Vince Carter

Cleveland Cavaliers v Los Angeles Lakers

Kyrie Irving positioned to join Kobe Bryant as only active players to post season’s two highest-scoring games

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Kyrie Irving went wild last night, scoring 57 points in the Cavaliers’ win over the Spurs.

He also dropped 55 in a January win over the Trail Blazers.

That gives Irving the NBA’s two highest-scoring games of the season ahead of Klay Thompson’s 52, Mo Williams’ 52, Stephen Curry’s 51 and everyone else’s outings.

Of course, another player could pass Irving in the season’s final month. But if this holds, the Cavaliers point guard would join Kobe Bryant as the only active players to post a season’s two highest-scoring games.

Gathered through Basketball-Reference.com and this list of 50-point games, I found the top two scoring games for each season back to 1958 – and a little data before that.

Here are the highest scoring games of each season with the years one player held the top two spots outright in green and the years a player did it with a  tie in red:

  • 2015: Kyrie Irving (57), Kyrie Irving (55)
  • 2014: Carmelo Anthony (62), LeBron James (61)
  • 2013: Stephen Curry (54), Kevin Durant (52)
  • 2012: Deron Williams (57), Kevin Love (51), Kevin Durant (51)
  • 2011: LeBron James (51), Carmelo Anthony (50)
  • 2010: Brandon Jennings (55), Andre Miller (52)
  • 2009: Kobe Bryant (61), Tony Parker (55), Dwyane Wade (55), LeBron James (55)
  • 2008: Kobe Bryant (53), Kobe Bryant (52)
  • 2007: Kobe Bryant (65), Kobe Bryant (60), Gilbert Arenas (60)
  • 2006: Kobe Bryant (81), Kobe Bryant (62)
  • 2005: Allen Iverson (60), LeBron James (56)
  • 2004: Tracy McGrady (62), Tracy McGrady (51), Tracy McGrady (51)
  • 2003: Kobe Bryant (55), Allan Houston (53)
  • 2002: Allen Iverson (58), Kobe Bryant (56)
  • 2001: Jerry Stackhouse (57), Allen Iverson (54)
  • 2000: Shaquille O’Neal (61), Vince Carter (51)
  • 1999: Grant Hill (46), Allen Iverson (46), Antonio McDyess (46)
  • 1998: Karl Malone (56), Shaquille O’Neal (50), Tracy Murray (50)
  • 1997: Michael Jordan (51), Michael Jordan (50), Allen Iverson (50)
  • 1996: Michael Jordan (53), Hakeem Olajuwon (51)
  • 1995: Glen Rice (56), Michael Jordan (55)
  • 1994: David Robinson (71), Shaquille O’Neal (53)
  • 1993: Michael Jordan (64), Michael Jordan (57), Reggie Miller (57)
  • 1992: Dominique Wilkins (52), Michael Jordan (50)
  • 1991: Michael Adams (54), Charles Smith (52), Bernard King (52)
  • 1990: Michael Jordan (69), Karl Malone (61)
  • 1989: Michael Jordan (53), Michael Jordan (52), Michael Jordan (52), Michael Jordan (52)
  • 1988: Michael Jordan (59), Michael Jordan (52), Michael Jordan (52)
  • 1987: Michael Jordan (61), Michael Jordan (61)
  • 1986: Dominique Wilkins (57), Alex English (54)
  • 1985: Bernard King (60), Larry Bird (60)
  • 1984: Purvis Short (57), Kiki Vandeweghe (51)
  • 1983: Adrian Dantley (57), Kelly Tripucka (56)
  • 1982: Adrian Dantley (53), Moses Malone (53)
  • 1981: Adrian Dantley (55), Billy Knight (52)
  • 1980: George Gervin (55), George Gervin (53)
  • 1979: George Gervin (52), Truck Robinson (51)
  • 1978: David Thompson (73), George Gervin (63)
  • 1977: Pete Maravich (68), Pete Maravich (51), Pete Maravich (51), Phil Smith (51)
  • 1976: Bob McAdoo (52), Phil Smith (51)
  • 1975: Rick Barry (55), Gail Goodrich (53)
  • 1974: Rick Barry (64), Fred Brown (58)
  • 1973: Phil Chenier (53), Tiny Archibald (52), Tiny Archibald (52)
  • 1972: Chet Walker (56), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (55), Tiny Archibald (55)
  • 1971: Dave Bing (54), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (53), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (53)
  • 1970: Lou Hudson (57), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (51)
  • 1969: Wilt Chamberlain (66), Wilt Chamberlain (60)
  • 1968: Wilt Chamberlain (68), Earl Monroe (56)
  • 1967: Wilt Chamberlain (58), Rick Barry (57)
  • 1966: Wilt Chamberlain (65), Wilt Chamberlain (62)
  • 1965: Wilt Chamberlain (63), Wilt Chamberlain (62)
  • 1964: Wilt Chamberlain (59), Wilt Chamberlain (59), Wilt Chamberlain (59)
  • 1963: Wilt Chamberlain (73), Wilt Chamberlain (72)
  • 1962: Wilt Chamberlain (100), Wilt Chamberlain (78)
  • 1961: Elgin Baylor (71), Wilt Chamberlain (67)
  • 1960: Elgin Baylor (64), Jack Twyman (59)
  • 1959: Elgin Baylor (55), Elgin Baylor (52)
  • 1958: George Yardley (51), Bob Pettit (51)
  • 1957: unknown, unknown
  • 1956: unknown, unknown
  • 1955: unknown, unknown
  • 1954: Neil Johnston (50), unknown
  • 1953: unknown, unknown
  • 1952: George Mikan (61), unknown
  • 1951: unknown, unknown
  • 1950: George Mikan (51), unknown
  • 1949: Joe Fulks (63), George Mikan (53)
  • 1948: unknown, unknown
  • 1947: unknown, unknown

Russell Westbrook’s best triple-double yet extends streak to longest since Michael Jordan

Russell Westbrook, Isaiah Canaan
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Russell Westbrook has probably already missed too many games – 15 – to win MVP this season.

