Everyone has heard the old phrase “records are made to be broken,” but there have been a few records in professional basketball that seem unbreakable. Analytics have become one of the most interesting aspects in today’s sports world. Experts and fans use numbers to make predictions and opinions on certain players and teams, and these stats can often times tell a story. The stories of how NBA records came to be are often times fascinating.
One of the most intriguing aspects of these record holders is who achieves these incredible feats, and the story of how these records came to be. Many records are held by some of the greatest players to ever step foot on the basketball court like Michael Jordan. There are also players who were not superstar basketball players but accomplished amazing achievements while in the NBA that cemented their legacy in the NBA record books. Some inconceivable records involve mind blowing individual performances on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. There are also professional basketball records that involve an entire team, and some of these records are good and some are bad.
15 Most Points in a Game: 100 Points by Wilt Chamberlain
One of the great accomplishments in sports is a moment that not many were able to see. On March 2nd, 1962, Wilt Chamberlain was already having one of the best years of his career before March 2nd. Chamberlain did not sought out to score 100 points in this contest, but after three quarters he had already reached the 69 point plateau. The Warriors were now determined to help Chamberlain reach the 100 point mark, and the Knicks were triple and quadruple teaming him to stunt him from reaching triple digits. With 46 seconds remaining in the game Chamberlain scored his 100th point and the fans were ecstatic.
The second most points in NBA history was scored by Kobe Bryant when he had 81 points, but Bryant had the three point shot to help him reach 81 points. During Chamberlain's day, the three point line did not exist yet making his 100 points that much more remarkable.
14 Most Assists in a Game: 30 Assists by Scott Skiles
The NBA today has become less of a team oriented game and more of an isolation driven game. Many starting point guards fail to average over 10 assists a game, and the point guard position has evolved into a position that is relied on more for scoring in years past. Scott Skiles was picked up in the expansion draft by the Orlando Magic in 1989, after previously playing for the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers. He had mostly been a backup in the NBA before the 1990-91 season, but the performance that he put on on December 30, 1990, almost guaranteed his starting job throughout the rest of his tenure with the Orlando Magic.
On that day Skiles dropped 30 assists against the Denver Nuggets. This had broken the previous record of 29 assists held by Kevin Porter, and his name has not been close to being etched out of the record books since he set the bar.
13 Most Blocks in a Game: 17 by Elmore Smith
The NBA has seen its fair share of great shot blockers in players such as Hakeem Olajuwon, but no one has blocked as many shots in a game as Elmore Smith. Smith at the time was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers were set to face off against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 28, 1973, in an early season match up that unexpectedly would put Smith in the record books. Smith was the stepping stone center between Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the Lakers. He had the capability to score and rebound in double figures consistently, and against the Blazers he would end up with a different style triple double.
The Trail Blazers starting center that night was 6’7 Lorenzo Neal which made Elmore Smith’s achievement an easier task to achieve. On October 26,,1973, Smith had blocked 14 shots in that game which was the previous NBA record before he broke it just two days later.
12 Most Games Played in a Season: 88 Games by Walt Bellamy
Walt Bellamy was a member of the New York Knicks during the 1968-69 NBA season before being traded to the Detroit Pistons midway through the season. The trade gave Bellamy the opportunity to set an odd record due to the offsetting schedules of the Knicks and Pistons at the time, and at the time Bellamy had participated in 35 games for the Knicks. Once he became a member of the Detroit Pistons he played in 53 games for the team. After the 1968-69 NBA season, Bellamy had pulled off the feat of playing in a combined 88 games, and this unusual record would be tough for anyone ever to surpass or equal. Bellamy was a great player during his career in the NBA. This strange record of games played in a season is not even his best accomplishment while in the NBA, and for his career he averaged 20 points and nearly 14 rebounds a game.
11 Fewest Combined Points in a Game: 119 Points by the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Hawks, February 27, 1955
The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Hawks back in 1955 did not think they would produce a record that would stand for 60 plus years in this match up, but the offensive performances from both teams made this record come to life. The shot clock had just been adopted into the NBA in an attempt to speed up the play of the game on the court. The idea was brilliant and worked in providing more scoring in the still very young NBA. The Celtics and Hawks however could not find much of an offensive rhythm when the two teams squared up, and at the end the Celtics prevailed in a rather embarrassing fashion. The final score of the games was 62-57, with the Celtics finishing on top, and the two teams only combining for 119 points.
10 Fewest Points in a Game: 49 Points by the Chicago Bulls, April 10, 1999
The Chicago Bulls had just endured the most successful decade of the franchises existence, with Michael Jordan bringing back to Chicago six NBA championships in an eight year span. The 1997-98 NBA season was the final championship that Jordan would win for Chicago before he retired from the Chicago Bulls. The 1998-99 NBA season saw a lot of negative change take place on the team, and the super star tandem of Jordan and Pippen ceased to exist in Chicago.
On April 10, 1999, after enduring a really rough year where success was nonexistent, the Bulls set the record for least amount of points scored in a game in the shot clock era by a single team. The 49 points scored occurred due in large part to the second worst shooting percentage in a game in NBA history of 23.4 percent.
9 Most Consecutive 40 Point Games by a Rookie: 5 by Allen Iverson, April 7, 1997- April 14, 1997
Rookies in today’s NBA are not as prepared to excel at the NBA level as first year players earlier in NBA history. This is because most rookies today only go to college for a year or two, and this causes them to essentially learn more while on the job than other rookies such as Michael Jordan and Larry Bird who were more ready when they made the leap to the NBA. Allen Iverson was the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, and he was joining a 76ers team that had no identity since the days of Dr. J. In a span of just one week, Iverson exceeded 40 points in five straight games. This was a rookie record for consecutive 40 point games, but all five of these games ended in losses for the Sixers due to the team’s terrible defense.
