70 points for Joël Embiid, 62 points for Karl-Anthony Towns

Philadelphia 76ers pivot Joel Embiid infiltrates the middle of two San Antronio Spurs players on January 22, 2024, in Philadelphia. MATT SLOCUM / AP

January 22 could well become a day apart in the North American basketball league (NBA). Eighteen years after Kobe Bryant’s stratospheric 81 points – the second best individual performance in NBA history – two players exploded the scorers this Monday, January 22, 2024: Philadelphia 76ers pivot Joël Embiid scored 70 points, while Minnesota Timberwolves Karl-Anthony Towns scored 62.

“These boys are going CRAZY tonight”a even posted on X during the evening LeBron James, the best scorer in league history.

This Monday is only the fourth time in NBA history that two players have scored at least 60 points in the same day. Such a performance had not happened in more than forty-five years, when, on April 9, 1978, David Thompson scored 73 points for Denver and George Gervin 63 points for San Antonio, while they faced each other in the last day of the season for the title of top scorer.

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Wilt Chamberlain’s record broken

Scored during the victory against the San Antonio Spurs (133-123), the 70 points of American-Cameroonian Joël Embiid – also recently naturalized French – are a personal record. “Since I started playing, Kobe [Bryant] is my guy, he declared after the feat. It’s thanks to him that I started playing basketball. It’s funny, the same night he scored 81 points, and he was my favorite player. »

Embiid, who made only one 3-point basket (but 23 2-point baskets and 21 free throws), tied the twelfth best performance in NBA history and broke the NBA record by two points. Philadelphia franchise, which was owned by the legend Wilt Chamberlain – the man who also owns the record in an NBA game, with 100 points scored, in March 1962.

Only nine different players have managed to score at least 70 points in an NBA game. With this kind of performance, Joël Embiid can claim to retain his title of best player of the season.

“He’s a fantastic playersaid Gregg Popovich, coach of the Spurs, opponent of the day. He is obviously in the running for the title of best player of the season. For sure. But everyone already knew that. »

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Wembanyama still scores 33 points

For his part, with 62 points, Karl-Anthony Towns – chosen first position in the 2015 draft – improved his personal record by two points, but that was not enough during Minnesota’s defeat against the Charlotte Hornets (128-125). He nevertheless achieved a unique performance in NBA history: he is the first player to have scored at least ten 2-point shots, ten 3-point shots and ten free throws during the same game.

Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl-Anthony Towns (number 32) tries his luck against the Charlotte Hornets on January 22, 2024, in Minneapolis. ABBIE PARR / AP

“There are around fifteen of us in the teamsaid Wolves partner Anthony Edwards, who admitted after the match that he had stopped trying his luck in the hope that Towns would score even more. Fourteen of us wanted to see him reach 80 points! »


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Irony of history: the French Spurs, Victor Wembanyama, author of a great performance, with 33 points, just like the star of the Phoenix Suns, Kevin Durant, with 43 points against the Chicago Bulls, pale in comparison. heart of this totally irrational evening.

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