Stat sheet, a white pieces of paper used to evaluate a team’s or a player’s performance. Stat sheets can assist coaches, players, and fans in many different ways. Player’s strengths and weaknesses, where the team’s needs to improve or which players contribute the most on the court. Most players aspire to have a nice, full stat line (you might remember Ricky Davis’ triple-double), showing their contribution on offense (through scoring and facilitating) and on defense (through rebounding and defending).
The NBA season is very long, there are games players try their hardest to forget, and then there are historically tremendous performances. On some nights, individual box score lines stand out from the rest and allow us to see who is truly outstanding.
In this list, we will count down the best stat lines posted during the 2017-18 campaign, by some of the NBA’s biggest stars.
But before we start we should go through honorable mentions. So kudos to Giannis Antetokounmpo, who delivered 41 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and two blocks in just 33 minutes against the Nets, Lou Williams who scored 50 points against the Warriors, Damian Lillard who produced 50 points in just 29 minutes on the floor against the Kings, and to Russell Westbrook and Nikola Jokic, both stuffed their stat sheets quite a few times this season.
And now, here are the Top 10 stat lines of the 2017-18 regular season:
10 LeBron James – March 21, 2018, against the Raptors
Against all logic, LeBron James is getting better with age. Outside of leading his team to a big come-from-behind victory over the Raptors he turned heads once again. James ended with a stat line of 35 points, 17 assists, seven rebounds, and zero turnovers.
Only 15 times in NBA history has a player had more than 17 assists without turning the ball over, and James became the first non-guard to do so (side note, only two active players recorded such feat: Chris Paul did it twice during the 2016-17 season, and Rajon Rondo did it twice (once in 2010, once in 2014).
Additionally, he became the first player to record at least 35 points, 17 assists and zero turnovers since the NBA began tracking turnovers in 1977-78. James scored or assisted on 80 of Cleveland’s 132 points, including 27 of the Cavaliers’ final 34 points. Perhaps Oscar Robertson (5 times) or Tiny Archibald (4) may have done it in one of the nine games in which they recorded 35-plus points and 17-plus assists.
9 DeMar DeRozan – January 1, 2018, against the Bucks
What should be most memorable from DeMar Derozan’s 52-point game against the Bucks are his 3-pointers. Yes, even DeMar hits threes these days. He was 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, one shy of his career high. DeRozan set a franchise record for points and became the third player in Raptors history to score 50 or more points in a game. The others are Vince Carter (2000) and Terrence Ross (2014), who shared the previous franchise mark of 51.
His stat line also included eight assists, five rebounds, one steal and one block. He scored the first nine points of the game and had 21 in the opening quarter alone, just shy of the franchise-record 22 points Kyle Lowry set in 2015. DeRozan also became the first player in NBA history to post a 50-point game on New Year’s Day. This is very impressive, as New Year’s games are mostly bad, you know ‘flu-like symptoms’.
8 C.J. McCollum – January 31, 2018, against the Bulls
Scoring 50 in a game is quite the accomplishment, doing so in just three quarters … a remarkable and very rear feat. McCollum exploded for a career-best 50 points, shooting 18–25 from the field, making six threes and going a perfect 8–8 from the stripe. All of his points were scored in 29 minutes and 16 seconds, making him the second player in the NBA’s shot-clock era (since 1954–55) to score at least 50 points in a game in less than 30 minutes, joining Klay Thompson (he scored 60 points, in just 29:03 minutes of action – 2016).
McCollum became the seventh player in Blazers history to score 50 (also Clyde Drexler, Damian Lillard, Andre Miller, Geoff Petrie, Damon Stoudamire and Brandon Roy). Additionally, he set a franchise record with 28-point first-quarter points and finished the half with the second-most first-half points in team history – 32 (only Lillard had more when he scored 33 of his franchise-record 59 points in 2017.
7 Karl-Anthony Towns – March 28, 2018, against the Hawks
As the Timberwolves marched toward their first playoff appearance since 2004, Karl-Anthony Towns exploded for 56 points, passing the previous franchise single-game scoring record of 52 points held by Mo Williams (set in 2015). It was his first 50-point game and just the fourth in team history. Towns also added 15 rebounds for his league-leading 63rd double-double, four assists, and a block. KAT shot 19-of-32 from the field (including 6-of-8 from 3-point range) and 12-of-15 from the free throw line.
Moreover, he became the sixth player in NBA history to drop 56 points, 15 rebounds, and four assists in a game (regular season or playoffs), joining Anthony Davis, Michael Jordan, Kevin McHale, Rick Barry, and Wilt Chamberlain (who accomplished the feat four times). Towns also became the youngest player with 50 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Shaquille O’Neal in 1994 (O’Neal was 22 years, 45 days, Towns is 22 years, 133 days).
