Friday, January 18, 2008

.... Like Shalamar in '81

Imagine being asked this question a month ago:

Who will score 40 points in an NBA game first? Kevin Durant or Linas Kleiza?

Linas Kleiza blew up last night for 41 points in the Nuggets 120-109 victory over the Utah Jazz. That's right, Linas Kleiza scored 40 points in an NBA game.... Linas. Kleiza.

In fact, Kleiza scored 40 in an NBA game before a number of big name current players like Ron Artest, Caron Butler, Brad Miller, Dikembe Mutombo, Tony Parker, Eddie Jones, Dwight Howard, and Chauncey Billups

His 41 is more than the career highs of Sam Cassell (40), Brian Scalabrine (29), and even Mark Madsen (15).

I think it's safe to say that Kleiza's 41 last night is one of the most random scoring outbursts of the past 20 years. I say 20 years because that's where the majority of my basketball knowledge lies. I really can't discuss the validity of Joe Fulks going off for 63 back in 1949, or Phil Chenier getting 53 against Portland back in 1972.
So here are some of the other random scoring binges of the past 20 years:

- Tony Delk getting 53 for Phoenix in 2001 against the Timberwolves.

Delk averaged 9.1 ppg over 10 NBA seasons with a season best of 12.3 ppg. Then on January 2nd, 2001 against what was one of his 8 former NBA teams the Sacramento Kings, Delk shot 20-27 from the field and 13-15 from the free throw line on his way to a grand total of 53 points... and perhaps the most random 50 point game in the history of the NBA.

- Willie Burton scoring 53 points for the Philadelphia 76ers against the Miami Heat in 1993.

Willie Burton. You all remember him right? Willie played 8 seasons in the NBA for five different teams with a career scoring average of 10.3 points per game. He did have a season best 15.3 ppg average in the 1994-95 season. He followed that up with 3 consecutive scoring years of 6.2ppg, 2.1 ppg, 1.3 ppg, then forced retirement. However, Willie didn't get his 53 in that fabled 94-95 season. No, he got his 53 in the 93-94 season when he averaged a monster 7 ppg. Which makes it all the more random.

- Tracy Murray scoring 50 for the Washington Bullets against 
Golden State in 1998.

Murray was one of those super streaky shooters
 that could get on a roll and light teams up. Granted, he only averaged 9 ppg for his career and only averaged in double figures in 4 of 12 NBA seasons, but he apparently could still light teams up since he scored 50 points in a game once.

- Luke Jackson scores 30 for Toronto vs. Philly ’07.

Up until the final game of last season, Luke Jackson had played 3 seasons in the NBA, logging 59 games played and about 3 ppg during his stint. Then, Jackson (playing for Toronto at the time) blew up for 30 points on 12-16 shooting in the team's last game of '07. Jackson then took his 30 point NBA game, tucked it in his pocket, and disappeared for several months. Then in mid-December, the Miami Heat waived Penny Hardaway and picked up Luke (I think he might have had 30 in a D-League game right before that). Luke has been going off since returning to the NBA to the tune of 3.7 ppg.

- Beno Udrih scoring 27 for Sacramento vs. Spurs early this year.

In 3 seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, Udrih averaged roughly 5 ppg, seeing his numbers steadily decrease each season. Then he was traded to the T-Wolves this past off-season whom immediately cut him. He was then signed by the Sacramento Kings and was forced into playing time Mike Bibby went down with an injury during the preseason. The thing that made this game stand out was the fact that it occurred in the first few weeks of the season when the Kings beat Udrih’s former team the Spurs. Udrih has actually had a pretty solid year playing for the injured Bibby. But unfortunately for Beno, Bibby played for the first time on Wednesday night and Beno went back to being Beno... scoring 3 points.

These are just a few that I remembered. I'm sure there are more. I remember Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf going off for 51 in a game back in the 93-94 season. But Mahmoud would do that sometimes..... and then he would bark, scream "FUCK SHIT COCKSUCKER!!!" and untie and retie his shoe-laces over and over.