Kobe Bryant‘s 81-point game versus the Raptors back in 2006 is definitely one of the best performances ever by a single player. He would set the second-highest scoring total by a player in a single game, only behind Wilt’s infamous 100-point game. But what made Kobe’s s performance special and a lot tougher is the fact he did in a relatively modern era as a shooting guard, scoring from everywhere on the court in an era that wasn’t that high tempo and offensive-minded like today’s NBA.
Today, we see more scoring and shooting than ever in the history of the NBA, which raises the question of which player today could get close to or surpass that 81 point mark. Shaquille O’Neal was asked that question on The Dan Patrick Show, as he gave a list of 5 active NBA players that he thinks are capable of that.
In Shaq’s opinion, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, and Devin Booker could break Kobe’s 81 points. All of them had some great games, with the young Devin Booker being by far the closest, dropping 70 points versus the Celtics in 2017. Next is Curry, who had 62 just last month and is known for getting hot from the three-point line. Harden managed to get 61 twice in his career, Irving put up 57 against the Spurs in 2015, and surprisingly Kevin Durant is the lowest on this list, scoring 54 versus the Warriors in 2014. I can see all of those guys having a crazy night and breaking the record, but it will be a challenging task to accomplish.
It’s crazy to realize three of those five guys are currently playing on the same team with the Brooklyn Nets. Talk about having firepower. Shaq played with Kobe for eight years, as he knows the type of player and scorer Kobe was. So when he says those are some of the guys that could go for incredible scoring numbers, you can take that to the bank.