These are Isiah Thomas’ career highs in points, assists (and video highlights)

Isiah Thomas nba career highs

With his team down at the end of halftime in Game 6 for the 1988 NBA Finals, Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons came out running. Thomas scored 14 points in succession, racking up an impressive comeback before disaster struck.


With four minutes left before what was sure to be another heated quarter facing off against the reigning Magic and his champion Lakers, Isiah Thomas was dealt a blow – landing on an opponent’s foot after a jump shot, Thomas had to be helped from the floor before play could resume. Only thirty-five seconds later, just enough time to have it declared a severe sprain, Thomas returned to the court – injured – to put up an additional 25 points.

Before some started calling Stephen Curry the baby-faced assassin, Isiah was the first to take on that moniker for he was known for a wide, genuine smile and easy laugh, but on the court, was known to do whatever he could muster to win including taking and hitting big shots during the game’s biggest moments.

Thomas, in a 13-year career with the Detroit Pistons, showed that the little guy on the court could play a big game. In his rookie year, the second overall pick in the 1981 draft, “Zeke” as he was also known as was named to the All Rookie team and started for the All-Star game after bringing Detroit to third in the Central Division. As his career progressed, Isiah appeared in 12 consecutive All-Star games, won two NBA titles and is not only highly-regarded as one of the league’s best point guards, but one of the best players of all-time.


It’s not uncommon to hear Thomas’ name immediately after Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, the three deities of the 1980s.

Isiah Thomas Career Highs and Stats

POINTS: With a career average of 19.2 points per game, Isiah Thomas wasn’t known for his scoring. However, he had a singularly spectacular scoring game against the Denver Nuggets in December of 1983. Thomas led his team in scoring, but the Nuggets fought hard through a game that reached a third overtime. His career high 47 points attributed to the squeaked-by win over Denver, pushing the final score to 186 over 184 in triple overtime.

With a combined point total of 370, that Detroit-Denver game is still the highest scoring NBA game of all-time.

REBOUNDS: Despite being 6’1” and on the short side of the NBA height average – 6’7” between the 1985-2006 seasons – Isiah Thomas was able to reach a career high of 11 rebounds in three separate games. One occasion of this came in his early career, a 1987 matchup between Detroit and their neighboring rival Chicago Bulls. Despite a predictably high score from Michael Jordan, the Pistons grabbed a home court win, 94-92.

Isiah Thomas passing assists career high

ASSISTS: In a game that netted the 1984-85 Pistons a win in Dallas, Isiah continued to place himself as an all-around threat on the court. While he racked up the second highest scoring for the starters in Detroit, Thomas also dished 25 assists to his teammates. This showing earned him a spot on the top ten list of most assists in a single game and put his Pistons at a 124-119 over the Mavericks.


STEALS: In 1990, the Pistons had become known as the “Bad Boys of Basketball” with the addition of Dennis Rodman and Joe Dumars to the starting lineup alongside Isiah. Perhaps it was their influence that inspired a career high in steals for Thomas in a game against the Indiana Pacers. Using his trademark quickness, Thomas pushed the Pacers hard with 7 steals on their home court. Detroit rose above Indiana, 121 to 115, and finished the season with the title and a Finals MVP trophy for Thomas.

Isiah Thomas' Career Highs
Category Career High Opp.
Points 47 DEN
Rebounds 11 3x
Assists 25 DAL
Steals 7 IND

Isiah Thomas proved himself a force not to be underestimated during his 13-year career with the Detroit Pistons. When he retired, he did so as the all-time leader in scoring, assists, steals and games played for the franchise.

Even late in his career, Thomas was putting up career high numbers in minutes played in a single game (51 at Dallas in 1990), three-pointers made (5 versus Utah in 1993), and offensive rebounds (5 in Houston, 1993). His playing career brought him to an honored spot on the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Thomas served as the president of the NBA Players Association, leading to a natural transition into coaching, management positions including being named president of the WNBA and CBA leagues. Thomas is also a regular contributor to NBATV.

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