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Best Christmas Performances (Individual & Team)

Posted by Neil Paine on December 24, 2010

In honor of the Christmas Day games tomorrow, here are some great Christmas performances from the past. First, the best individual games (from 1986-2009) according to "APMVAL", the adjusted plus/minus-based game score metric I introduced here:

Player Date Tm Op GS MP FG FGA 3M 3A FT FTA TS% OR TR AS ST BK TO PF PT VAL
D. Wade 12/25/2006 MIA LAL 1 41.3 12 20 1 1 15 16 74.0 0 4 11 4 4 4 2 40 1330
T. McGrady 12/25/2003 ORL CLE 1 50.0 15 29 5 9 6 9 62.2 2 8 11 3 1 2 1 41 1233
S. Webb 12/25/1989 ATL CLE 1 43.0 12 14 0 0 2 2 87.4 1 6 12 1 1 1 1 26 1116
D. Nowitzki 12/25/2003 DAL SAC 1 47.0 9 22 3 6 10 10 58.7 1 14 5 3 3 0 4 31 1056
T. McGrady 12/25/2002 ORL DET 1 44.0 14 26 0 3 18 21 65.3 1 6 1 3 0 1 2 46 1038
A. Johnson 12/25/1995 SAS PHO 1 44.0 7 17 0 0 5 6 48.4 1 4 12 4 0 0 0 19 888
M. Malone 12/25/1986 WSB PHI 1 41.0 11 28 0 1 6 10 43.2 10 21 1 3 5 0 2 28 877
B. Roy 12/25/2009 POR DEN 1 43.4 16 26 3 6 6 6 71.6 2 6 4 1 0 2 3 41 876
A. Stoudemire 12/25/2009 PHO LAC 1 32.1 10 15 0 0 6 7 71.9 5 9 3 2 1 0 3 26 857
S. Elliott 12/25/1992 SAS LAC 1 43.0 11 14 1 3 9 13 81.1 0 3 8 1 0 3 1 32 852
S. Pippen 12/25/1991 CHI BOS 1 34.0 9 18 0 1 9 10 60.3 0 4 8 4 0 2 1 27 842
D. Armstrong 12/25/2002 ORL DET 0 27.0 3 6 1 1 1 2 58.1 2 6 7 5 2 0 1 8 840
S. Nash 12/25/2007 PHO LAL 1 36.2 8 18 5 10 3 4 60.7 0 2 14 3 1 3 1 24 837
M. Jordan 12/25/1990 CHI DET 1 43.0 14 23 1 1 8 10 67.5 3 8 3 3 2 3 5 37 818
D. Wilkins 12/25/1987 ATL PHI 1 41.0 17 28 0 0 11 12 67.6 2 9 3 0 0 3 2 45 809
Player Date Tm Opp GS MP FG FGA 3M 3A FT FTA TS% OR TR AS ST BK TO PF PT VAL
E. Jones 12/25/1996 LAL PHO 1 34.0 9 16 3 5 3 6 64.4 1 2 2 5 1 0 3 24 808
C. Barkley 12/25/1993 PHO HOU 1 47.0 15 27 1 4 7 9 61.4 2 18 4 1 1 4 2 38 805
M. Williams 12/25/2009 CLE LAL 1 39.2 8 13 3 3 9 10 80.5 1 6 7 1 1 4 0 28 782
T. Parker 12/25/2008 SAS PHO 1 35.2 10 23 1 2 6 7 51.8 0 3 8 4 1 1 2 27 772
J. Hornacek 12/25/1997 UTA HOU 1 39.0 7 13 4 4 2 2 72.0 1 3 9 2 0 1 1 20 768
D. Stoudamire 12/25/2000 POR LAL 1 40.0 8 15 1 3 10 13 65.2 2 9 9 1 0 1 4 27 763
S. Pippen 12/25/1996 CHI DET 1 41.0 11 25 5 10 0 0 54.0 3 8 8 2 2 1 3 27 758
K. Garnett 12/25/2008 BOS LAL 1 37.3 11 14 0 1 0 0 78.6 0 9 2 1 1 0 2 22 757
T. McGrady 12/25/2000 ORL IND 1 44.0 13 31 2 4 15 19 54.6 2 9 1 0 2 0 2 43 753
S. Pippen 12/25/1994 CHI NYK 1 53.0 11 28 3 10 11 17 50.7 0 16 3 5 2 4 4 36 742
M. Jackson 12/25/2001 NYK TOR 1 34.0 3 5 1 2 6 6 85.1 0 9 11 1 0 1 2 13 729
M. Cheeks 12/25/1987 PHI ATL 1 40.0 7 9 0 1 4 4 83.6 0 1 7 3 0 2 0 18 727
D. Wade 12/25/2009 MIA NYK 1 38.2 11 21 1 2 7 8 61.2 1 9 5 4 0 4 2 30 714
R. Butler 12/25/2009 LAC PHO 1 33.3 9 16 2 7 2 2 65.2 3 7 1 1 2 0 0 22 709
S. O'Neal 12/25/2002 LAL SAC 1 41.0 8 19 0 0 11 16 51.8 8 17 5 0 3 2 1 27 694