8 Most Minutes Per Game Throughout a Season: 48.53 Minutes by Wilt Chamberlain
The modern NBA coach does not push player to play outrageous minute totals that the likes of Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan pushed through during their time in the NBA. NBA players now a days rarely play above 40 minutes per game, and some teams even choose to rest particular players giving them a night off from time to time. Wilt Chamberlain was not the type of person to ever want to come out of a game. He led the league eight times in minutes played per game, and for his career he played over 45 minutes a game. In perhaps his best season as a pro during the 1961-62 NBA season Wilt set the record for minutes per game over a season. He averaged 48.53 minutes a game that year, and what is most impressive about this stat is that there are only 48 minutes in a regulation basketball game.
7 Highest Offensive Rebounds Per Game Average in a Season: 7.2 Offensive Rebounds by Moses Malone
The art of rebounding is beautiful in the game of basketball, and is highly dependent on a players want for the basketball. One of the greatest rebounders in NBA history was Moses Malone, and he seemed to always have double digit rebounding numbers at the end of a game. While he was a member of the Houston Rockets for the 1978-1979 season he set a record by averaging 7.2 offensive rebounds per game on the season. Offensive rebounds are much more difficult to attain than defensive rebounds, but Malone was relentless on the boards throughout the entirety of his time in the NBA. His high offensive rebound output allowed him to consistently average over 20 points a game for his career on put back slam dunks and layups.
6 Most Triple-Doubles in a Season: 41 Triple-Doubles by Oscar Robertson
The most triple doubles by one player during the 2015-16 NBA season was 18. Russell Westbrook was able to achieve this feat, but the impressive stat line pales in comparison to what Oscar Robertson was able to accomplish during the 1961-62 NBA season. Oscar Robertson was in his second year in the NBA with the Cincinnati Royals when he was able to average 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 11.4 assists per game. He is the only player in NBA history to average a triple double for the entire season statistically, and he had 41 total triple doubles on the year.
His ability to grab rebounds as a 6’5 point guard was a tool that not many guards possess. Assists were also not as generously given during his playing days as they are now, and it is scary to think how high his assist total would be if he were playing in today's NBA.
5 Most Rebounds in a Game: 55 by Wilt Chamberlain
There is no denying that Wilt Chamberlain was one of the best rebounders of all time. During his 14 seasons in the NBA, Chamberlain led the league in rebounding 11 times, and this was during an era with plenty of great rebounders of the basketball. Critics claim that his rebounding totals were so high because he never played against any great centers, but the performance that he put on November 24, 1960 against Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics should silence most of those critics. During that match up with the hated Boston Celtics, Chamberlain collected 55 rebounds. The record is over 55 years old now, and does not seem to be a feat that any other player in NBA history will ever be able to surpass.
4 Most Consecutive Games Played: 1,192 Games by A.C. Green
One of the most avoidable occurrences in sports is the injury bug, and almost every professional basketball player has missed a few games due to injury throughout their career. Injuries are not in frequent in basketball as they are football but an injury can still occur on any given night. A.C Green somehow dodged injuries throughout his entire career, and he failed to miss a game during his time in the NBA. His first game was on November 19, 1986 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and his final game was on April 18, 2001 as a member of the Miami Heat. The final tally for consecutive games played by Green is 1,192, and it is hard to imagine someone going 15 years without missing a single game.
3 Most Points in a Half: 107 by the Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns throughout their history in the NBA have always been known as an offensive powerhouse. The likes of Steve Nash and Charles Barkley have donned the Suns uniform, but their most impressive offensive accomplishment came before these two superstars' time with the team. In an early season against the Denver Nuggets in 1990, the Suns put up 107 first half points. The Nuggets could not stop the Suns from driving to the basket and scoring, and the Suns coach urged his team to avoid taking jump shots in order to keep attacking the basket. Many thought that perhaps the first 200 point game may occur in this game. The Suns cooled off a bit in the second half but still managed to score 173 total points.
2 The Double Triple Double: Wilt Chamberlain
Many people assume during Wilt Chamberlain’s outstanding career that his proudest moment came when he scored 100 points in a single basketball game, but many do not remember what he did on February 2nd, 1968 when he recorded a stat line that has never been seen in NBA history. Chamberlain only managed to score 25 points that game. During the 1967-68 NBA season he led the league in assists per game when he averaged nearly nine assists per game. Chamberlain may have scored only 25 points on February 2nd, but he also grabbed 22 rebounds and dished out 21 assists. This stat line was the first and only double triple double in NBA history, and it does not seem likely that anyone will ever be able to replicate these kind of numbers.
1 Most Consecutive Games with a Three-Pointer: 152 Straight Games, Stephen Curry
Before our very eyes in today’s NBA we the fans get to see one of the most phenomenal shooting displays ever performed in the NBA. Stephen Curry can easily nail a three pointer from anywhere inside half court, and even if he is off balanced he still finds a way to convert on his threes. During the 2015-16 NBA season Curry averaged nearly five three pointers a game. These incredible shooting numbers have led to his ongoing record of 152 straight games with a three pointer. This record is still presently being prolonged, and with the way the Warriors roster has been configured Curry should have no problem lengthening it. The addition of Kevin Durant will minimize double teams on himself and give him more space on the floor to make it rain come game time.