We don’t know who will do it, and we don’t know when it will happen. But we do know that soon someone will be scoring 50 points in an NBA game. And then it will happen again. And again and again and again.

The headlines are starting to look familiar. Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 55 on January 3. Klay Thompson scored 54 and Donovan Mitchell scored 71 on January 2. Luka Doncic scored 50 and 60 and 51. Pascal Siakam and Darius Garland each have 50-point games this season. Lauri Markkanen just missed Thursday with a 49-point game. Who’s next? Kevon Looney?

A phenomenon that was rare a decade ago is becoming more common now, and this season in particular, players are regularly going for 50 or more.

Ten years ago in 2012–13 only three players had 50-point games. Going back to the ’90s, ’80s and ’70s, the number of 50-point games per season was almost uniformly in the single digits.

But lately, 50-point games have started to pop up, with an average of around 20 over the last four seasons. So far this year, there have been 14, with a little less than half of the season completed.

So what is going on?

To begin with, the entire team is scoring more. average nba team scored 113.8 points per game this year, the most since 1970. Ten years ago the average was 98.1. The pace of games has also accelerated, with teams averaging nearly 100 every 48 minutes over the last five seasons, which had not been done since the 1980s. More possession, more shots, more points for all.

A lot of the offense is driven by a huge increase in 3-pointers. In the late 1990s, teams made an average of four to six 3s per game. Ten years ago, they made 7.2. In 2017-18, there were 10 total passes completed for the first time, and he is averaging 12.2 after 34.3 attempts this season.

In eight of the 14 50-point games this season, the player made at least six 3’s, with Thompson and Garland going 10-10. (Shout out to Antetokounmpo for scoring a 55 while shooting 0-for-3 from 3.)

Golden State coach Steve Kerr pointed to 3-point shooting and speed as key factors in his surge of 50-point performances this week. he accused the defense,

“The transition defense is at an all-time low in this league,” he said. “Every night at League Pass, you see five guys standing there, somebody shoots, somebody runs long, and everybody goes: ‘Oh, the guy’s doing it down there.’

“We do it, every team does it. I think the game has really loosened up and the players are so talented, it makes for huge scoring nights.”

This season’s 14 games were completed by 10 different players, and over the years the trend has wrapped up in players with much smaller profiles than Antetokounmpo or Doncic. Detroit’s Sadiq Bay had 51 points last March. Fred VanVleet of the Raptors did it in 2021, and TJ Warren had 53 points in a game for Indiana in 2020.

In the past, 50-point games were usually reserved for great players. Wilt Chamberlain had 118 of them (one of them, of course, reached the 100 mark). It is followed by Michael Jordan with 31 and Kobe Bryant with 25.

Although some less expected names are popping up for 50 these days, the big names are actually doing so less often than Chamberlain and Jordan and Bryant. Among active players, James Harden has 23, LeBron James has 14, and Damian Lillard has 12. Among players who scored 50 this season, Stephen Curry leads the way with 11 career 50-point games.

As you might expect, not so much with 50-point games, so are games in the 40-to-49-point range. Ten years ago there used to be only 33 such games. In recent seasons there have usually been around 100. But this season there are already 76.

Single player to score 40 points in an NBA game? Ho-hum

#NBA #Rapid #Increase #50Point #Games

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