Notable moments mark 2017-18 NBA regular season
NBA.com Global on Apr 13, 2018 11:37 AM
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Kobe Bryant speaks at his jersey retirement ceremony during halftime of a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
NBA.com staff report
Each regular season in the NBA is replete with its own trail of memorable moments. The 2017-18 campaign was no different, as statistical milestones and one notable jersey retirement stood out in a season filled with standout occurrences.
Here is a look back at some notable moments and milestones from the 2017-18 season:
Curry hits 2,000th career 3-pointer
In his Hall of Fame career, shooting guard Ray Allen set an NBA record by making 2,973 3-pointers in his career. At the rate current Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is going, he may pass Allen sooner rather than later.
On Dec. 4, 2017 (Dec. 5, 2017, PHL time) against the New Orleans Pelicans, Curry added another milestone to his already rich career by making the 2,000th three-pointer in his career. The former two-time Kia Most Valuable Player award winner has made every one of those three-pointers in a Golden State uniform (Allen made his as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat).
Making the achievement even more impressive is the time it took him to reach it. He needed just 597 games to do so, 225 fewer than the previous record-holder, Allen himself. Additionally, Curry is one of just eight players in NBA history with 2,000 or more made three-pointers.
Despite having his season shortened by an left MCL injury, Curry still managed to make 212 three-pointers in 2017-18, marking the sixth straight season he has made 200 or more three-pointers.
Fewest Games to reach 2,000 career 3PM
Stephen Curry - 597
Ray Allen - 824
Kyle Korver - 1015
Reggie Miller - 1077
Jamal Crawford - 1152
Jason Terry - 1161
Lakers retire Bryant's jerseys
For a generation of Lakers fans, former MVP winner and five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant represents all that makes the franchise one of the NBA's most notable ever. Accomplishments like 33,570 career points, 18 All-Star selections, 15 All-NBA selections, four All-Star MVPs and two Finals MVPs have a way of doing that for a guy.
In a ceremony on Dec. 18 (Dec. 19, PHL time) at Staples Center, the Lakers retired Bryant's No. 8 jersey (which he wore from 1996-97 until 2005-06) and his No. 24 (which he wore from 2006-07 until his retirement in 2015-16). He became the 10th player in team history to have his number(s) retired, joining Hall of Famers such as Magic Johnson, James Worthy, George Mikan, Jerry West, Shaquille O'Neal, Wilt Chamberlain and others.
It was an emotional moment for Bryant, who was called the 'greatest ever to wear purple and gold' by the Laker many associate with that honor: Johnson himself.
Durant scores 20,000th career point
In a five season stretch from 2009-10 to 2013-14, Kevin Durant captured four scoring titles. He has never averaged less than 20.3 ppg in a season in his career and he has scored 30 or more points in a game 335 times in his career.
All said, he's someone who knows a thing or two about getting buckets in the NBA. In a 125-106 loss to the LA Clippers on Jan. 10 (Jan. 11, PHL time), Durant scored his 20,000th career point, doing so in the 737th game in his career. Durant was 29 years and 103 days old when he reached 20,000 career points, making him the second-youngest to do so (trailing only LeBron James, who did it at 28 years and 17 days old).
Entering 2017-18, Durant had earned the Kia Rookie of the Year Award (2008), All-Star Game MVP (2012), Kia Most Valuable Player Award (2014), the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award (2017), an NBA championship (2017), eight All-Star appearances and seven All-NBA honors in his career.
LeBron enters 30,000-point club
In a game against a team he once won an NBA championship against, LeBron James accomplished another feat he won't soon forget. His jumper with one second left in the first quarter on Jan. 23 (Jan. 24, PHL time) pushed him into the NBA's 30,000-point club, making him the seventh player to accomplish that feat.
Although James' Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the San Antonio Spurs 114-102 that night, his accomplishment was the storyline more than the game itself. He became the youngest ever to reach 30,000 career points, doing so at 33 years and 24 days old (Former rival Kobe Bryant held the record previously, reaching 30,000 points when he was 34 years and 104 days old).
