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Monday, November 13, 2006

Redd Alert: Michael Redd Scores a Franchise Record 57 Points, but the Jazz Outlast the Bucks, 113-111

Michael Redd set a Milwaukee Bucks' franchise record by scoring 57 points on Saturday night versus the Utah Jazz, but Matt Harpring's layup with less than two seconds left enabled Utah to escape with a 113-111 win. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar held the old mark with a 55 point outing on December 10, 1971 against the Boston Celtics.

Redd shot 18-32 from the field--including 6-12 on three pointers--and 15-17 from the free throw line. Redd had 39 of his points in the second half as the Bucks outscored the Jazz 70-51 and almost won despite facing a 62-41 halftime deficit. Utah enjoyed a 44-29 rebounding advantage and, despite Redd's heroics, outshot Milwaukee from the field, .538 to .482 (Redd's teammates shot only 22-51 from the field)--but Redd's performance will be the memory that lingers from this contest.

How significant is it to score 57 points in an NBA game? Consider these facts:

* Abdul-Jabbar is the game's career scoring leader and he never did it.

* Other great scorers who played for the Bucks besides Abdul-Jabbar include Oscar Robertson, Marques Johnson, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings, Ricky Pierce, Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen.

* Most of the players on the NBA's 50 Greatest Players List never did it.

* Redd's total is just three points shy of Larry Bird's and Allen Iverson's career-high, four points off of Shaquille O'Neal's and Karl Malone's career-high and five points less than Tracy McGrady's career-high.

posted by David Friedman @ 3:01 AM


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At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 12:13:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Its amazing that no other Bucks player has done that. I thought at least Jabbar would have.

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:11:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I didn't see the game but as soon as I saw Redd's total my first thought was he now stood atop the record books for a franchise that has had some top notch scorers--including Kareem, who still ranks first on the career scoring list.

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 8:25:00 AM, Blogger vednam said...

It is indeed somewhat surprising to learn that Kareem never scored that many points in a game.

Perhaps this may explain why: in his autobiography, Wilt Chamberlain ranted about how Kareem wasn't quite as dominant as he could have been at scoring considering how skilled a scorer he was. Wilt then claimed that Kareem told him something like (and I'm paraphrasing here, since I don't have the book on hand) Wilt had created a monster early in his career with his prodigious scoring totals, setting the standard so high that fans' expectations became so high that they weren't satisfied with any performance by Wilt which was less than amazing and that he (Kareem) would get his 30 or 35 but not go too far, and thus avoid that problem.

In any case, I think any decent scorer can put together a really high scoring game. Doesn't Antawn Jamison have a few 50+ games? Isiah Thomas, Magic Johnson and Julius Erving (in the NBA), among others, never scored as many as 50 points in a game. Consitency is much more impressive.

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 11:35:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Jamison has back to back 50 point games. Tony Delk and Willie Burton have also scored 50. It can happen if you are hot in the NBA

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 3:51:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I believe that the Wilt-Kareem story is described in Wilt's first autobiography from the early 70s.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that any decent scorer can get 50. Redd is a budding star who is currently leading the league in scoring (yes, it's early...) and has improved his scoring average each season. Jamison is a former All-Star who has averaged 20-plus ppg three times, including one year at nearly 25 ppg, and he also had two other years of over 19 ppg.

By the way, Erving had four 50-plus games in the ABA in the regular season and one in the playoffs. Isiah and Magic each came close to 50 (I think that their career highs were 47 and 46 respectively; Erving's NBA career high was 45).

Delk and Burton are two of the lowest profile guys who ever cracked 50. Another was Walt Wesley. Chamberlain cited Wesley in his book to make the same point that you guys are making--you don't have to be a superstar to score 50 points in an NBA game. While this is true, if you look at the list of guys who have done it you will see that most of them were great scorers for an extended period of time (guys like Purvis Short and Jamison may not be considered great players, but they are certainly top level scorers, not just guys who got hot on one or two nights).

What impressed me about Redd is (1) he nearly cracked 60 (most of the "fluky" 50 point scorers hit 50 on the button or pretty close to it), (2) he shot a very good percentage, (3) he outdid every player in the history of a franchise that has had a lot of great scorers--and (4) his team lost the game, which is unusual when a player scores that many points!

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 4:23:00 PM, Blogger vednam said...

Not saying Redd isn't a very good player, just that his 57 point game alone shouldn't all of a sudden thrust him into the upper echelon.

