Everyone seems to have caught the scoring bug.
There were 19 50-point games charted during the 2021-22 campaign, and that total is on pace to be shattered as we’ve already had 14 such outings before this season’s halfway point.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 55-point explosion on Tuesday vs. the Washington Wizards concluded a stretch of four 50+ point games in five days. Interestingly, international players are responsible for most of the high-scoring outputs this season.
Luka Doncic (34.3 ppg), Joel Embiid (33.5) and Antetokounmpo (32.8) make up the top three scoring leaders and all rank in the top five in the most 40 and 30-point games tallied this season.
It’s reasonable to assume that Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point outburst will remain the pinnacle of high-scoring performances all season, but at the rate these outbursts are occurring, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that one of the aforementioned players tops it.
*All stats through Thursday, Jan. 5
This Edition’s standout
Luka DoncicDallas Mavericks (Slovenia)
Stats over last 2 weeks: 41.4 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 8.9 apg
The 23-year-old superstar is no stranger to putting up gaudy numbers, but his recent stat lines have been flat out ridiculous – in a good way. Since our last edition, Doncic has tallied a league-best three 50+ point games, including a 60 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists masterpiece in a win over the New York Knicks. Doncic came back to Earth a bit in Thursday’s loss to the Boston Celtics, but the Mavs had won seven straight prior to that and Doncic had put up 30 points or more in six straight outings.
Giannis AntetokounmpoMilwaukee Bucks (Greece)
Stats over last 2 weeks: 37.7 ppg, 15.8 rpg, 6.5 apg
Milwaukee seems to be righting the ship. After a season-worst four-game losing streak, the Bucks have won three straight, largely due to Antetokounmpo’s recent tear. The “Greek Freak” is averaging 43.3 points and 18.3 rebounds over his last four showings, including back-to-back 40-point, 20-rebound games. The looming question for Milwaukee is when Khris Middleton can return to provide some much-needed support for Antetokounmpo. Offseason wrist surgery and a recent knee injury have caused Middleton to miss 31 of the Bucks’ 38 games so far.
Nikola JokicDenver Nuggets (Serbia)
Stats over last 2 weeks: 26.9 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 10.6 apg
Jokic didn’t have to do much in Denver’s 31-point rout of the LA Clippers on Thursday, as the reigning back-to-back Kia MVP attempted just eight shots in 24 minutes of action. But if anyone on the Nuggets deserves a night off, it’s “The Joker.” Since our last roundup, Jokic has posted three triple-doubles and a pair of 40-point games. If Jokic keeps performing at this rate, he’ll have a strong case for a third straight Kia MVP trophy come season’s end.
Joel EmbiidPhiladelphia 76ers (Cameroon)
Stats over last 2 weeks: 37.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 55.8 FG%
Embiid’s stellar play has seemingly gone under the radar thus far, but he has arguably been just as consistent as any of the players mentioned above. Embiid has charted the second-most 50 and 40-point games and the fourth-most 30-point games this season. The Philly star has a chance to comfortably eclipse his 2021-22 points per game average (30.6), and he likely will need to if he hopes to win back-to-back scoring titles.
A few more: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder; Lauri Markkanen, Utah Jazz; Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento Kings.
Benedict MathurinIndiana Pacers (Canada)
Stats over last 2 weeks: 16.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 43.2 FG%
Indiana has climbed to seventh in the East standings after winning four of its last five. A large portion of the Pacers’ success can be attributed to Mathurin, who continues to provide steady production off the bench. Through 39 games, Mathurin has scored in double figures in all but five of them.
Smooth in transition.
Giannis finishes off his CAREER-BEST 55-POINT night in textbook Giannis fashion. pic.twitter.com/FOPBC0Bg32
— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2023
LAURI MARKKANEN MY GOODNESS 😱
— NBA (@NBA) December 31, 2022
EVERY ANGLE of Luka’s RIDICULOUS game-tying putback bucket 🎬😱 pic.twitter.com/zVJAAKVw19
— NBA (@NBA) December 28, 2022