The 33-year-old James joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the list.
"It's an awesome achievement," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said, "but what else do you say about LeBron that we haven't said many times before? He's just a great, great competitor and a great player."
Anthony hits scoring milestone
LeBron James. Dirk Nowitzki. Carmelo Anthony. That's the list of active players who have scored 25,000 or more points in the NBA.
Anthony became the 21st player overall to reach 25,000 points when he nailed a free throw in the third quarter of the Oklahoma City Thunder's game against the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 27 (Jan. 28, PHL time). In his career -- which spanned time with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Thunder -- Anthony scored 13,970 points with Denver, 10,186 points with the Knicks and 845 for Oklahoma City when he set the mark.
In his 16 seasons, Anthony has averaged roughly 1,580 points per season. If he were to put up that total in 2018-19, he would have a shot at passing Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon (26,946) for 11th on the all-time list.
Paul logs 2,000th career steal
With a steal off Nikola Mirotic of the New Orleans Pelicans on March 17 (Mar. 18, PHL time), Houston Rockets point guard Chris Paul added to his statistical legacy in the NBA.
Paul's steal gave him 2,000 in his career, making him the 12th player to accomplish that feat. He also joined Hall of Famers Gary Payton, John Stockton and Jason Kidd as the only players with 8,000 assists and 2,000 steals.
Paul entered this season with 1,912 career steals, which had him at 16th place all-time in that category. Before reaching the 2,000-steal mark, Paul passed Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (1,944 career steals), Dallas Mavericks legend Derek Harper (1,957) and Hall of Famer Allen Iverson (1,983).
In his career, Paul has led the NBA in total steals five times (2005-06, '07-08, '08-09, '10-11 and '11-12) and steals per game six times ('07-08, '08-09, '10-11, '11-12, '12-13 and '13-14).
Rockets set single-season wins mark
Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Calvin Murphy, Elvin Hayes, Yao Ming and Hakeem Olajuwon all made their mark in Houston Rockets history. Yet none of them was able to do what James Harden, Chris Paul and the rest of this season's crew did in the regular season.
In a 114-91 romp against the New Orleans Pelicans on March 24 (Mar. 25, PHL time), the Rockets won their 59th game of the season to set a franchise record. The old mark for wins was held by the 1993-94 Olajuwon-led NBA championship team, who had the second-best record in the NBA that season. These Rockets, however, have possessed the NBA's top mark for virtually the entire season -- supplanting the Golden State Warriors in that department.
Not to be content with that 59-win mark, the Rockets logged their first 60-win season with a 118-99 win against the Atlanta Hawks a day later.
Overall, Houston finished 65-17, which may bode well for its playoff future. Entering the 2016-17 season, 20 teams in NBA history had logged 65 or more wins. Of that group, only four teams -- the 1972-73 Celtics, the 2006-07 Mavericks, the 2008-09 Cavs and the 2015-16 Warriors -- failed to win the title.
Westbrook averages triple-double (again)
Oklahoma City Thunder guard and reigning Kia MVP winner Russell Westbrook locked up a triple-double average with five days to go in the 2016-17 campaign. He did so again in 2017-18, but it took a monstrous game on the season's final night to wrap it up.
Westbrook finished with 20 rebounds in an April 11 (April 12, PHL time) win against the Memphis Grizzlies, pushing his season rebounding average to 10.1. That, combined with his scoring averages (25.4 ppg) and NBA-leading assists average (10.3) gave him a second straight season of averaging a triple-double.
No other player in NBA history has averaged a triple-double in multiple seasons, let alone back-to-back. Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who averaged a triple-double in 1961-62, was close to doing so in 1963-64 but ultimately fell seven rebounds shy of the feat.
Westbrook logged 25 triple-doubles in 2017-18 and he has 104 career triple-doubles, the fourth most in NBA history. Hall of Famer Jason Kidd ranks third all time with 107 triple-doubles, while Robertson is the all-time career triple-doubles leader with 181.