Nowitzki's 48-point game by the numbers


Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Posted: 1:49 p.m.
By Reuben

Unless you got frustrated by another lackluster Phillies offensive effort and changed over to the NBA playoffs Tuesday night, you missed one of the most uniquely spectacular performances in NBA history.

Spectacular because Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 points.

Unique because he needed only 15 shots to do it.

We rounded up the By the Numbers staff from vacation to take a closer look at Nowitzkis remarkable evening in the Mavs 121-112 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their Western Conference finals series.

Heres what we learned:

Nowitzkis 48 points are the most in NBA history on 15 or fewer shotsplayoffs or otherwise. The most points anybody had ever scored in the playoffs on 15 or fewer shots was 40that was Portlands Terry Porter, who was 12 for 14 from the field, 4 for 5 from three and 13 for 14 from the line for 41 points in a win over Utah in 1992. The regular season record was Alonzo Mournings 43 points on 13 for 14 from the field and 17 for 24 from the line in the Heats win over the Nets in 2000.

Nowitzki needed 11 fewer field goal attempts than anybody in NBA history to score 48 points in a playoff game. The previous fewest shots by a player scoring 48 or more points in the postseason was 26 by ... Nowitzki in a 50-point game against Phoenix in 2006. So nobody else in NBA history has scored 48 points in the playoffs on fewer than 27 shots. And Nowitzki has done it twice.

Nowitzki is only the third player in the last 20 years to score 45 or more points in a regular-season or postseason game while shooting 80 percent or better from the field. Dana Barros of the Sixers and Amare Stoudemire of the Suns did it in the regular seasonBarros in 1995 against the Rockets on 81 percent for 50 points (21 for 26, 6 for 8, 2 for 2) and Stoudemire on 81 percent for 49 points against the Pacers in 2008 (17 for 21, 0 for 2, 15 for 15).

Nowitzkiwho has attempted more than 3,000 three-pointers in his careerbecame the first NBA player in 11 years to score 45 points in a playoff game without attempting a single three-pointer. The last was Shaq, who had 46-point playoff games in 1997 and 2000 without attempting a three.

Nowitzkis 24 free throws without a miss are the most ever in a regular season or playoff game. The most foul shots anybody had ever made without a miss in the playoffs was 21Paul Pierce of the Celtics was 21 for 21 against the Pacers in 2003. Dominique Wilkins of the Hawks had the regular-season mark at 23 for 23 against the Bulls in 1992.

Lets not forget OKCs Kevin Durant, who had a pretty amazing game himself with 40 points on 10 for 18 shooting from the field, 2 for 5 from the field and 18 for 19 (95 percent) from the foul line. In the previous seven years, nobody had scored 40 points in a postseason game while shooting 95 percent from the line. Tuesday night, two guys did it in the same game.

Durants 40 points on just 18 shots is pretty amazing in itself. It had been 10 years since any NBA player scored 40 points in a playoff game while taking fewer than 20 shotsthen Nowitzki and Durant did it in the same game. So Durant has the second-lowest shot total by a 40-point scorer in the playoffs in the last decade, even though Nowitzki scored more points on fewer points in the same game.

The last time two guys scored 40 points in a playoff game Nowitzki was also involved. He had 44 and Carmelo Anthonythen with Denverscored 41 in the Mavs 119-117 win on May 11, 2009.

Durant already has three 40-point games during the 2011 postseason. Nobody in NBA history has had more 40-point games before his 23rd birthday than Durant. LeBron James and Stoudemire also had three.

In the last 20 years, only Ray Allen, Karl Malone and Michael Jordan have scored more points in a playoff game than Nowitzki after their 32nd birthday. Allen had a 51-point game at 33, Malone scored 50 for Utah at 36 and Jordan had a 50-point game when he was 36 and a 55-point game when he was 34.
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