UTAH JAZZ

Was 59 Point Embiid Performance Best Ever By Jazz Opponent?

Nov 14, 2022, 3:15 PM
Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers...
Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts during the second half of the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Wells Fargo Center on December 25, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia 76ers won 121-109. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – Joel Embiid had a performance for the ages on Sunday with his 59 point, 11 rebound, eight assist, seven block outing in a 105-98 Philadelphia 76ers victory over the Utah Jazz.

Embiid is the first player to record at least 50 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and five rejections in the same game since the NBA began tracking blocks in the 1973-74 season.

But, was the 59 point performance from Embiid the best ever by a Jazz opponent?

Best Regular Season Performances Against The Jazz

George Gervin: 63 points – April 9, 1978

The “Iceman” George Gervin owns the single-game scoring record against the Jazz, scoring 63 points in April of 1978.

Gervin, a future Hall of Famer for the San Antonio Spurs is one of only two players to score at least 60 points against the Jazz and did so without attempting a single three-point shot.

The potent scorer connected on 23-49 field goal attempts, and 17-20 free throws, but the Spurs were on the wrong side of a 153-132 pummeling by the then New Orleans Jazz in the final game of the regular season.

Notably, Gervin needed 59 points that night to beat David Thompson for the scoring title and cleared the mark with room to spare.

Kobe Bryant: 60 points – April 13, 2016

The only other opponent to break the 60 point mark against the Jazz, Kobe Bryant did so on the final game of his career in front of a sold-out Staples Center crowd.

Bryant scored 60 points on 22-50 shooting, including 6-21 from the three-point line and 10-12 from the free-throw line.

The Lakers barely beat the Jazz 101-96 in what is regarded as one of the greatest send-offs in NBA history.

Bryant, at 37 years old, is the oldest player to score at least 60 points in a game. The next closest is guard Stephen Curry who did so as a 32-year-old.

Devin Booker: 59 points – March 25, 2019

In one of the most shameless performances in recent memory, Devin Booker scored 59 points against the Jazz at Vivint Arena, setting the record for most points recorded by a Jazz opponent on their home floor.

The Jazz blew out the Suns 125-92, and with the game well out of hand in the fourth quarter, Booker was subbed out with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter.

While fans in the state of Utah rooted for former BYU guard Jimmer Fredette to record a basket for the Suns in the waning minutes of the game, Booker was put back onto the floor with just under three minutes remaining.

Fredette, hungry to please local fans shot 1-10 in 14 minutes, while Booker brazenly hunted shots to break the 60 point mark.

With seconds remaining in the game, Jazz coach Quin Snyder had his team intentionally foul Suns guard De’Anthony Melton, putting him at the foul line, and keeping the ball out of Booker’s hands.

The move restored what little dignity was left after the Suns’ paltry display, and Booker failed to break the 60 point mark as his team was crushed by 33 points.

Damian Lillard: 59 points – April 8, 2017

With the Portland Trail Blazers fighting for playoff positioning late in the season, Damian Lillard poured in one of the best clutch performances in NBA history.

The former Weber State guard willed the Trail Blazers to victory with a staggering 59 point outing in the third to final game of the season, setting a new franchise single-game scoring record.

Lillard connected on 18-34 field goal attempts including 9-20 from the three-point line as the Blazers kept their two-game lead over the Denver Nuggets, ultimately qualifying for the postseason as the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Incredibly, Lillard did all of his scoring in the first, third, and fourth quarters after going scoreless in the second.

Michael Redd: 57 points – November 11, 2006

Nearly 16 years to the day before Joel Embiid had his superhuman outing against the Jazz, Bucks guard Michael Redd had a similar scoring effort in Milwaukee.

The sharpshooting Redd scored 57 points on 18-32 shooting including 6-12 from the three-point line while connecting on 15-17 from the free throw line.

The Jazz led by 21 at halftime, and Redd had scored only 15 points through the first two quarters of the game.

However, the Ohio State product exploded in the second half scoring 42 points as the Bucks tied the game at 111 with seven seconds left to play.

Matt Harpring’s layup on the ensuing possession gave the Jazz a 113-111 lead as Redd’s desperation three at the buzzer came up just shy.

The 57 point outing remains the single-game record for the Bucks franchise.

Was Embiid’s Performance The Best Ever?

With the list of the five highest-scoring outputs against the Utah Jazz above, how does Joel Embiid’s 59 point outing stack up?

It lacks the historic importance of Bryant’s career finale, and its impact on the playoff standings doesn’t match Lillard’s performance.

However, Embiid’s numbers weren’t a result of a charade like Gervin, Bryant, and Booker who hunted shots for ulterior motives.

When it’s all said and done, there’s a good argument the 59 point performance from Embiid is the best ever from a Jazz opponent.

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