Los Angeles Lakers

This Date in NBA History (Nov. 16, IST): Elgin Baylor becomes first-ever player to score over 70 points in a game

On Nov. 16, 1960 (IST), Los Angeles Lakers forward Elgin Baylor became the first player to do something that's only been done 11 times in NBA history.

In a 123-108 victory over the New York Knicks, Baylor erupted for a career-best 71 points as he shot 28-for-48 from the field and 15-for-19 from the charity stripe, adding 25 rebounds to boot. At the time, Baylor set an NBA scoring record as he became the first player in league history to score 70 or more points in a game.

Over the past 60 years, there have only been 10 other instances in which a player scored 70 or more points, six of which came from legendary centre Wilt Chamberlain, who still holds the record for most points in an NBA game with 100. The most recent instance of a player scoring 70 or more points occurred on Mar. 24, 2017, when 20-year-old Devin Booker scored 70 points in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Highest scoring games, NBA history
Player Date Team Opponent Points
Wilt Chamberlain Mar. 2, 1962 Philadelphia Warriors New York Knicks 100
Kobe Bryant Jan. 22, 2005 Los Angeles Lakers Toronto Raptors 81
WIlt Chamberlain Dec. 8, 1961 Philadelphia Warriors Los Angeles Lakers 78
Wilt Chamberlain Jan. 13, 1962 Philadelphia Warriors Chicago Packers 73
Wilt Chamberlain Nov. 16, 1962 San Francisco Warriors New York Knicks 73
David Thompson Apr. 8, 1978 Denver Nuggets Detroit Pistons 73
Wilt Chamberlain Nov. 3, 1962 San Francisco Warriors Los Angeles Lakers 72
Elgin Baylor Nov. 15, 1960 Los Angeles Lakers New York Knicks 71
David Robinson Apr. 24, 1994 San Antonio Spurs Los Angeles Clippers 71
Wilt Chamberlain Mar. 10, 1963 San Francisco Warriors Syracuse Nationals 70
Devin Booker Mar. 24, 2017 Phoenix Suns Boston Celtics 70

Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Baylor recorded 17 games of 50 or more points, including five in the 1960-61 season. In fact, Baylor finished with 52 points just 10 days later on Nov. 26 (IST) and, five days after that, scored 51 points.

Baylor finished Nov. 1960 averaging 38.5 points and 21.4 rebounds over 15 games. He would finish the 1960-61 season averaging 34.3 points and 19.8 rebounds over 70 games, good for second and fourth in the league, respectively.

While injuries caused his career to come to an early end, Baylor retired in the opening months of the 1971-72 season, having scored 23,149 points over 14 seasons.

Also on Nov. 16 (IST)…

  • In 1964, Chamberlain scored 62 points in a win over the Cincinnati Royals as a member of the Warriors
  • In 1995, Houston Rockets centre Hakeem Olajuwon became the third player in NBA history to surpass 3,000 career blocks. Olajuwon is the league's all-time blocks leader with 3,830.
  • In 1995, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf finished with 30 points, 20 assists and eight rebounds in a Denver Nuggets win over the Phoenix Suns. It is one of only 15 games in NBA history in which a player recorded 30 or more points and 20 or more assists.
  • In 2005, 19-year-old Dwight Howard became the youngest player in league history to score 20 points and grab 20 rebounds in a game, finishing with 21 points and 20 rebounds in an Orlando Magic win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

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