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BBR Mailbag: Fewest Points by a Team’s Leading Scorer in a Game

Posted by Neil Paine on May 23, 2010

A short mailbag entry today, courtesy of a question from BBR reader Luka:

"What is the record for the lowest top scorer for a team in a NBA game?"

Well, we only have game-by-game box score data back to 1986-87, but in that span, the "record" for fewest points leading a team is 8 -- it was set on March 6, 2004, when Denver's Carmelo Anthony, Jon Barry, Earl Boykins, Marcus Camby, Voshon Lenard, and Rodney White all scored exactly 8 vs. Detroit:

The Nuggets lost the game by 31 points, though... The fewest points by a leading scorer in a win? Avery Johnson & Vernon "Mad Max" Maxwell scored 10 apiece to lead San Antonio over Cleveland on March 25, 1997, in what had to be one of the most unwatchable games in NBA history:

3 Responses to “BBR Mailbag: Fewest Points by a Team’s Leading Scorer in a Game”

  1. Ryan. Says:

    Sorry to keep posting these partially worthless questions Neil, but are you able to sort by largest drop in percentage? I imagine it makes quite a difference and is rather relative to their general production. Mad Max figures to be far less productive on average in comparison to Anthony.

  2. MCT Says:

    A variation on this question: the Playoff Records section NBA Guide has a category for fewest players scoring 10 or more points in a game. It indicates that the record is one, so there has never been a playoff game in NBA history where a team failed to have at least one player in double figures (the Guide isn't always crystal clear on this point, but this may be limited to the post-shot clock era). Unfortunately, the section of the Guide with regular season records does not have this category, so it can't tell us anything about what may have happened in the regular season before the point where box score coverage on this site picks up (1986-87).

    According to the Guide, there have been eleven occasions where a team has had only one double-digit scorer in a playoff game. Eight of these were between 1998 and 2004. The other three were the Warriors against the Lakers, April 21, 1973; the Suns against the Kansas City Kings, April 8, 1981; and the Jazz against the Spurs, April 28, 1994. The '98 Jazz are the only team to do it in the playoffs more than once in the same year, as well as the only team to do it in a Finals game.

  3. Nick Says:

    Weird box score. Is there any particular reason Johnson only played 14 minutes? The guy hadn't missed a shot.