When the Oklahoma City Thunder blew out the Boston Celtics by hanging 150 points on them without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, it was a notable achievement on several fronts. Not only did the Thunder upset the team with the best record in the league without their leading scorer, but OKC recorded a franchise record 150 points in defeating the league-leading Celtics by 33 points (150-117).
The Rare 20-20-20-20-20
The franchise record wasn’t the most-impressive record set that night. In dispatching the Celtics, the Thunder team achieved something only one NBA team had accomplished once before.
When Josh Giddey led the team in scoring with 25 points, he was joined by Lu Dort’s 23 points and 21 points from Jalen Willians, Isaiah Joe, and Tre Mann each. That’s five players on the same NBA team scoring at least 20 points each in a single game.
It’s worth an entire article because the 20-20-20-20-20 has only happened once before. Coincidentally, the only other time a 20 x 5 was accomplished was by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2019… with five different players that included Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Five OKC players scored 20+ tonight:
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) January 4, 2023
In December 2019, the Thunder defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 137-129 in overtime. In that game, Chris Paul scored 30 points to lead the Thunder. He was joined by SGA’s 29 points, Dennis Schröder’s 25 points, Steven Adam’s 22 points and Danilo Gallinari scored 21 points. Those five players combined scored 127 of the Thunder’s 139 points.
That 2019-20 Thunder team saw a consistent balanced offensive attack throughout the season. That balance allowed for those five players to hit the 20 point threshold in a single game for the firs time in NBA history.
|01/03/2022||Oklahoma City Thunder||Josh Giddey (25) Lu Dort (23) Jalen Willians (21) Isaiah Joe (21) and Tre Mann (21)||Boston Celtics||150-117|
|12/06/2019||Oklahoma City Thunder||Chris Paul (30) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (29) Dennis Schröder (25) Steven Adams (22) Danilo Gallinari (21)||Minnesota Timberwolves||139-127|
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The 20 x 5 is the rarest of NBA Records
The NBA is no doubt seeing scoring at historic levels this season. That’s also played into OKC being able to run up the score to 150 with 5 players contributing at least 20 to that total.
Still let’s unpack how rare of a NBA record a 20-20-20-20-20 is. At minimum, an NBA team must put up 100 points. Those one hundred points must be equally divided by five players with no other player scoring a point. That’s the absolute minimum.
As impressive as Donovan Mitchell’s 71 point performance was, there’s been seven times in NBA history that a single player has scored at least 70 points in a game. The 5 x 20 is even rarer than when ten players on the same team scoring in double figures in the same game — we’ll call that the 10-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-10-10.
The 10 x 10 has happened at least seven times in the history of the league. Obviously the threshold is lower for a 10 x 10 and one can envision a game where a team is blowing out their opponent by halftime and the reserves get the bulk of the minutes in the second half.
The 20-20-20-20-20? That’s only happened twice in NBA history and both occurred in Oklahoma City.