And for fans of John Hollinger's game score, here are the best Christmas performances according to that metric since 1986:

Player Date Tm Opp GS MP FG FGA 3M 3A FT FTA TS% OR TR AS ST BK TO PF PT GSc
D. Wade 12/25/2006 MIA LAL 1 41.3 12 20 1 1 15 16 74.0 0 4 11 4 4 4 2 40 41.3
T. McGrady 12/25/2003 ORL CLE 1 50.0 15 29 5 9 6 9 62.2 2 8 11 3 1 2 1 41 37.7
T. McGrady 12/25/2002 ORL DET 1 44.0 14 26 0 3 18 21 65.3 1 6 1 3 0 1 2 46 36.3
D. Wilkins 12/25/1987 ATL PHI 1 41.0 17 28 0 0 11 12 67.6 2 9 3 0 0 3 2 45 33.6
B. Roy 12/25/2009 POR DEN 1 43.4 16 26 3 6 6 6 71.6 2 6 4 1 0 2 3 41 32.4
S. Webb 12/25/1989 ATL CLE 1 43.0 12 14 0 0 2 2 87.4 1 6 12 1 1 1 1 26 31.9
M. Jordan 12/25/1990 CHI DET 1 43.0 14 23 1 1 8 10 67.5 3 8 3 3 2 3 5 37 30.8
D. Nowitzki 12/25/2003 DAL SAC 1 47.0 9 22 3 6 10 10 58.7 1 14 5 3 3 0 4 31 30.8
C. Barkley 12/25/1993 PHO HOU 1 47.0 15 27 1 4 7 9 61.4 2 18 4 1 1 4 2 38 30.2
T. McGrady 12/25/2000 ORL IND 1 44.0 13 31 2 4 15 19 54.6 2 9 1 0 2 0 2 43 29.7
S. Elliott 12/25/1992 SAS LAC 1 43.0 11 14 1 3 9 13 81.1 0 3 8 1 0 3 1 32 29.1
A. Bynum 12/25/2007 LAL PHO 1 42.0 11 13 0 0 6 8 84.7 8 12 4 0 2 3 5 28 28.5
K. Bryant 12/25/2007 LAL PHO 1 41.3 12 20 1 3 13 14 72.6 2 5 7 2 0 8 4 38 28.0
M. Malone 12/25/1986 WSB PHI 1 41.0 11 28 0 1 6 10 43.2 10 21 1 3 5 0 2 28 27.9
K. Johnson 12/25/1993 PHO HOU 1 45.0 14 24 0 1 8 10 63.4 0 3 9 2 0 4 4 36 27.6
Player Date Tm Opp GS MP FG FGA 3M 3A FT FTA TS% OR TR AS ST BK TO PF PT GSc
M. Jordan 12/25/1992 CHI NYK 1 41.0 15 34 0 4 12 16 51.2 0 8 5 3 1 4 2 42 27.4
A. Stoudemire 12/25/2009 PHO LAC 1 32.1 10 15 0 0 6 7 71.9 5 9 3 2 1 0 3 26 27.4
D. Stoudamire 12/25/2000 POR LAL 1 40.0 8 15 1 3 10 13 65.2 2 9 9 1 0 1 4 27 26.7
M. Williams 12/25/2009 CLE LAL 1 39.2 8 13 3 3 9 10 80.5 1 6 7 1 1 4 0 28 26.5
S. O'Neal 12/25/2002 LAL SAC 1 41.0 8 19 0 0 11 16 51.8 8 17 5 0 3 2 1 27 26.4
S. Pippen 12/25/1994 CHI NYK 1 53.0 11 28 3 10 11 17 50.7 0 16 3 5 2 4 4 36 26.1
S. Pippen 12/25/1991 CHI BOS 1 34.0 9 18 0 1 9 10 60.3 0 4 8 4 0 2 1 27 26.0
D. Wade 12/25/2009 MIA NYK 1 38.2 11 21 1 2 7 8 61.2 1 9 5 4 0 4 2 30 25.1
S. Nash 12/25/2007 PHO LAL 1 36.2 8 18 5 10 3 4 60.7 0 2 14 3 1 3 1 24 24.9
S. O'Neal 12/25/1999 LAL SAS 1 38.0 13 22 0 0 6 12 58.7 3 11 2 0 5 2 5 32 24.8
C. Anthony 12/25/2009 DEN POR 1 39.8 11 23 1 2 9 10 58.4 4 9 4 0 0 1 4 32 24.4
S. Pippen 12/25/1996 CHI DET 1 41.0 11 25 5 10 0 0 54.0 3 8 8 2 2 1 3 27 24.3
C. Barkley 12/25/1995 PHO SAS 1 45.0 9 22 1 5 10 12 53.2 3 15 7 0 1 2 4 29 24.1
H. Olajuwon 12/25/1995 HOU ORL 1 42.0 12 26 0 0 6 6 52.4 4 12 6 0 1 1 4 30 24.1
T. Parker 12/25/2008 SAS PHO 1 35.2 10 23 1 2 6 7 51.8 0 3 8 4 1 1 2 27 23.9

