Thursday marks the 55th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game – the only 100-point game in NBA history.
“It’s probably one of the greatest performances that I haven’t seen,” said Heat guard Dion Waiters, a Philly native who like most of the world never saw any footage of Chamberlain’s 100-point performance on March 2, 1962 in a game between his Philadelphia Warriors and the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pa. because it wasn’t televised and no film of the game has ever surfaced.
“I scored 63 when I was in the eighth grade in a rec league,” said Waiters, who matched his NBA career-high of 33 points on two occassions this season. “I shot every time though.”
In the Miami Heat’s 29-year history there have only been seven instances in which a player has scored at least 50 points.
LeBron James’ 61 against Charlotte on March 3, 2014 are the most points ever scored by a Heat player in regular season game. And this season, Goran Dragic’s 34 points against the Wizards are the most any Heat player has scored.
So could any current Heat player even dream up a scenario in which they could score 100 points? The short answer: No.
Getting to 100 points would require putting up a lot of shots. Chamberlain took an NBA-record 63 in his 100-point performance. He also shot 32 free throws.
When James scored his 61 points for the Heat, he was 22-of-33 from the field and 10-of-13 from the free throw line.
No Heat player has ever taken more than 39 shots in a game. Dwyane Wade did that in a 50-point effort and victory over the Utah Jazz on March 14, 2009.
Waiters’ 26 shots in a loss at San Antonio are the most any Heat player has taken in a game this season.
Wednesday, six players scored in double figures for the Heat including Waiters. When the Heat (28-33) has won this season it’s usually been because it’s shared the basketball – not because some one like Dragic or Waiters has gone off on a scoring binge individually.
“I [saw] Kobe score 81,” Waiters said. “That’s the closest [anyone has gotten]. We probably won’t see that again in the years to come.”
Goran Dragic said the most he’s ever scored in a game in his life is 47 points.
“Three times,” the native Slovenian said. “Back home.”
Josh Richardson said the most he’s ever scored was 47 points during a rec league game back as a freshman in college.
Tyler Johnson said the most he’s ever scored was 62 points “in a middle school game that went to triple over time.”
Hassan Whiteside scored 55 points once when he played overseas in China. “That was on a night I had a triple-double, too,” Whiteside said. “That’s what I liked most about that game.”
Wayne Ellington, who scored his personal career-high of 45 points in a high school game back home in Philly, believes Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook or Houston’s James Harden are on the short of list of players who are talented enough – and could have the chance to put up enough shots – to give scoring 100 points in a game a serious run.
“I feel like how Golden State is playing maybe Steph [Curry] or Klay [Thompson] could do it,” Dragic said of reaching the 100-point mark. "Klay already had that game when he had 37 in a quarter. They know how to share the ball. So you never know.”
In the end, though, it will take a coach willing to green light such an effort – much like the Lakers did last season in Kobe Bryant’s final game. He took 50 shots and scored 60 points.
Considering how many three-pointers the Rockets launch per game (40) coach Mark D’Antoni could be willing to let Harden give it a try. But Harden has never scored more than 53 in a game (he did that this season against the Knicks) or taken more than 33 shots.
“I'll probably take Westbrook before Harden,” Johnson said in terms of who has the best shot at scoring 100 between the league’s best scorers. “I mean, but Russ would have to be able to hit from three, though.”
Chamberlain (7-1, 275) obviously benefitted from having both overwhelming size and athleticism in a league not exactly brimming with it in the 1960s.
Said Johnson: “If Hassan played back then I bet you he could get 100 too.”
In today’s era, Waiters, Johnson and Dragic said any player attempting to score 100 points simply wouldn’t be allowed to by the opposing team because they wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of history.
“You're not getting 100 on me,” Johnson said. “I'm going to hard foul you. Once you start sniffing 80, I have to give you a hard one. I have to. And as a coach I'm definitely sending double, triple [teams]. We’re not going to be that team for sure.”