How Historic Was Klay Thompson's 52-Point Game?

Klay Thompson went off last night, scoring 52 points and hitting 11 threes. Where does it stack up to great performances in NBA history?

Some people think Klay Thompson is a bit overrated. Some think he's one of the best two-guards in the game. Some think he may be even better than that.

It's a bit hasty to put a lot of stock into one game, but when that game is a 52-point breakout, then things are a little different. And maybe it's time to reconsider Klay.

Thompson hit 11 three-pointers (on 15 attempts) and also pitched in 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, and 2 rebounds. Oh, and he set the NBA record for most points in a quarter with 37.

But how did his game overall compare to some of the biggest games the Association has ever seen?

The 11 Club

As in 11 three-pointers in a game. Only seven players in NBA history have hit that many in a game, and only Thompson and, of course, Stephen Curry topped 50 points (Curry scored 54 in his epic Madison Square Garden game). Also, while we're at it, Curry was the only one of the seven to hit 11 threes on the road.

But back to Klay. Only one player hit 11 threes on fewer attempts. Klay took 15. Curry did it on 13. Sure, Donyell Marshall and Kobe Bryant each hit 12, but perhaps the craziest part of all is that Thompson played only 33 minutes. (Curry played 48.)

Only two players hit the 11 mark in fewer minutes played: J.R. Smith in 2009 (30 minutes) and Marshall in 2005 (28 minutes).

But neither of those guys hit the immortalizing 50 -- though Smith came close at 45.

Was Klay's 50 in 33 the best ever?


But it does put him in some pretty impressive company. Here are the seven players ever to hit 50 without surpassing 33 minutes.

Kobe Bryant2005-12-20DAL3358.1%628030275.679
Karl Malone1990-01-27MIL3380.8%6118230289.693
Klay Thompson2015-01-23SAC3364.0%522542469.977.5
Tracy McGrady2003-02-21CHI3346.9%525331169.573.25
Kobe Bryant2003-02-12DEN3153.6%513220061.663.25
Nick Anderson1993-04-23NJN3368.0%503220159.662.25
Dominique Wilkins1986-04-19DET3367.9%505310656.559.75

Thompson isn't the only one to do it, but he did have the most assists, steals, and blocks of any of these players.

He also, for the sake of fun, had the third-best fantasy day (based on FanDuel and DraftKings scoring) of these big games.

Klay's game was a pretty complete one -- and efficient, too. His field goal percentage was nice despite firing 15 shots from deep, and despite four turnovers, his peripherals were solid.

He's got an NBA record and has just recorded one of the most memorable games in recent NBA history. We don't have to crown him as one of the best in the NBA just yet -- even though we probably should -- but at the very least put the man in the All-Star Game.