Wednesday, July 17, 2024

By the numbers: Joel Embiid (70 points), Karl-Anthony Towns (62) combine for historic scoring night

Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns made a bunch of history on Monday night. Embiid scored a career and franchise high 70 points in the 76ers‘ win over the Spurs, and Towns followed that with 62 points — also a career and franchise high — in the Timberwolves’ loss to the Hornets. 

  • Embiid’s final line: 70 points, 18 rebounds, five assists on 24-for-41 shooting, including 1 of 2 from 3-point land and 21 of 23 from the free-throw line. 
  • Towns’ final line: 62 points, eight rebounds, two assists, seven turnovers on 21-of-35 shooting, including 10 of 15 from 3 and 10 of 14 from the free-throw line. 

Here’s a look at how the night breaks down by the numbers:


Embiid is the one and only player to score 70 points in a Sixers uniform, supplanting Wilt Chamberlain’s previous franchise high of 68. Chamberlain previously set the record Dec. 16, 1967. 

Towns was already the only player in Timberwolves history to score 60 in a game, and now, obviously, his 62 is the new franchise record. The highest single-game total for a Timberwolves player not named Towns is the 52 points Mo Williams put up in 2015. 


Towns joins Chamberlain as the second center in history to record multiple 60-point games. Chamberlain did it a hilarious 32 times. Towns’ previous career and franchise high was 60 against the Spurs in 2022. 

Towns is also the second player in history to record 60 points and 10 made 3-pointers in the same game, joining Damian Lillard, who did it twice (71 with 13 3s vs. Houston last season, and 61 with 11 3s vs. the Warriors in 2020). 


Towns now has the three highest-scoring games in Timberwolves history: 62 on Monday, 60, as mentioned above, in 2022 against the Spurs, and 56 in 2018 against the Hawks. 

Towns is also the third player to commit at least seven turnovers in a 60-point game, joining Kemba Walker (9) and David Robinson (8). 


The number of times in NBA history that two players have surpassed 60 points on the same night. 


Embiid’s five assists on Monday set him apart from any other player in history. Two guys have gone for at least 70 points and 18 rebounds (Chamberlain did it five times, and Elgin Baylor, who went for 71 and 25 in 1960, once), but Chamberlain’s assist high was two and Baylor only carded one dime. 

Lower the standard to 65 points and 15 rebounds, and Michael Jordan is the only other player to put up five assists with those first two numbers. 


The number of games that Embiid can miss over the remainder of the season and still remain eligible to win a second MVP. The league’s new rule mandates a 65-game minimum of at least 20 minutes played. That means you can miss 17 games and still be eligible. Embiid has already missed 11. The Sixers have 40 games left. 


Number of players who have recorded multiple 60-point games in their career: Chamberlain (32) Kobe Bryant (6) Lillard (5) Jordan (4) James Harden (4) Baylor (3), and now Towns (2). 

Number of players to reach 70 points in an NBA game: Chamberlain, Baylor, David Robinson, David Thompson, Bryant, Devin Booker, Donovan Mitchell, Lillard, and now Embiid. 


Towns is the first player in NBA history to record at least 10 made 2-pointers, 10 made 3-pointers and 10 made free throws in a single game. He is also the first center in history to make at least 10 3-pointers in a game. 


Remarkably, Monday night marked the 18-year anniversary of Bryant’s 81-point game against the Raptors on January 22, 2006. Embiid and Towns certainly did the late legend proud. 

Embiid took time in his post-game press conference to pay homage to the late Hall of Famer. “Even though I started playing late, from the time I started playing, Kobe was my guy,” Embiid said. “He’s the reason why I started playing basketball.”

Shortly after, Embiid took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to post a tribute:


Minnesota became the 21st team in history to lose a game in which one of its players scored at least 60 points. It happened to Chamberlain 11 times and Jordan twice. And one time each to Gervin, Bernard King, Thompson, Booker, Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, Lillard and now Towns. 


Towns now holds the NBA record (play-by-play era, dating back to 1997) for first-half points with 44, two more than the 42 that Kobe Bryant scored in 2003 against Jordan’s Wizards (he wound up with 55 total). 

All told, five players have scored at least 40 points in a first half: Towns, Bryant, Kyrie Irving and Lillard (41) and Klay Thompson (40). 

Open it up to either half, and Towns is fourth all-time behind Bryant (55), Booker (51) and Brandon Jennings (45), all of whom did their work in the second half. 


Embiid’s previous career high, which came against the Jazz in 2022. Embiid had 59 by the end of the third quarter on Monday. 

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