WASHINGTON — Thomas Bryant‘s perfect night was something the NBA hadn’t seen in nearly a quarter-century.
Bryant’s 14 for 14 effort from the floor in Washington’s triple-overtime 149-146 win over Phoenix on Saturday night was the first such game in the NBA since Gary Payton had the same shooting numbers in Seattle’s win over Cleveland on Jan. 4, 1995.
“It’s amazing,” Bryant said. “I had no idea throughout the game and I had no idea after the game until people started telling me about it.”
They will be telling him about this one for a long time.
Bryant became the fifth player to have a 14-for-14 game or better, joining Payton, Bailey Howell, Billy McKinney and Wilt Chamberlain. Howell was 14 for 14 for the Baltimore Bullets – the Wizards’ franchise – against San Francisco on Jan. 3, 1965, and McKinney was 14 for 14 for Kansas City against Boston on Dec. 27, 1978.
Chamberlain had four such games – he was 15 for 15 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Jan. 20, 1967, an NBA-record 18 for 18 against Baltimore on Feb. 24, 1967 and 16 for 16 against Baltimore again on March 19, 1967, recording all of those for Philadelphia. He was 14 for 14 for the Lakers against Detroit on March 11, 1969.
Bryant scored 31 points on Saturday, more than he had posted in any other two NBA games of his career. He easily exceeded his previous career-highs for points (was 16), field goals (was five) and field goals attempted (was eight).
Bryant was 3 for 3 in the first quarter, 1 for 1 in the second quarter, 2 for 2 in the third quarter, didn’t take any shots in the fourth quarter, 4 for 4 in the first overtime, 3 for 3 in the second overtime and 1 for 1 in the third overtime.
The previous high for shots made without a miss in a game this season was 12, by Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis against New York on Oct. 31.
“I had no idea,” Bryant said. “I was just in the flow of the game. I just let the game come to me. Then as soon as I felt that I was in a rhythm, I just went out and took it.”
Bryant was also 3 for 3 from the foul line – adding to his perfect night. Of the others to go 14 for 14 from the field or better in a game, only Payton also didn’t miss from the foul line, as well.
“MVP, by far, by far,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who had a triple-double with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 15 assists, said when seeing Bryant’s stat line from the night`. “That’s my boy. He plays his tail off every minute.”
Going back to Washington’s game against Houston on Wednesday, Bryant is 19 for 20 from the field and has made his last 16 shot attempts.
The Wizards play at Indiana on Sunday.