Lou Williams isn’t the only unlikely player to join the 50-point club
Published 8:00 PM, January 11, 2018
Updated 8:00 PM, January 11, 2018
UNLIKELY HEROES. Terrence Ross became the first NBA player to score 50 points in a game while averaging fewer than 10 a night for his career. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP
Even in the NBA, the world’s top basketball league, 50-point games are hard enough to come by as it is. If your favorite stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant or Steph Curry nail such a game, extensive highlights and analyses from multiple media outlets are sure to follow.
But what about those that didn’t get as much fanfare, simply because the players are not household names? Five such names have been tracked for this list, and you’d be surprised to see that 4 of them came from the last 5 years.
Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers – 50 points, January 10, 2018
Career Averages: 12.8 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 42% shooting
The Los Angeles Clippers are defined by two recurring statements. First, “[insert star player name here] is injured.” Second, “The Los Angeles Clippers have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.”
Despite turning things around by leaps and bounds in the last decade, the “other” LA team just can’t get over the hump and start contending for championships. But at least, they still have Lou Williams.
Hot off the press, “Sweet Lou” just nailed a new career-high of 50 points on 16/27 shooting and 8/16 from three-point territory in a 125-106 upset over the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, January 10 (Thursday Manila time).
Although Williams had always been renowned as a volume scorer, he has also built a reputation for being wildly inconsistent in his performances, hence the 42% career shooting clip and the 5 team jumps he has made since leaving Philadelphia in 2012.
Regardless, the former Sixth Man of the Year has made quite a lot of noise this season with the Clippers, posting career-high averages of 22.9 points, 4.9 assists, 41% on threes and 91% on free-throws while also shooting a respectable 45% from the field. Unfortunately, in true Clippers fashion, they are still just 19-21 and 9th in the wild, wild Western Conference because Blake Griffin, Danilo Gallinari, Patrick Beverley, Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic are all out due to injuries.
Sweet Lou just can’t do everything by himself, but he’s trying.
Charles D. Smith, Los Angeles Clippers – 52 points, December 1, 1990
Career Averages: 14.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 9 seasons
Before we leave the sad history of the Clippers alone, a pop quiz first! Who scored the most points in a single game under the Clipper banner? No, it’s not Blake Griffin, not Chris Paul, not Elton Brand, not Corey Maggette and not even Lou Williams.
It’s Charles D. Smith.
Remember that time when Dennis Rodman woke up one day and thought, “Hey, I want to play basketball in North Korea?”
By some miracle, the Hall of Famer was able to drag more than 10 other former NBA players with him to be Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un’s entertainment, and Smith was one of them.
He even became their unofficial spokesperson, using basketball “as a bridge for cultural exchange” with the repressed and secluded nation.
Other than that, he had 3 solid seasons with the Clippers before joining the New York Knicks and getting blocked 4 times in one possession by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. Basketball-Reference made sure you wouldn’t forget, so they linked a video of Cody Zeller also getting blocked 4 times in Smith’s stats page, right under Player News. Subtle savagery, there.
Terrence Ross, Toronto Raptors – 51 points, January 25, 2014
Career Averages: 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists
Speaking of team records, DeMar DeRozan just scored 52 points last week to finally clinch the Toronto Raptors’ single-game franchise record. He beat Terrence Ross’ record along the way.
Yup, Terrence Ross. The 2013 Slam Dunk Champion tied Vince Carter’s record of 51 points on January 25, 2014 with a 16/29 shooting performance and 10/17 threes. It’s so unlikely that he became the first player in NBA history to nail a 50-point game while averaging less than 10 a game.
Even after being traded from Toronto to the Orlando Magic, Ross never really broke out, only averaging 12.4 points (already a career-high average) in 24 starting appearances.
The jury is still out on whether Ross really has the scoring touch he displayed that one night, but right now, he’s still nursing a sprained MCL and fracture on his right tibia and remains out indefinitely.
Corey Brewer, Minnesota Timberwolves – 51 points, April 11, 2014
Career Averages: 9.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals
From one role player to another, here’s another performance for the books that should have been impossible. It’s one thing for a freak athlete to do it, but for a defensive specialist?
To be fair, Corey Brewer still fulfilled his job description en route to tying then-teammate Kevin Love’s franchise record of 51 points. Aside from endlessly driving to the basket all game long seemingly by instinct, Brewer also snatched the rock 6 times, which definitely helped pumped those points up.
Try to watch this video and not get tired yourself from all the running you’ll see. Just try.
For that particular game, Brewer started the game along with Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng, Dante Cunningham and Robbie Hummel, who replaced the injured Kevin Love.
Someone had to score, right?
Mo Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves – 52 points, January 13, 2015
Career Averages: 13.2 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.9 assists
Brewer’s reign atop the Timberwolves leaderboards would turn out to be short-lived, as journeyman Mo Williams sneakily broke his record by a single point in his lone season in Minnesota. In a seemingly regular road game against the Indiana Pacers, the then-32 year-old veteran in his 12th season erupted for 52 points on 19/33 shooting, which included an array of crazy, off-balance shots.
Although Williams was a one-time All-Star in 2009 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was pretty much a role player since then, bouncing around the league on teams like the Clippers, Utah Jazz, Milwaukee Bucks and the Portland Trailblazers before finally returning to Cleveland where he ultimately got his first NBA Championship. Besides, his All-Star selection only happened because an injured Ray Allen failed to replace an injured Jameer Nelson, who in turn failed to replace an injured Chris Bosh. Yeah, that’s a lot of players to go through.
Williams was so proud of his individual achievement that he wore #52 in his second stint with the Cavaliers, which in itself is a beautiful set of coincidences, seeing that 52 was just his old number 25 backwards, which in turn happens to be retired and rendered unusable by the Cavs for shooting legend Mark Price.
So, in summary, Mo Williams now holds the Minnesota Timberwolves’ single-game scoring record, beating defensive specialist Corey Brewer. No wonder Kevin Garnett asked for a trade in 2008.