If I told you someone scored 50 points in an NBA game last night, you would probably guess 100 or so names—incorrectly—before finally giving up. And when I informed you it was Mo Williams, you would likely walk away shaking your head in utter disbelief.
Well, believe it.
Mo Williams scored 52 points on 19-of-33 shooting, including six threes, to lead the Timberwolves to a 110-101 victory at Indiana. (Yes, that’s ex-Bull C.J. Watson trying to guard him in the photo.)
Was Williams’ 50-plus outburst the unlikeliest the NBA has ever seen? No. But it’s up there.
Williams had been averaging 11 points for the 6-31 Wolves and his season-high was 25 points. He had two 40-point games previously in his career, but those came during his All-Star days with LeBron James and the Cavs in 2009.
What makes Williams’ feat so rare is that he accomplished in his 13th season what Julius Erving, Mark Aguirre, Dan Issel, World B. Free and Bob Lanier never did throughout their careers.
Still, Williams’ 52 points can’t top these other head-shaking performances:
–Despite never scoring 30 points in a seven-year career and averaging just under 10 points a game, Corey Brewer dropped a team-record 51 points for the Wolves last season. Brewer became the 59th player to reach 50 points once. By comparison, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain have done it 61 times combined.
–Terrence Ross had never scored more than 26 points in a game and was averaging 7.6 ppg when he put up 51 for the Raptors last season, his third year in the league.
–Tony Delk, a career bench player, was averaging eight points per game, when he scored 53 points for the Phoenix Suns in 2001. Amazingly, none of the points came on three-pointers. He missed the only one he took.
–Tracy Murray, with a career scoring average of nine points per game, had 50 points for Washington in 1998. Teammate Rod Strickland had a career-best 20 assists in the game.
–Willie Burton’s career-high was 28 points before he scored 50 for the 76ers in 1994-95. Of all the players to score 50, Burton has the fewest career-points—3,243.
One more thing to consider about Williams’ surprising performance: He now has as many 50-point games as the legendary Oscar Robertson.