Of the 12 50-point NBA games this season, only three have come with 10 assists, and here’s the list:
- Nikola Jokić, 50 points and 12 assists vs. the Sacramento Kings [February 6]
- Damian Lillard, 50 points and 10 assists vs. the New Orleans Pelicans [March 16]
- Kevin Porter Jr., 50 points and 11 assists vs. the Milwaukee Bucks [Last night]
If we played a game of, “Which name doesn’t belong?” we know the answer ... it’s Jokić, the only white dude here. I kid!
No, but really, Porter Jr.’s been through some things since being the 30th overall pick in the 2019 Draft, like a felony gun arrest earlier this season [charges have since been dropped] that might’ve led to his Jan. 21 trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Houston Rockets. Beyond that, the talented swingman — who, again, was a first-round pick a year-and-a-half earlier — was moved for a top-55 protected second round pick. Since there are only 60 picks in an NBA Draft, that pick probably won’t ever actually convey.
The USC-alum was also an arguable top-five NBA Draft talent heading into June, 2019 before he fell to 30. He was even voted the biggest steal of the draft by his own peers.
But as Giannis Antetokounmpo sprained his ankle in the game’s first minute, Porter rose up to lead the Houston Rockets past the otherwise healthy Milwaukee Bucks 143-136 in regulation. Porter not only had 50 points and 10 assists after earning a fine for being a good teammate, he made history on multiple fronts. He became the youngest player ever to have 50 points and 10 assists in a game, the youngest Houston Rocket to score 50 in franchise history, and the fourth 20-year-old to have a 50-point game. He also shot 16-of-26 from the field, 9-of-15 from three, 9-of-11 on free throws and was a game-best plus-19 on the floor.
He also looked like a certain other lefty shooting guard who became a star after being traded to Houston once upon a time.
Notable highlights among the notable highlights in there:
0:27 — The disrespectful double-crossover to freeze all-world defender Jrue Holiday en route to an off-hand lay in. [Any time a lefty stylishly lays up with his right hand on you, you gotta take the L, bruh].
1:32 — A full-court one-man fastbreak where Porter Jr. blows by Donte DiVincenzo and Brook Lopez before euro-stepping around Khris Middleton, drawing a foul, and-one!
1:45 — Turning away before the three-pointer is even made.
2:11 — Hitting the three in Lopez’s face and smiling at coach Stephen Silas, who could use one given the first year of coaching he’s had to endure.
2:31 — The dagger three over Holiday, who received most of Porter Jr. points early on.
In 23 games with the Rockets, Porter is averaging 16.7 points, and 6.4 assists per game. He’s earning that “biggest steal of the draft” rep.