To find the last time two NBA players scored 50 points on the same night, you have to go all the way back to February 7, when Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokic both went for half-a-century (57 in Curry’s case), both in losing efforts.
The story was a little bit different on Friday night, when Jamal Murray scored 50 for the Nuggets in their 120-103 win in Cleveland, and Joel Embiid dropped 50 for the 76ers in a 112-105 home win over the Bulls. Murray scored his 50 on a cool 21-for-25 shooting night. And he made history becoming the first player to score 50 without taking a single foul shot.
Embiid needed one more shot than Murray, but his statline was even more ridiculous: 17-for-26 shooting, 17 rebounds, 5 assists, 15 of 17 free throws, 4 blocks, 2 steals. And the Sixers were playing without main distributor Ben Simmons, who also set a career-high this week with 42 on Monday against the Jazz.
“I’ll tell my kids one day that I was playing with Joel Embiid,” said teammate Tobias Harris. “When they ask who’s the best player I ever played with, I’ll say Joel Embiid.”
Embiid, 26, has taken his game to a new level this season, averaging 30.5 points on just 17.8 shots per game. All that while establishing himself as favorite for Defensive Player of the Year and, possibly, MVP.
Since we’re keeping track of these things, it’s the first time that there were 50-point games for a pair of winning teams in the NBA since February 21, 2003, when Tracy McGrady scored 52 for the Magic against the Bulls, and Jamal Mashburn of the New Orleans Hornets put 50 on the Grizzlies. It’s pretty rare, as the last time before that was Patrick Ewing against the original Charlotte Hornets and then-Clipper Charles Smith at Denver, on December 12, 1990.