The Biggest Fluke Scoring Performances in NBA History (Update)

About six weeks ago I wrote about the biggest fluke scoring performances in NBA history. This past Friday night we had a new name to add to the mix: Corey Brewer, who’s stunning 51-point performance bested his previous career high by 22 points.

Please read the blog post linked above for complete details, but just to summarize a player’s “fluke” score is determined using the following formula:

(Pts – Avg)2 / Avg

where “Avg” is the player’s season scoring average.

Prior to Brewer’s explosion, here were the five biggest fluke 50-point games in the regular season:

Name Date PTS Avg Score
Terrence Ross 2014-01-25 51 11.0 146
Tony Delk 2001-01-02 53 12.3 135
Fred Brown 1974-03-23 58 16.5 105
Andre Miller 2010-01-30 52 14.0 103
Brandon Jennings 2009-11-14 55 15.5 101

Ross’ score has actually come down a bit since the original post, as his season scoring average has risen from 10.6 points per game to 11.0 points per game over that span.

So where does Brewer’s game fit in? Here’s the calculation:

(51 – 12.19)2 / 12.19 = 124

That would put Brewer in third place, behind Ross and Delk but well ahead of Brown:

Name Date PTS Avg Score
Terrence Ross 2014-01-25 51 11.0 146
Tony Delk 2001-01-02 53 12.3 135
Corey Brewer 2014-04-11 51 12.2 124
Fred Brown 1974-03-23 58 16.5 105
Andre Miller 2010-01-30 52 14.0 103

For reasons stated in the prior post, I would still put Delk at the top of my list of biggest fluke scoring performances in NBA history. But Brewer’s effort was a noteworthy one, good enough to make him a starter on the “He Scored 50 Points???” team.

8 thoughts on “The Biggest Fluke Scoring Performances in NBA History (Update)

  1. When someone would remark that someone had an “out of body” scoring night I always referred to Walt Wesley who once scored 53 in one game with Cleveland.

    1. Agreed. I mentioned Wesley in the original post, although it should be noted that he averaged 17.7 points per game that season.

  2. It would be interesting to see the same calculation done with rebounding totals. I’d be curious to see if Timofey Mozgov’s recent 29-board effort would make the top 5.

    1. After a quick b-r search, I’m also impressed to see that Anthony Tolliver had a game for Golden State in which he grabbed 21 rebounds in 28 minutes!

      1. Going back to 1985-86, here’s what I get for rebounds (minimum 20 rebounds):

        Rk Name Date REB AVG Score
        1. Aaron Gray 2008-04-16 22 2.75 134.5
        2. Mark McNamara 1987-12-02 22 3.74 89.2
        3. John Henson 2013-04-10 25 4.71 87.3
        4. Timofey Mozgov 2014-04-10 29 6.44 79.0
        5. Enes Kanter 2013-03-01 22 4.34 71.8
  3. I understand you are using a formula, but I would argue Fred Brown wasn’t big a fluke if you throw out the math. I believe he also had 45 in a playoff game. When he got it going he was a little like Steph Curry. He would just start dropping them from everywhere. His scoring average would have have been higher had he played his entire career with the 3pt line.

    1. The points analysis is interesting, and one should also look at the context of the game, usually a big star (i.e Love) was MIA for that game. A couple of players who had big games out of their norm, include Juan Dixon of the Wizards, who had one of the biggest playoff games for a non starter who averaged under 10ppg. It was over 30. During his last few years, Bernard King had a big season for the Wizards, but his average was higher.

      The rebounding situation is so much different, as some of these players play few minutes due to offensive limitations and rebounds are there for the “grabbing”, no one sets up a play or has a go-to rebounder….perhaps it would be useful to analyse these outlier games against these players reb/min

  4. Sleepy Floyd, man. Career scoring average: 12.4 PPG. Yet exploded in Game 4 of the 1987 Western Conference Semifinals against the Showtime Lakers, erupting for 39 points in the second half (NBA playoff record), 29 in the fourth quarter alone (NBA playoff record), to total 51 for the game and help the Warriors stave off a sweep. Not only do both records still stand, but Floyd is the only player out of the twenty-seven who have scored 50 in a playoff game who has absolutely no shot at the Hall of Fame.

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