Reigning MVP Joel Embiid’s career-high 70-burger against San Antonio got tongue’s wagging this season, but his all-time performance was eclipsed by Luka Doncic (73) only days later.
It comes only a year after Damian Lillard and Donovan Mitchell wrote their name into the record books, with historic 70-point displays — and it’s not a feat that happens all that often.
But it seems right now that a torch has been lit; we’ve also witnessed Sun Devin Booker and Timberwolves big Karl Anthony-Towns get close this season.
The NBA’s superstars have been in some mood lately.
Embiid and Doncic became just the ninth and tenth players in league history to score 70 or more in a game; it was just under a year after Lillard had joined those ranks when he was still with Portland.
Embiid overtook NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain’s franchise record (68 points), becoming the first 76er to register 70+. While Doncic’s 73 is new highest total in Dallas’ record books.
The Philadelphia superstar led the Sixers to a victory over San Antonio, in what was Victor Wembanyama‘s first trip to the city of Brotherly Love — its affectionate name.
Embiid (knee), sadly, is on the sidelines, with his return still not clear. The 76ers are attempting to hang on in the East until their center is back on the court — hopefully in time for the Playoffs. While the Mavs, in the West, still have plenty of work to do to lock in a postseason berth.
But let’s go bigger picture. Now’s clearly a great time to dust off the history books and see where Embiid and Doncic’s point-scoring explosions land, as far as all-time consideration goes.
All of the 70-plus point games in NBA history
Let’s find out how Joel Embiid’s 70-pointer and Luka’s 73 stacks up against some of the best individual scoring performances of all time.
15. Joel Embiid, 2024 – 70 points
We have to start off with the most recent, and that’s Philadelphia 76ers superstar Joel Embiid’s 70-point piece chicken wing dinner against the struggling San Antonio Spurs.
Embiid played just over 36 and a half minutes in his side’s 133-123 win at home, where he put up 41 shot attempts, making 24, and went to the free throw line on 23 occasions, converting on 21.
Not only was it a career-high night for the Cameroonian, it was also a franchise-record, surpassing NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain’s 68 for the 76ers back in 1967.
14. Devin Booker, 2017 – 70 points
He’s now a superstar in the NBA, but back in 2017, Devin Booker’s 70-point performance put him on the map amongst the best up-and-coming players in the league at only 20 years of age.
Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, including four three-pointers, and 24-of-26 from the free throw line in his Phoenix Suns’ 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden.
At the time he was only the sixth player in NBA history to surpass 70-points, not even Michael Jordan or LeBron James have amassed the feat, but now three more players have enter the elite tier.
13. Wilt Chamberlain, 1963 – 70 points
Get used to seeing Wilt Chamberlain’s name on this list because he had an unparalleled appetite for the extreme scores, surpassing 70 on six different occasions.
His 70-point performance in 1963 against the Syracuse Nationals – now known as the Philadelphia 76ers – was his final time he reached the milestone.
Chamberlain shot 71% from the field (27-of-38), while only going to the stripe 22 times, converting on 16. This was of course pre the inclusion of a three-point line which makes all the more impressive.
12. Damian Lillard, 2023 – 71 points
In his last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard gave them kind of parting gift with not only a career-high 71-points, but also a franchise record.
It wasn’t the only record he broke in Trail Blazers history either that game, recording 13 three-pointers (one less than the all-time record set by Klay Thompson) in a 131-114 win over the Houston Rockets.
Overall he went 22-of-38 from the floor and made all 14 of his free throw attempts amongst the chants of “MVP” from the Portland faithful.
11. Donovan Mitchell, 2023 – 71 points
When Donovan Mitchell scored 71-points against the Chicago Bulls in a 145-134 overtime win, he was the first player since Kobe Bryant in 2006 to amass 71 or more points — only for Damian Lillard to join him a month later.
Rallying from 21-points down, Mitchell went into superstar mode hitting seven threes on an efficient 22-of-34 shooting from the field in 50-minutes.
Not only did he lead his Cavs team in points scored, but he also had a game-high 11 assists, along with only needing two more rebounds to record a monster triple-double.
10. David Robinson, 1994 – 71 points
David Robinson clearly wanted to win the scoring title in 1994, as on the final day of the regular season the Spurs legend dropped 71-points to edge out Shaquille O’Neal to be the year’s scoring champ.
