Warriors team that surprisingly didn’t even win the NBA championship.
In what can’t be considered a surprise, Chamberlain also boasts the record for the second-most points in an NBA season with 3,586 the following year. In the modern era, Michael Jordan has that record. The six-time champion averaged 35.0 points per game in 1986-97, winning the first of what would be 10 NBA scoring titles.
Most points NBA quarter
What Klay Thompson did for the Golden State Warriors back in January of 2025 is still one of the most-surreal things we’ve seen in modern Association history. The four-time champion scored 37 points in the third quarter as Golden State disposed of the Sacramento Kings. Thirty-seven points.
Thompson made all 13 of his field goal attempts in the quarter, including an absolutely ridiculous nine from three-point range. This is the game that the basketball world realized Thompson was among the greatest shooters in NBA history. It was just absurd to watch.
Most points NBA Playoff game
Michal Jordan boasts the record for most NBA points scored in a playoff game. It also defined the changing of the guard around the Association to an extent with said performance coming against the Boston Celtics.
In Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Playoff series back in 1986, His Airness scored a resounding 63 points. He shot 22-of-41 from the field and hit that mark without attempting a single three-pointer. Within a few years, Jordan would be the face of the modern NBA.
Most points NBA debut
What was Wilt Chamberlain drinking during his career? We really want to know that. As a rookie back in 1959, the all-time great center scored 43 points in his NBA debut while adding 28 rebounds. That’s just insane.