6 DeMarcus Cousins – January 22, 2018, against the Bulls
Few players in NBA history have ever had the night DeMarcus Cousins had against the Bulls. The All-Star big man delivered a stat line of historic proportions. Boogie played 52 minutes and finished with 44 points (13-of-29 shooting), 24 rebounds, 10 assists, and four steals. The triple-double placed Cousins on an extremely short list of NBA legends. Cousins’ 44/24/10 box score line was just the 10th such stat line in NBA history.
The last player to produce at least 40 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (in 1972), and the only other players in league history with that box score are Wilt Chamberlain (reached the feat six times) , Oscar Robertson, and Elgin Baylor — all of whom are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
5 Joel Embiid – November 15, 2017, against the Lakers
This was the game Sixers fans have been dreaming of. Joel Embiid was a game-changing force on both ends of the floor and put up an insane stat line of 46 points (a career-high), 15 rebounds, seven assists and seven blocks. And he did it in 34 minutes. Embiid became the first player with 45 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 blocks in a game since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74.
Even if you take out his rebounds it is still a rear feat, as the last player with 40+ points, 7+ assists and 7+ blocks in a game is Julius Erving, who did so in 1982. The Process also ended a streak of 870 consecutive games without a 40-point scorer. Sixers’ streak was the longest active streak in the league. Prior to Embiid’s performance, the previous 35 times someone scored at least 44 for the 76ers it was Iverson.
4 James Harden – November 5, 2017, against the Jazz
James Harden produced one of the most efficient performances in NBA history, scoring 56 points on 25 shots as the Rockets torched the Jazz 137-110. Yes, he did this against the Utah Jazz, the third-best defense in the league. When he wasn’t scoring he was distributing, recording 13 assists, accounting for 91 of Houston’s 137 points. He also added two rebounds and two steals. Harden got bucket after bucket after bucket. He didn’t miss a single shot in the first quarter and finished with 22 points.
The Beard finished 19 of 25 from the field after missing his last three attempts. Scoring 55 points and dishing out double-digit assists is hard to do, only three other players since the 1983-84 season have topped 55 points and 10 assists in a single game: Russell Westbrook (in 2017), Tony Parker (2008) and Michael Jordan (1992).
3 Anthony Davis – February 26, 2018, against the Suns
Anthony Davis was simply unstoppable and produced yet another jaw-dropping stat line against the Phoenix Suns. Davis scored a season-high 53 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, blocked five shots, and left many practically speechless. He demolished the Suns big men the entire second half. Not only did he score 28 points in the final 24 minutes, but in the fourth quarter he fouled out Dragan Bender, Marquese Chriss, and Alex Len.
Davis became the first player to record 50 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in a game since Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo had 52 points, 22 rebounds and seven blocks in 1974. It was also his 5th 40-point, 10-rebound game in February, the most over a calendar month in the past 35 seasons.
2 LeBron James – November 3, 2017, against the Wizards
The Cavaliers were on a four-game losing streak with losses to the Nets, Pelicans, Knicks, and Pacers. They really needed a win, and LeBron James made the victory happen (Cavs beat Washington 130-122). James had his highest scoring game in a Cavs uniform and finished with 57 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists, three steals and two blocks. James tied Cavs franchise scoring record (set by former teammate Kyrie Irving), became the seventh player in NBA history to score 29,000 points, the youngest in league history to reach that milestone (edging Kobe Bryant).
In the process, James passed Kevin Garnett and John Havlicek for 11th on the all-time field goals made list. In addition, he also passed Shawn Marion for 18th place on the NBA all-time steals list. As if all that were not enough, he also logged his 800th consecutive regular season game of double-digit scoring, ranking just second behind Michael Jordan (866).
1 James Harden – January 30, 2018, against the Magic
James Harden took over the game in a way that no player had ever done. The Rockets started the game without Chris Paul (sore groin), and Trevor Ariza (strained hamstring). They also lost Eric Gordon, who left early in the second quarter (lower back stiffness). They were forced to watch history from the sideline. Harden provided a classic performance and finished the night with a ridiculous stat line of 60 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists (and added a game-high four steals and one block).
The Beard became the first player in NBA history to record a 60-point triple-double. He also became the first Rocket to ever score 60 points, moving past Calvin Murphy’s 57 (he set the record in 1978) on the franchise’s all-time list. Harden also became the first NBA player to ever score 60 or more points and dish out 10 or more assists in the same game (Michael Jordan and Westbrook previously shared the record of 57 points). Moreover, his 11 assists led to 26 points, meaning he either scored or assisted on 86 points. The only other player besides Harden in the last 20 seasons to score or assist on 85 or more points in a single game was Kobe Bryant in 2006.
Statistics used courtesy of NBA/Stats, ESPN Stats & Info and Basketball-Reference.