Carmelo Anthony's 50 and the Top 15 Individual Performances of the NBA Season
On the heels on Carmelo Anthony's 50-point performance for the Denver Nuggets against the Houston Rockets, it is apparent that, throughout the 2010-11 NBA season, there have been quite a few players who have put on some outstanding individual performances.
Therefore, the following is a list of individuals who have all managed to excel in multiple facets of the game, bringing combinations of scoring, passing, rebounding, defending and pure-and-simple efficiency to the court.
Furthermore, the men on this list have played essential roles for their teams, carrying each of their respective squads to whatever levels of success which they have achieved.
And while there are no sure-fire means by which to classify fantastic games, these players have been ordered with respect to general impressiveness.
So without further ado, here are the top 15 individual performances of the 2010-11 NBA season.
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
Wade managed 45 points (17-24 shooting), seven rebounds and two steals in a 125-119 win over the Houston Rockets.
Amar'e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
Stoudemire had 41 points (17-21 shooting), seven rebounds, four assists, four blocks and a steal in a 117-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. Additionally, he put up 37 points (12-20 shooting), 15 rebounds, seven assists and a steal in a 125-116 win over the Detroit Pistons.
LeBron James, Miami Heat
James posted totals of 39 points (15-25 shooting), eight rebounds, nine assists, two blocks and a steal in an 89-88 win over the Pistons. He also managed 32 points, (14-23 shooting), 11 rebounds, 10 assists and a steal in a 113-91 win over the Knicks.
Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Westbrook notched a triple-double, with 32 points (11-22 shooting), 13 assists, 10 rebounds, two blocks, one steal and only one turnover in a 125-124 win over the Orlando Magic. Moreover, he posted a stat line of 38 points, 15 rebounds, nine assists and three steals in a 123-120 win over the New Jersey Nets.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Howard put up 39 points (11-19 shooting), 18 rebounds and two blocks in a 125-124 loss to the Thunder (the same game which Westbrook posted a triple-double). In addition to that, Howard's play was particularly notable during a 99-90 loss to the Chicago Bulls, when he put up 40 points (14-20 shooting), 15 rebounds, four steals, three blocks and two assists.
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Love scored 32 points (11-19 shooting) and grabbed 22 rebounds, while help his team, the second-worst in the NBA, hang with, but lose to the league-best San Antonio Spurs 113-109.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
Williams had one of the most productive night that a point guard could have during a 110-88 blowout of the Indiana Pacers, posting 24 points (10-15 shooting), 16 assists, two steals and, amazingly, not a single turnover.
No. 15: Monta Ellis, Golden State Warriors
At the No. 15 spot is a tie between two of Monta Ellis' performances for the Golden State Warriors against the Houston Rockets.
Initially, the Warriors hosted the Rockets in their first game of the 2010-11 season, when Ellis shot a blistering 18 of 24 from the field (75 percent) en route to scoring 46 points (fifth-highest total this season).
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, Monta had three rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Then, on December 20, the Warriors again hosted the Rockets, and again, Ellis managed to shoot a scorching 75 percent from the field (15-20).
In the end, he finished with 44 points, seven assists and three steals. However, it wasn't enough to elevate his team to another win, as this time the Rockets emerged with a 121-112 victory.
No. 14: Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz
Paul Millsap has done a lot to make the Utah Jazz forget about the departure of Carlos Boozer this season, but his performance against the Miami Heat on November 9 was especially memorable.
In this game, Millsap stepped up and proceeded to score 11 points during the final 28 seconds of regulation, including a tip-in at the buzzer, forcing the game into overtime.
Riding that wave of momentum, Utah came eventually away with a 112-110 win, while Millsap finished with the league's fifth-highest single-game scoring total at 46 points (19-28 shooting), going along with nine rebounds, an assist, a steal, a block and only one turnover.
No. 13: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Russell Westbrook has been having a consistently impressive season for the Oklahoma City Thunder thus far in 2010-11.
However, one of his most notable performances was in a career-high 43-point outing against the Indiana Pacers on November 26.
In this game, Westbrook also netted eight rebounds, eight assists, three steals and a block, while also sinking 17-18 from the line.
Furthermore, his 29 points after halftime allowed the Thunder to overcome a 14-point deficit in the third en route to a 114-110 victory.
No. 12: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
On December 18, Kevin Love and the Minnesota Timberwolves visited the Nuggets in Denver in a hotly contested matchup.
Love put up 43 points (14-23 shooting), grabbed 17 rebounds in the contest and dished out three assists in the contest, while also shooting 5-5 from three-point range.
However, despite his best efforts, the lowly T-Wolves dropped the game by two, with a final score of 115-113, against one of the better teams in the West.
No. 11: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant's NBA-best fifth 40-point game, recorded on February 2, was certainly one of his best performances to date this season.
It occurred when his Oklahoma City Thunder hosted the New Orleans Hornets and Durant was seemingly unstoppable on offense.
He finished with 43 points, while shooting 14-19 from the field (73.7 percent), 5-7 from three (71.4 percent) and 10-11 from the line (90.9 percent).