Another high scoring individual performance in a losing effort was Bernard King's 60 on Christmas 1984. You're right though, usually the team with the high scoring guys wins.

I remember that comment about Walt Wesley which Wilt made in his first autobiography. I think he also added that Wesley was, in his opinion, one of the worst centers to ever play in the NBA! Such bluntness and humor is what makes it one of the most enjoyable and amusing sports books I've read.

At Wednesday, November 15, 2006 6:52:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I agree that one game doesn't vault Redd into a different category--but as the latest exhibit in his body of work it is most impressive. He is a very accurate shooter for someone who scores so much. It will be very interesting to see his scoring average and shooting percentage at the end of the season.

At Wednesday, November 15, 2006 1:43:00 PM, Blogger illest said...

Redd is a wonderful shooter and scorer that the 08 Olympic team definitely needs.

Jabbar definitely could have averaged 40 a game easy.

At Thursday, November 16, 2006 5:02:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

I agree that Kareem could have averaged 40 ppg. I think that a lot of people forget that he averaged at least 30 ppg in four different seasons, won two scoring titles and put up 34.8 ppg in one of those years. Jabbar actually had the highest career scoring average of all-time at the midpoint of his career--surpassing Chamberlain.

At Thursday, November 16, 2006 8:54:00 AM, Blogger illest said...

Kareem is so underrated its unbelievable. I was watching Red on Roundball (its seems like this is all I've been watching lately) with Kareem and Alvin Adams on the sky hook. Red said "the greatest offensive weapon ever." He said more but its a shame how underrated he is.

At Thursday, November 16, 2006 4:59:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Magic made similar remarks in the In My Own Words show that I recently wrote about.

At Thursday, November 16, 2006 11:17:00 PM, Blogger illest said...

His only mistake is not marrying Pam Grier. His biography on wikipedia is ridiculous. Its laughable. Its just a shame that if you arent nice to the media then you wont be talked about. Everyone says Jordan is the best ever. But how is Kareem not?

At Friday, November 17, 2006 5:37:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Right at the time that Kareem had his farewell tour some people expressed the sentiment that he was the greatest player of all-time but he pretty much disappeared from the public eye after he stopped playing. At the same time, Jordan soon had his greatest success, which corresponded with the NBA's popularity soaring. So I think that Jordan is elevated above Jabbar (and his predecessor Julius Erving) at least partially as a result of timing and media exposure.

At Friday, November 17, 2006 5:38:00 AM, Blogger vednam said...

I'm a little confused about this comment:

"Jabbar actually had the highest career scoring average of all-time at the midpoint of his career--surpassing Chamberlain"

Are you saying that Kareem at SOME point (say after his first 3 or 4 years, not necessarily Kareem's "midpoint") had a higher scoring average than Chamberlain's CAREER average? (Note that Wilt's career average after his first 7 years was over 39)

I agree with you guys that Kareem could have averaged 40 per game, but as I pointed out earlier, as Kareem confided to Wilt, he didn't want to create a "monster".

I also think Kareem is underrated. I think he was as good as Jordan at their respective peaks, and Kareem's longevity makes him greater than Jordan. The only player who I consider greater than Jabbar is Chamberlain.

Kareem is underrated due to two main reasons. First, he was tall, and people just tend to not fully appreciate the accomplishments of a Goliath-like figure. Two, the lasting image most people have of Kareem is the balding Kareem in his late 30s and early 40s who couldn't rebound well and probably wasn't the best player on his team. Because of this, people tend to overlook how great a player he was at his peak. A lot of people seem to have the idea that he was just a decent scorer who hung around forever.

At Friday, November 17, 2006 6:21:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...


The NBA determines its career scoring average leader based on playing in 400 games or scoring at least 10,000 points. "Midpoint" was a bit imprecise on my part. What I meant to say was that for some time after Kareem passed the 10,000 point or 400 game qualifying marks he officially had the highest career scoring average in NBA history. I fully realize that Wilt had a much higher average at a comparable point in his career, something that I mentioned when I wrote about this in Basketball Digest a few years back. Nevertheless, there was a period of time when Kareem officially had the highest career scoring average in NBA history. If you have any old sports reference books from the mid 1970s you can verify this for yourself.

You make some excellent points about Kareem. I am working on a series of articles about pro basketball's "Pantheon" and will speak further about this subject in those articles--and I look forward to receiving feedback about them. The first Pantheon piece was published at ProBasketballNews and a link to it can be found on the main 20SecondTimeout page.


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