NBA Power Rankings: The Top 15 Individual Performances of 2010-11
In just under a month, the 2010-11 NBA season has seen a number of outstanding individual performances. Therefore, it's now time to begin to formulate some power rankings.
The following 15 players have had nights where they experienced lights-out shooting, immaculate court vision, an unrivaled tenacity on the boards and pure-and-simple—all-around game.
For this article, they have been organized in order of how impressive their respective performances were, with higher recognition given to those in close or important games, or those with historical significance.
Furthermore, players who put on outstanding performances in losing efforts have been excluded from this list, since their performances weren't enough to carry their teams to the ultimate goal of a basketball game—a win
So, sorry to LeBron James and his triple-double in a loss to the Utah Jazz, as well as to Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony and their 20-point, 20-rebound losses.
But moving on, the No. 15 individual performance of 2010-11 is...
No. 15: Luol Deng, 40-Point Game
On November 1, the 1-1 Chicago Bulls played host to the 3-0 Portland Trail Blazers.
Missing their star free agent signee Carlos Boozer, it looked like the Bulls might lack the offensive firepower needed to hand the Blazers their first loss.
However, Deng stepped up in a big way, storming out of the gates with a 16-point first quarter.
Ultimately, he sunk 14 of 19 field goals (73.7 percent) and nine of 11 free throws (81.8 percent), on his way to an extremely efficient 40-point outing (the fourth-highest point total so far in 2010-11).
Furthermore, the Sudanese-born player didn't commit a single turnover in over 40 minutes of play, leading his team to an easy 110-98 victory.
No. 14: Chris Paul, 19-Assist Win Over the Miami Heat
Heading into the 2010-11 season, few people besides Chris Paul thought the New Orleans Hornets were primed for a promising year.
Conversely, there was talk about the Miami Heat possibly breaking the all-time wins record.
So when the two teams faced off on November 5th, the 4-1 Heat were still favored to knock off the 4-0 Hornets.
However, Chris Paul had other plans.
The Wake Forest product only put up 13 points, but he was repeatedly setting up his teammates, en route to a 19-assist, three turnover performance.
Additionally, he racked up five steals and was instrumental to his team's impressive 49.4 percent shooting from the field.
And in the end, all of Paul's heroics paid off in the form of a 96-93 win, extending New Orleans' NBA-best undefeated streak (which recently ended at eight).
No. 13: Zach Randolph, 20-20 Game
Hosting the 3-3 Phoenix Suns on November 8, the 3-4 Memphis Grizzlies were looking to make a statement against a perennial contender in the Western Conference.
And behind Zach Randolph's strong play, Memphis they did exactly that.
After missing four of the first five games of the season with a back injury, Z-Bo made his presence felt in his fourth game of 2010-11.
He already had a double-double by halftime, and entering the fourth quarter, the Grizz were nursing a 13-point lead.
In the end, Randolph finished with 23 points (56.3 percent shooting), 20 rebounds (eight offensive), two assists and three steals, and Memphis emerged with a 109-99 victory.
No. 12: Michael Beasley, 42-Point Game
Opening the season 1-7, the Minnesota Timberwolves were desperately seeking a win as they arrived in Sacramento on November 7th to face off against the Kings.
And with point guards Jonny Flynn and Luke Ridnour sitting out with injuries, their prospects didn't look to bright.
However, Micheal Beasley was determined to turn things around for the T-Wolves, so he took control of the game with 18 first quarter points.
He finished with 42 points, nine rebounds, two assists and a steal, on 54.8 percent shooting from the field.
More importantly, however, Beasley propelled his team to a 98-89 victory, ending their six-game losing streak.
No. 11:Brandon Jennings, Triple-Double
In a battle between the win-less, the 0-2 Milwaukee Bucks hosted the 0-2 Charlotte Bobcats on October 30.
But ultimately, it was Brandon Jennings first career triple-double which pushed the Bucks to get the 98-88 W.
The sophomore point guard put up a stat line of 20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, all on 75 percent shooting from the field and with only three turnovers.
Moreover, his contribution to the win helped to turn around Milwaukee's young season, as the team is currently sitting at sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
No. 10: Jason Kidd, 18 Assists-1 Turnover
On October 27, the Dallas Mavericks hosted the Charlotte Bobcats for both teams' 2010-11 opener.
And while the Mavericks were the heavy favorite entering the competition, the game was competitive throughout the first half.
Nevertheless, Dallas looked to run away with the game during the third, and although Charlotte fought back to within six, the Mavs held on for a 101-86 win.
However, Dallas owed the victory heavily to the play of veteran point guard Jason Kidd, who had a game-high plus-30 rating.
Moreover, he managed to dish out 18 assists, while committing only one turnover.
Kidd also put up 12 points (62.5 FG percentage), two rebounds, three steals and a block.
No. 9: Pau Gasol, Triple-Double
On November 7th, the 6-0 Los Angeles Lakers hosted the 5-2 Portland Trail Blazers in what looked to be a battle between Western Conference powers.
However, due largely to the strong play of Pau Gasol, the Lakers made short work of the Blazers, going up 22 at the half, and eventually stretching their undefeated streak to 7-0 with a 121-96 victory.
Gasol, playing an increased role this season because of Andrew Bynum's injury, completed the triple-double during third quarter, an extremely rare feat.
In the end, the 30-year-old Spaniard finished with totals of 20 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals, with no turnovers and a field goal percentage of 69.2.