Finally, let's look at the best team performances on Christmas, according to point differential above average (calculated by comparing the team's margin of victory to the opponent's Simple Rating):

Season Lg Date Team SRS Pts Opp SRS Pts Margin Mgn vs. Avg
1961 NBA 12/25/1960 SYR 1.92 162 NYK -5.44 100 62 +56.57
1974 NBA 12/25/1973 PHO -3.20 135 LAL 0.85 100 35 +35.85
2003 NBA 12/25/2002 NJN 4.42 117 BOS -0.75 81 36 +35.26
1954 NBA 12/25/1953 FTW 1.44 108 BOS 1.97 79 29 +30.97
1972 NBA 12/25/1971 PHO 5.57 116 SEA 0.86 86 30 +30.86
1980 NBA 12/25/1979 NYK -0.96 131 NJN -0.98 102 29 +28.02
1972 NBA 12/25/1971 NYK 2.28 114 GSW 0.92 89 25 +25.92
1992 NBA 12/25/1991 CHI 10.07 121 BOS 3.42 99 22 +25.42
2010 NBA 12/25/2009 PHO 4.68 124 LAC -6.01 93 31 +24.99
1994 NBA 12/25/1993 PHO 4.68 111 HOU 4.19 91 20 +24.19
1972 ABA 12/25/1971 UTS 5.16 150 INA 2.72 129 21 +23.72
1984 NBA 12/25/1983 POR 3.13 141 LAL 3.32 121 20 +23.32
1981 NBA 12/25/1980 PHO 4.83 131 SAS 2.18 111 20 +22.18
2006 NBA 12/25/2005 DET 6.23 85 SAS 6.69 70 15 +21.69
1971 NBA 12/25/1970 BAL 0.91 128 CHI 5.47 112 16 +21.47
Season Lg Date Team SRS Pts Opp SRS Pts Margin Mgn vs. Avg
2009 NBA 12/25/2008 ORL 6.49 88 NOH 1.41 68 20 +21.41
1997 NBA 12/25/1996 LAL 3.66 108 PHO 0.21 87 21 +21.21
1989 NBA 12/25/1988 UTA 4.02 101 LAL 6.38 87 14 +20.38
2010 NBA 12/25/2009 CLE 6.17 102 LAL 4.78 87 15 +19.78
1948 BAA 12/25/1947 BLB 3.70 87 CHS 2.66 70 17 +19.66
1977 NBA 12/25/1976 PHO 0.64 113 LAL 2.65 96 17 +19.65
1975 NBA 12/25/1974 PHO -2.35 110 BOS 5.41 96 14 +19.41
1962 NBA 12/25/1961 CHP -7.54 118 DET -1.72 97 21 +19.28
1948 BAA 12/25/1947 WSC 2.57 73 STB 2.13 56 17 +19.13
1977 NBA 12/25/1976 WSB 0.90 117 CLE 1.08 99 18 +19.08
1986 NBA 12/25/1985 NYK -4.82 113 BOS 9.06 104 9 +18.06
1993 NBA 12/25/1992 CHI 6.19 89 NYK 5.87 77 12 +17.87
1980 NBA 12/25/1979 POR -0.87 113 GSW -4.20 91 22 +17.80
1966 NBA 12/25/1965 STL -0.50 131 NYK -2.31 111 20 +17.69
1997 NBA 12/25/1996 CHI 10.70 95 DET 5.45 83 12 +17.45

