Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 points on just 15 field-goal attempts last night. He was 12-of-15 from the field and an incredible 24-of-24 from the free-throw line.
In terms of efficiency, it was the greatest single-game scoring performance of the last 25 years (a time frame that obviously includes Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant).
Last night, he averaged 3.2 points per field-goal attempt and 16 points per miss (a stat conjured up by ESPN's Bill Simmons via his Twitter).
Nowitzki's 48 is the 16th-highest individual point total for a playoff game since the 1985-86 season.
Of the 15 individual scoring performances that top Dirk's in terms of points scored, none of them are even close in terms of efficiency.
Some of the players who have topped 48 during the last 25 years include Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley.
Jordan's best points per miss (PPM from now on) in playoff games in which he scored better than Dirk's 48 is 4.7. Obviously, nowhere near the incredible 16 PPM Dirk posted.
Here is the PPM for all 15 playoff performances of more than 48 points (since '85-'86):
|Player||Points||FG Missed||FT Missed||PPM|
Barkley's performance comes closest, but even his PPM of 5.6 looks minuscule compared to Dirk's 16.
We can extend this look beyond the playoffs too. I think we'd all acknowledge that Kobe Bryant's 81-point game in 2006 against the Raptors was the greatest scoring performance of this era (and you could even argue that it was better than Wilt's 100).
Comparing Kobe's 81 to Dirk's 48 looks like this:
|Player||Points||FG Missed||FT Missed||PPM||Points per FGA|
It would be hard for me to tell you that a 48-point game was more impressive than an 81-point game, but in terms of efficiency, it was.
Dirk's PPM was four times better than Kobe's and his points per field-goal attempt was almost twice as good.
I don't think anyone is paying enough attention or giving enough credit to Nowitzki right now. His game against the Oklahoma City Thunder last night could very well be the greatest scoring performance in NBA playoff history.
To me, there's no doubt it's the best of this era.
You can follow Andy Bailey on Twitter @_Andy_Bailey