Shooting 26-of-41 from the field, including a rare three-pointer, and 18-of-25 from the free throw line, Robinson lead the Spurs to a 112-97 win.
9. Elgin Baylor, 1960 – 71 points
Los Angeles Lakers legend Elgin Baylor was feeling it against the Knicks early in the 1960-61 season dropping what was at the time a franchise-high 71-points.
Off the back of his 58% shooting (28-48), and efficient night at the free throw line (15-of-19), Baylor lead the Lakers to a 123-108 win at Madison Square Garden.
8. Wilt Chamberlain, 1962 – 72 points
1962 was arguably Wilt Chamberlain’s greatest year of his Hall of Fame career, surpassing 70-points on four occasions, with his 72 against the Los Angeles Lakers his third of the calendar year.
Playing with the San Francisco Warriors at the time, Wilt played the entire 48-minutes going on 29-of-48 shooting from the field and 14-of-18 from the free throw line.
During this season (1962-63), Chamberlain averaged his second highest amount of points (44.8).
7. David Thompson, 1978 – 73 points
It’s not very often you’re going to see someone score over 70 points and their team loses, but in David Thompson’s case, that’s exactly the reality.
in a 139-137 loss to the Detroit Pistons, Denver Nuggets star Thompson poured in 73-points on 28-of-38 shooting and 17-of-20 from the free throw line — incredibly efficient.
Unfortunately he was the only player on his team to surpass 15-points, while Detroit had four players over 20.
4= / =4. Wilt Chamberlain, 1962 – 73 points (Twice)
If 1962 couldn’t get any better for Wilt Chamberlain, he managed to score 73-points twice in the same calendar year with two different franchises.
The first came on January 13 whilst playing for the Philadelphia Warriors against the Chicago Packers – now known as the Washington Wizards – in a season where he averaged a league-best 50.4 points per game.
Chamberlain played all 48-minutes in this match on 60% shooting from the field (29-48), but struggled at the free throw line converting 15 of his 25 attempts. Adding to this incredible scoring performance was his rebounding, collecting 36 in total.
The second time he scored 73-points he also played 48-minutes, but this time against the New York Knicks at their home court.
Wilt put up 43 shot attempts, making 29 of them, and only missed four free throws going 15-of-19 at the line.
=4. Luka Doncic, 2024 – 73 points
The Mavs guard has taken his game to yet another level this NBA season and this is undoubtedly the crowning moment, should he go on to claim a maiden MVP award.
There were nearly 300 points scored in Dallas’ win over the Hawks, 148-143, meaning Luka landed just over a quarter of the combined total.
What makes this performance even more spectacular was the fact that it was the first time in NBA history that someone scored over 70+ points on 75% shooting or better.
3. Wilt Chamberlain, 1961 – 78 points
Wilt Chamberlain’s 78-point game against the Los Angeles Lakers was his first post-70-point performance of his career, and was one his most spectacular.
In a triple-overtime loss 151-147, Wilt went bizzerk shooting 62 field goal attempts (the second most all-time) converting on 31 of them. It could have easily been an 80-plus point game however, but the big man went 16-of-31 from the free throw line (51.6% on par with his career averages).
With the game going for so long, Chamberlain was also bound to impact the rebounding stats, collecting 43 boards.
2. Kobe Bryant, 2006 – 81 points
In a career that spanned 20 seasons that included five NBA championship, an MVP and multiple highlight reels, this is still arguably Kobe’s defining performance.
Pouring in 81-points against the Toronto Raptors in a 122-104 victory, Kobe cemented himself with the greatest scoring performance of the modern era, dragging the Lakers back from a 14-point deficit at halftime.
Bryant completely took over in the second half scoring 55 of his 81 points, including 23 in the final nine minutes of the game.
He shot 28-of-46 from the field, 7-of-13 from three, and 18-of-20 from the free throw line, an incredibly efficient night out.
1. Wilt Chamberlain, 1962 – 100 points
Of course coming in at number one is the almost mythological 100-point game from Wilt Chamberlain in 1962 against the New York Knicks.
Every time he surpassed the 70-point mark he played the whole 48-minutes and it’s no different on this occasion in a 169-147 win in regulation.
He shot the most field goal attempts in NBA history with 63, making 36, and went 28-of-32 at the free throw line.
It’s an iconic game but with little to no footage on the game there will always be speculation as to whether it ever happened.