No. 8: Monta Ellis, 46-Point Game
On October 27, the Golden State Warriors' Monta Ellis made the most of his opening night, putting on a scoring clinic against the 0-1 Houston Rockets.
In a high-scoring, hotly-contested matchup between two Western Conference teams with question marks, Ellis shot a blistering 18 of 24 from the field (75 percent), en route to scoring 46 points.
Furthermore, he sunk two crucial free throws during the closing seconds of the fourth, putting the game out of reach and sealing the 132-128 win.
In addition to his 46, a tie for the current league high, Monta grabbed three boards, dished out two assists and managed to accumulate two steals.
No. 7: Rajon Rondo, 17 Assists-0 Turnovers
On November 2, the 2-1 Boston Celtics visited the 0-4 Detroit Pistons, in what would be an unimpressive Eastern Conference matchup.
However, what was impressive was the performance of Boston's Rajon Rondo, as he saw right through the Detroit D.
By the end of the 109-86 drubbing, Rondo had accumulated 17 assists, while not committing a single turnover—a seemingly perfect point guard performance.
Furthermore, he contributed nine points, three rebounds and four steals in the contest.
No. 6: Monta Ellis, 38-9-8
With stud sophomore point guard Stephon Curry sitting out with an ankle injury, the outlook was grim for the 2-1 Golden State Warriors as they were visited by the 2-2 Memphis Grizzlies on November 3.
And while the Warriors managed to build an 11-point halftime lead, the Grizzlies fought back to cut the deficit to four, entering the final quarter.
It was Monta Ellis' late-game heroics which sealed the deal, however, as he scored 17 points in the final six minutes and 24 seconds of the game.
Ellis finished the game with 39 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, as Golden State walked away with a 115-109 victory.
No. 5: Kobe Bryant, Triple-Double
On November 3, the 4-0 Los Angeles Lakers traveled across the state to play the Sacramento Kings, who at 3-1, were off to quite the hot start themselves.
However, the Lakers managed to stay undefeated, coming away with an easy win to the tune of 112-100.
LA was powered, in large part, by the play of former-MVP Kobe Bryant, who notched the 17th triple double of his career.
In the end, Kobe put up 30 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists, a steal, and only one turnover in the outing, serving to illustrate that he is back in top form and ready to compete for another NBA title.
No. 4: John Wall, Triple-Double
On November 10, the 1-4 Washington Wizards hosted the 1-5 Houston Rockets in a matchup of teams which badly needed a win.
With lead changes in the fourth quarter, this was a tight competition, but one individual performance was largely responsible for Washington's emerging with a 98-91 victory—that of rookie point guard John Wall.
In just his sixth game as a pro, Wall earned his first triple-double, with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
Also impressive was that he shot 50 percent from the field, while he only committed one turnover.
Moreover, Wall had six steals in the contest, and his penchant for racking up this stat makes him appear to be a legitimate threat for eventually achieving the extremely rare quadruple-double, so it's possible that he'll have a chance to one-up his triple-double performance.
No. 3: Rajon Rondo, 24-Assist Triple-Double
The 1-1 Boston Celtics played host to the 1-0 New York Knicks on October 29, and although the game remained close for its entirety, the Celtics were constantly in control, emerging with a 105-101 victory.
Boston pulled this win out largely due to the brilliant point guard play of Rajon Rondo, who finished with an amazing 24 assists—the 16th highest single-game assist total in NBA history.
Furthermore, Rondo contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds to the winning effort, completing a triple-double to go along with his already-unbelievable passing performance.
And there is no doubt that a 10-10-24 destruction of an opposing team's defense is one of the best individual performances of 2010-11 to date.
No. 2: Paul Millsap, 46-Point Game
On November 9, the 3-3 Utah Jazz traveled to Miami to face off against the 5-2 Heat, in what would turn out to be an exciting, tightly contested matchup.
Early on, the Heat appeared to be in control, as they were up 19 going into the half.
However, in the third quarter, the Jazz began to chip away at the lead, but they were still down 13 by the fourth.
But with just under seven minutes to go, Utah tied it up, although Miami promptly grabbed the lead right back.
The Jazz weren't done though, as Paul Millsap stepped up and proceeded to score 11 points in the final 28 seconds of regulation, including a tip-in at as time expired, forcing the game into overtime.
Riding that wave of momentum, Utah came eventually away with a 112-110 win, while Millsap put up 46 points (67.9 FG percentage), nine rebounds, an assist, a steal, a block and only one turnover.
So when one considers Millsap's scoring, rebounding and all-around clutch, game-changing plays, it's fairly obvious that his performance is one of the best of 2010-11 thus far.
No. 1: Kevin Love, 30-30 Game
It was a tale of two halves when the 2-6 Minnesota Timberwolves hosted the 3-5 New York Knicks on November 12.
In the first half, the Knicks looked like they would easily handle the T-Wolves, who were down to their third point guard, Sebastian Telfair.
Down 14 at the half, and by as many as 21 in the third quarter, Minnesota rallied behind the strong play of Kevin Love, who put up a line of 11 points and 15 rebounds in the third, alone.
The Wolves cut the lead to seven heading into the fourth, and then proceeded to outscore the Knicks by 16 in the final period, en route to a 112-103 victory.
Love finished with 31 points, 31 rebounds (12 offensive), five assists and a block in the game, and it was the first time an player recorded a 30-30 game since Hall-of-Famer Moses Malone did so in 1982.
And with Love's accomplishing of something which hasn't been done in 28 years, it's hard to argue against his achievement being the top individual performance of 2010-11.