 

But darn it if he isn’t going to try, anyway.

The Thunder guard had 49 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a win over the 76ers tonight, his fourth straight triple-double.

Date Result PTS REB AST
2/24/2015 OKC 105, IND 92 20 11 10
2/26/2015 PHO 117, OKC 113 39 14 11
2/27/2015 POR 115, OKC 112 40 13 11
3/4/2015 OKC 123, PHI 118 49 16 10

49 points? Career high.

16 rebounds? Career high.

You have to wonder why Westbrook messed around and got just 10 assists.

Just two players have an output anywhere near this level in the last 30 years – Vince Carter with 46 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in 2007 and Hakeem Olajuwon with 46 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists in 1996.

Westbrook’s four-game triple-double streak is the longest since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. Seven!

Take a moment to appreciate how incredible Westbrook has been lately. Then, take another to appreciate how amazing Jordan was.

Kobe Bryant on why he has only one MVP: ‘Because the media votes on it’

Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Lakers
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Kevin Durant wants players, not the media, to vote on NBA awards.

He might have an ally in Kobe Bryant.

Why has Kobe won only one MVP award?

Kobe on The Grantland Basketball Hour:

Because the media votes on it.

It was never a mission of mine to win a lot of MVPs. It was to win a lot of championships.

With that being said, does it bother me? Yeah, it bothers me. Of course it bothers me.

Here’s a history of Kobe’s ranking in MVP voting:

  • 2013: Fifth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul
  • 2012: Fourth behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul
  • 2011: Fourth behind Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard and LeBron James
  • 2010: Third behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant
  • 2009: Second behind LeBron James
  • 2008: Won MVP
  • 2007: Third behind Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash
  • 2006: Fourth behind Steve Nash, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki
  • 2004: Fifth behind Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, Jermaine O’Neal and Peja Stojakovic
  • 2003: Third behind Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett
  • 2002: Fifth behind Tim Duncan, Jason Kidd, Shaquille O’Neal and Tracy McGrady
  • 2001: Ninth behind Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Chris Webber, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady, Karl Malone and Jason Kidd
  • 2001: 12th behind Shaquille O’Neal, Kevin Garnett, Alonzo Mourning, Karl Malone, Tim Duncan, Gary Payton, Allen Iverson, Grant Hill, Chris Webber, Vince Carter and Jason Kidd

If there were any year Kobe could claim he was robbed, it’s 2006, when he averaged 35.4 points per game. That was a crowded and fairly even MVP race, and Kobe had as strong a case as several players.

But the biggest reason Kobe won only one MVP: That’s, give or take, how many he deserved. Really, he might not have deserved any.

Just because Kobe was never the clear-cut best player in the league in a single season – and voted the best only once – does not detract from his greatness. His greatness comes from being a top-five(ish) player for a very long time. That’s different than rising to higher peaks and falling to lower valleys, but it’s no less worthy of admiration.

The MVP – an award that covers only one regular season at a time – has limited value in measuring all-time greatness. It doesn’t cover the playoffs or multiple seasons, two factors that work in Kobe’s favor.

Maybe players voting rather than the media would have gotten Kobe another MVP. He’s well-respected among his peers, especially the younger generation.

But, if anything, I’d say the media has overrated Kobe in MVP voting, particularly in more-recent seasons. So, the media isn’t necessarily to blame for Kobe’s lack of multiple MVPs.

The No. 1 factor: Kobe’s lack of a regular season clearly better than everyone else in the league that year. That’s OK, though. One MVP is more than Kobe needs to warrant status as an all-time great.

Stephen Curry explains his All-Star alley-oop to Dirk Nowitzki

Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving
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NEW YORK — All-Star weekend is about highlights more than anything else, and one in particular from Sunday night’s game between the East and the West stood out as being the most surprising.

Dirk Nowitzki went up high and converted an alley-oop slam, thanks to a lob pass that was right on target from Stephen Curry.

Nowitzki has dunked only one other time this entire season, so the fact that Curry would even consider him as a target seemed to make little sense. And Curry admitted he didn’t realize that Dirk was the one who would be on the receiving end of his pass until it was too late to change his mind

“We were actually joking Coach was going to write up an alley-oop play for him,” Curry said. “But he needed to get a couple of up‑and‑downs to get loose. When that play happened, when I threw it, I saw him at the last second. I didn’t know who it was. When I made my mind to throw it up, I looked to see who it was. I already committed to throwing it. I just hoped he could get up there, and he did.

“The celebration was even better than the dunk, pulling out the old Vince Carter celebration. So that was pretty clever. ”

Dirk Nowitzki celebrates Vince Carter style after All-Star Game dunk (video)

2015 NBA All-Star Game
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Dirk Nowitzki has dunked just once all season, so he was darned excited when Stephen Curry tossed that alley-oop.

The slam was fine. The Vince Carter (or, if you prefer, Usain Bolt) celebration was fantastic.