The NBA's modern era is oft-criticized for being "soft" and having a lack of defense. This season alone, you have losing teams scoring over a hundred, while superstars are either putting up nightly triple doubles or having their way with the rim.
Blame it on the game's ever-increasing pace—which produces more possessions—and fast-evolving players. Now, it's not unusual to see power forwards launching from behind the arc, or guards crashing the boards (Seriously, though?) and taking it all the way.
At the end of the day, though, who doesn't enjoy a scoring binge? While it mirrors the flaws of today's game, a masterful offensive display is quite entertaining to watch. And recently, we had the chance to witness three bona fide All-Stars hitting the half-century mark.
Who did it better? FHM tries to rank these otherworldly performances in terms of numbers, difficulty, and gravity.
3) Jimmy Butler
52 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals, 1 block, 21-22 FT, 15-24 FG (W vs Charlotte Hornets, 118-111)
This game established the hierarchy on this Chicago Bulls team. Dwyane Wade may have been the hometown hero, but he's just serving The Butler, who is playing out of his mind this year. What does joining Michael Jordan as the only two Bulls players with multiple 50+ point games sound like?
52 points, 13-13 FT, 9-13 3P, 15-26 FG (W vs Miami Heat, 117-114)
It was a close one between Jimmy and Isaiah, but we have to give it to the smallest player on the court after he exploded for 29 points in the 4th quarter. He also tied Antoine Walker's franchise record for three-pointers. He even shared a candid story about the feat. "I looked in the stands, and my mom was like, 'Fifty! Fifty!' and I'm like, 'I'm trying!'" Thomas told ESPN.
1) James Harden
53 points, 17 assists, 16 rebounds, 9-10 FT, 9-16 3P, 14-26 FG (W vs New York Knicks, 129-122)
As much as we marvel the Russell Westbrook Triple-Double Extravaganza over at Oklahoma, his former backcourt mate is actually the one doing it better. Not only did his play translate to more wins so far (27-9), Harden also made history with this particular performance, as the sole player to record a triple double with 50 points, 15 assists, and 15 rebounds. No wonder he is the frontrunner for Most Valuable Player...