NBA

NBA Opening Night: All-time single-game records in season openers

Opening Night is here!

On Dec. 23, the 2020-21 NBA season gets underway when the Brooklyn Nets host the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers host the LA Clippers.

There will be plenty of star power on Opening Night, from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry in the opener to LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in the nightcap.

Should any one of them - or someone else - go off, here are the Opening Night records they'll be looking to break.

Points: 56, by Wilt Chamberlain (1962)

Chamberlain holds or shares a number of scoring records.

Add this one to his large bag.

Coming off his spectacular 1961-62 season, where he averaged an NBA record 50.4 points per game for the entire season, he began the 1962-63 season with a 50-point game that made him only the second player (at that time) and the first since Elgin Baylor (1959) to score 50 or more in a season opener.

Rebounds: 36, by Bill Russell (twice)

Chamberlain might own the single-game rebounding record but the winningest-player in NBA history has got this rebounding category taken care of.

Russell has pulled down 36 not once but twice in season-openers - first in 1965, a second time in 1968 when he was a player-coach for the Boston Celtics.

Assists: 19, by John Stockton (1989)

Like Chamberlain dominates various all-time scoring records, Stockton holds a number of all-time assist records, and this one is no different.

Having said that, multiple players have come close to breaking this record. Tim Hardaway recorded 18 assists in the 1990-91 season opener, Jason Kidd had 18 in the 2010-11 season opener, James Harden began his 2016-17 campaign with 17 assists against the Los Angeles Lakers and a year later, Russell Westbrook finished with 16 dimes in the 2017-18 season opener.

Steals: 10, by Clyde Drexler (1996)

Clyde "The Glide" Drexler was among the best pickpocketers of his generation.

His record of 10 steals in a season opener was very nearly tied/broken when Michael Carter Williams recorded nine on his NBA debut.

Blocks: 12, by Nate Thurmond (1974)

In just the second season of the NBA officially recording blocks as a statistic, the late Nate Thurmond's 12 blocks against the Atlanta Hawks are the most ever in a season opener.

However, that's not all the 6-foot-11 Hall of Fame centre did in that game. He also finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds and 13 assists to become the first player in NBA history to record a quadruple-double.

This was his first game with the Chicago Bulls after spending the previous 11 seasons with the San Francisco/Golden State Warriors.

3-pointers: 7, by eight players

There are eight players who have knocked down seven 3-pointers in a season opener. Given the league's recent 3-point revolution, you might not be surprised to hear that six of those eight instances have been in the last three years.

In fact, four of those happened during the 2019-20 season opener: Danny Green vs. LA Clippers, P.J. Washington Jr. vs. Chicago Bulls, Kyrie Irving vs. Minnesota Timberwolves and Karl-Anthony Towns vs. Brooklyn Nets.

The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of the NBA or its clubs.

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