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9 Responses to “Best Christmas Performances (Individual & Team)”

  1. Jason J Says:

    So Armstrong puts up 8 points and 7 dimes in 27 minutes with a 58% TS and that's better than Nash's 24 and 14 in 37 minutes with a 61% TS? I don't understand math.

  2. Neil Paine Says:

    I'm not saying I agree with it, but plus/minus loves versatility (i.e., good numbers in many categories), really loves steals, and hates turnovers. Armstrong had 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, & 2 blocks, shot a good %, and had 0 turnovers. Nash had the 24 pts and 14 dimes with the strong shooting %, but he had fewer rebounds, steals, & blocks with more turnovers. Again, not saying I agree, but that's the formula.

  3. DSMok1 Says:

    Neil--have you seen the latest iteration of my single-game ASPM? It's set up now so that it does not require any information outside of the game but the league averages that year and the team ratings in the game (for SoS adjustent).

    It's in my spreadsheet here: (see the lower post) http://sonicscentral.com/apbrmetrics/viewtopic.php?p=32890#32890

    I'm still working on revising and finalizing the whole spreadsheet--you broke several pieces by adding columns to the advanced team stats here! (I'll fix that soon.)

  4. Sean Says:

    Best Christmas game in history is probably Bernard King's 60 point game from 1984, Knicks vs. Nets.

  5. Sean Says:

    For anyone who wants to do the math, here is Bernard King's complete line:
    41 minutes
    19-30 fg
    0-0 3pt
    22-26 ft
    2 offensive rebounds
    5 defensive rebounds
    7 total rebounds
    4 assists
    0 steals
    0 blocks
    5 turnovers
    2 fouls
    60 points

    Happy holidays!

  6. P Middy Says:

    Bron should get into the list after this year's performance. 27 points, 11 rebounds (1 off), 10 assists, 4 steals, 8-14 FG, 5-6 3PFG, 6-6 FT, 1 TO.

  7. Gabe Says:

    Of course two of McGrady's performances from when he was just other-worldly are near the top of the lists.

  8. lorrance Says:

    Where would Durants game be on this list?

  9. Neil Paine Says:

    Here were the Christmas 2010 games that made the lists, plus Bernard King's 1984 performance:

    Player Tm Opp GS MP SP FG FGA 3P 3PA FT FTA OR TR AS ST BK TO PF PTS VAL GSc
    L. James MIA LAL 1 38 11 8 14 5 6 6 6 1 11 10 4 0 1 2 27 1265.6 33.3
    K. Durant OKC DEN 1 40 58 14 20 4 7 12 15 1 7 4 2 2 5 2 44 1068.0 37.3
    M. Ellis GSW POR 1 45 50 13 26 3 5 10 11 1 2 7 2 1 1 3 39 914.6 32.0
    C. Billups DEN OKC 1 38 51 10 16 3 4 7 7 0 3 3 2 0 2 4 30 664.2 24.2
    B. King '84 NYK NJN 1 41 0 19 30 0 0 22 26 2 7 4 0 0 5 2 60 1042.6 44.9