Monday, February 1, 2010
Andre Miller scored 52 points in an NBA game on Saturday night. And amazingly, there have yet to be any confirmed reports that Hell has indeed frozen over. Honestly, this has to be one of the most bizarre 50-point outings in the history of the league. Miller entered Saturday night's action scoring 12.6 points per game, with a season high of 28. In his previous three games, he had shot 1 for 8, 2 for 11, and 1 for 6 from the floor. Combine those four measly buckets with the nine turnovers he made during that stretch, and you were looking at maybe the least likely player in the entire Association to randomly pop for half a hundo over the weekend. In honor of Miller's historic night, let's take a look at two other bizarre scoring outbursts from the NBA vault.
Darius Miles (47)
There must have been a full moon the night of April 19, 2005. The season was coming to a close, and Portland was in Denver for a ho-hum "let's get this thing over with as quickly as possible" affair. But weird things kept happening.
The diminutive Earl Boykins blew up for 24 points, 12 dimes, and a blocked shot.
The Blazers hung a 42-spot on the Nugs in the 2nd quarter, went to the line a staggering 42 times for the game...and still wound up losing by four.
And last but not least, our man of the hour, Darius Miles, one of the most frustratingly inconsistent lottery picks in league history, a player who was often rumored to be living without an active pulse, and a man that just nine days prior had posted a whopping two points on 1 for 10 shooting in a game against New Orleans...WENT OFF for Forty-Seven Freaking Points.
What in the Sam Hill got into ol' Darius that night, we will never know. We know that he shot the ball 33 times, made 19, and collected exactly zero assists in the process. He even volunteered to play defense for the first time in his career, grabbing four steals to go with his Pryzbilla-esque five blocked shots. Miles, never considered to be the most perceptive player in NBA history, surprised nobody with this comment after the game.
"I didn't know how many points I had at the half (he had 32), and guys were saying I could score 50. I thought, I'm not going to score 30 more points. I thought I had like 20."
People always say they remember exactly where they were when certain world-changing moments occurred: JFK...9/11...Blue Chips. Me, I'll always remember the night D-Miles went for 47. I was talking with my friend Harold online, and both of us came across the Portland-Denver box score at the same moment. I can't be sure of the exact amount of time, but I would estimate that we proceeded to spend the next 90-300 minutes just repeatedly expressing our combined sense of awe and overall confusion at the stat line Darius had just posted. It made no sense then, and it makes even less sense now.
But as often happens in sports, things tend to return to normalcy quite soon after a wild game, and in this case, it was the very next night. The Blazers closed the book on the season with a home win over the Lakers. Darius Miles scored eight lonely points.
Midway through the next year, he watched his right knee turn to lemon jello, and his transformation into literally becoming Jonathan Bender had become complete.
We might be a couple elections away, but somewhere down the line, we will have to vote a 47th US President into office. In my mind, there's only one man truly capable of representing that number and all that it stands for. His name...Darius LaVar Miles.
(Weird Sidenote: One of the reasons Miles was able to play 40 minutes in that game was because the normally mild-mannered Blazers starting small forward (Shareef Abdur-Rahim) was ejected in the 3rd quarter. Which leads us to...)
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (50)
I remember the details of this game so vividly, even eight and a half years later. The Pistons were invading Philips Arena in Atlanta to take on a depressing Lon Kruger-coached Hawks squad. For me, the night took on a life of its own when the starting lineups were flashed across the screen. Jerry Stackhouse: Out, Strained Groin. Starting at shooting guard for the Stones: my main man Jon Barry.
I'd been a huge JB fan his whole career, and could not have been more ecstatic when he finally became a Piston. Well, now my boy was in the starting lineup for the first time and I was praying he would make good on his 15 minutes of fame. He did much more than that. JB was a man possessed the whole night, scoring 25 points on a sparkling 7 of 11 shooting (including 5-6 from downtown and 6-7 from the stripe), all while motoring at his usual 150% for 40 exhausting minutes, and making one solitary turnover. It was a special night for me and the entire Barry family.
But there were two problems.
1. Shareef Abdur-Rahim was playing for the Hawks that night.
2. Rick Carlisle was coaching for the Pistons.
Abdur-Rahim showed early in the night that he was not going to be stopped by one man. The Stones had the soon-to-be Defensive Player of the Year in Ben Wallace, but it didn't matter. Shareef was on a mission. So naturally, you would think, "Well, Carlisle had to start doubling him at some point, right???" WRONG.
If there's anything you could say about Rick Carlisle as a head coach at that time, it was this: the man was stubborn as a mule.
---"Michael Curry is 45 years old and can't guard his own shadow. Don't care, I'm still startin' him."
---"Corliss Williamson is scoring practically every time we give him the ball. Don't care, I'm still taking him out in the big moments of every game."
---"I might get fired if I don't start treating Mr. Davidson with some respect. Don't care, I'm still gonna be an unfriendly mook with an unhealthy affinity for Bruce Hornsby tunes." (Though I can understand that one...Set Me in Motion is possibly my favorite song of all-time.)
So, like I said, if you thought the Pistons would offer Big Ben some help on the block, you were sadly mistaken.
No double or triple-teams from various angles...no fronting him in the post to make it harder for him to catch the ball...no sending in the all-too-willing Brian Cardinal to "accidentally" obliterate one of Shareef's knees into a million pieces.
They just continued to let him peacefully set up his office on the left block and go to work. I'd say of Reef's 21 field goals that night, a good 18 or 19 were that same little baby hook in the lane from inside of 8 feet. Fifty points is fifty points, but homeboy wasn't exactly reinventing the wheel.
The Pistons led by 16 at halftime. At the end of three, the advantage had been chopped to 10. And when that final buzzer sounded at the end of the night, the lead had evaporated completely. The numbers looked like this.
Hawks 106, Pistons 99.
Abdur-Rahim 50, Jon Barry 25.
Rick Carlisle 1, My Emotional Well-Being 0.
It started off as the best night of my life. It wound up scarring me for the next eight plus years.
Rick Carlisle refused to adapt that night. And his Pistons paid the ultimate price. When Andre Miller torched the Mavericks on Saturday, it was post-up city for the duration without the slightest bit of defensive creativity from the Dallas bench. Who was the coach holding the clipboard for the victimized squad, you ask? Take a wild guess.
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