Moreover, he posted 10 rebounds, five assists, a steal and a block, powering his squad to an easy 104-93 win.
No. 10: LeBron James, Miami Heat
LeBron James has seen his numbers regress slightly after joining the Miami Heat this season, however, he has still turned in a number of impressive performances.
On January 9, his Heat went into Portland to face off against the Trail Blazers, and he proceeded to go off.
Playing from behind late, James helped to propel his squad to even things up, forcing overtime. From there, he took control, nailing two late threes to seal the 107-100 victory.
In all, LeBron finished with an impressive line of 44 points (17-26 shooting), 13 rebounds, six assists and two steals.
No. 9: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
In their third game of the 2010-11 season, the Boston Celtics played host to the New York Knicks on October 29, and although the game remained close for its entirety, the Celtics eventually emerged with an easy 105-101 victory.
However, Boston pulled out this win 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, 10 rebounds and a steal to the winning effort, completing a triple-double to go along with his already unbelievable passing performance.
No. 8: Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets hosted the Houston Rockets on February 7, in a game in which Melo would go on to tie his career-high scoring total.
Yet despite Anthony's scoring spree, the Rockets maintained the lead throughout the majority of the contest.
Nevertheless, Melo led a late-game surge, scoring nine of his points in the final minute but still falling short, as his Nuggets lost 108-103.
In the end, Carmelo totaled 50 points (second-highest this season) on 16-24 shooting, along with 11 rebounds, three blocks and a steal on the night.
No. 7: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
Notching his third and most impressive triple double of the 2010-11 NBA season, Russell Westbrook was essential to the Oklahoma City Thunder in their recent double-overtime matchup against the Washington Wizards.
Westbrook was one of only two members of OKC to score during the final two periods, allowing him to finish with totals of 35 points (50 percent shooting), 13 rebounds, 13 assists and two blocks.
In the end, his contributions were instrumental to the Thunder finally out-shooting the Wizards 124-117.
No. 6: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
On January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Los Angeles Clippers faced off against the Indiana Pacers in a matchup between two struggling teams.
However, the game turned out to be rather exciting, primarily because of the phenomenal play of Blake Griffin.
Finishing with 47 points (third-highest total in 2010-11) on a ridiculous 79.2 percent shooting (19-24), Griffin also managed to grab 14 rebounds, dish out three assists and block a shot.
Consequently, his over-powering play allowed his team to grab a late lead and cruise to a 114-107 win.
No. 5: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
On November 20, the Los Angeles Clippers hosted the New York Knicks in a contest in which Blake Griffin solidified himself as one of the most exciting and talented players in the NBA.
Posting a game filled with highlight-reel dunks, Griffin exploded for 44 points (14-24 shooting), 15 rebounds, seven assists, two steals and a block.
Nevertheless, it still was not enough to propel his team to a victory, as the Clippers ultimately fell 124-115.
No. 4: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves looked as if they were going to be in trouble when hosting the New York Knicks on November 12, as they were down 14 at the half and by as many as 21 in the third quarter.
However, Minnesota rallied behind the strong play of Kevin Love, who put up a line of 11 points and 15 rebounds in the third alone.
Consequently, the Wolves ended up taking the game 112-103, as Love finished with 31 points, 31 rebounds (12 offensive), five assists and a block in the game—the first time a player recorded a 30-30 game since Hall-of-Famer Moses Malone did so in 1982.
No. 3: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
On January 26, the Oklahoma City Thunder visited Minneapolis to face off against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
And as has been the case often, the Thunder offense was heavily reliant upon the play of star forward Kevin Durant, who scored 16 consecutive points for the team during the fourth quarter.
In the end, Durant would hit the shot which would seal the 118-117 overtime victory, ultimately finishing the game with totals of 47 points (a career-high and the third-highest total in 2010-11), 18 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks.
No. 2: Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
On January 5, two of the NBA's best teams, the Boston Celtics and the San Antonio Spurs, were matched up in what would become one of the year's most epic games.
In a closely-fought battle, the Celtics' Rajon Rondo grabbed his 10th rebound of the night on a late attempt at a game-tying jumper, allowing him to record another triple double, run out the clock and seal a 105-103 victory for his team.
But a regular, old triple-double wasn't all Rondo contributed, as he constantly guided the Celtics' offense on his way to a 23-assist, 12-point (60 percent shooting), 10-rebound triple-double, with six steals added in for good measure.
No. 1: LeBron James, Miami Heat
LeBron James came out firing for the Miami Heat in his February 3 contest in Orlando against the Magic, connecting on all of his first 11 field goal attempts.
So behind his 23 points in the first, the Heat stormed out to an early lead.
However, they eventually became complacent, as Orlando fought their way back into the game.
But James answered again, hitting some big shots and free throws down the stretch, helping to guarantee his team's 104-100 win.
But a win isn't all LeBron earned, as his 51 points (17-25 shooting) are a league-high in 2010-11, and when that fact is combined with his 11 rebounds, eights assists, one steal and one block, LeBron James undoubtedly put in one of the best performances of the NBA season.