With the playoffs in full swing, we take a look back at the 2009-2010 regular season and the more important records and milestones broken and set in the NBA this year.
Lebron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
It was about a month ago, against the Chicago Bulls (who beat the Cavs last night, making it 2-1 for Cleveland in their first round series) that LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 15,000 points in his career, finishing the night with 29 points and 11 boards. He finished the season with his career mark at 15,251 points, 110th all-time. He’s 18th among active players, with Grant Hill above him at 17th.
LeBron also became the Cavs’ all-time leader in minutes played on March 5 as the Cavs beat the Piston 99-92, surpassing Žydrūnas Ilgauskas. LeBron finished the season with a career mark of 22,108 minutes, 40.3 minutes per game for his career, the 5th highest all time.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
January 21, 2010 – The Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Lakers for the second time this season (finals preview?) 93-87 with LeBron having another monster night with 37 points and 9 assists. Kobe scored 31, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to score 25,000 points in his career. He finished the season with 25,790 points, putting him at 12th all-time, 605 points shy of John Havlicek. He’ll make the top 10 next season. Another big milestone for Kobe this year came about 10 days later, February 1. Again, a Lakers loss, this time to the Memphis Gizzlies, 95-93. Kobe scored 44 points in that losing effort, but he surpassed Jerry Wests’ 25,192 points as a Laker and became the number one scorer in Los Angeles Lakers history, with West, Jabbar, Baylor and Magic trailing him.
Brandon Jennings, Milwaukee Bucks
This was probably the biggest thing in the early part of this season – Less than two months after his 20th birthday, Brandon Jennings exploded for 55 points in the Bucks’ 129-125 win against the Warriors. He became the youngest player in NBA history to score more than 50 points, and missed the all-time rookie record of 58, posted by none over than Wilt Chamberlain by 3 points. Jennings finished the season with 15.5 points per game, leading the Bucks into the playoffs for the first time since 2006.
Jason Kidd, Dallas Mavericks
Eleven days later, on November 25, 2009, Jason Kidd dished out 7 assists in the Dallas Mavericks’ win against the Houston Rockets (130-99), reaching 10,337, overtaking Marc Jackson’s second place on the NBA’s all-time career assists list. Kidd finished the season with 724 assists, averaging 9.1 per game (5th in the league). His career mark is now at 10,923, almost 5000 less than the probably untouchable John Stockton with 15,806. Kidd’s career average of 9.2 is 6th best all-time.
Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
Durant had a huge night against the Lakers on Thursday, leading the Thunder to their first playoff win since leaving Seattle, scoring 29 points and grabbing 17 boards, cutting the Lakers’ lead to 2-1 in their first round series. In an incredible season for Durant and OKC, Kevin became the youngest player ever to win the NBA’s scoring title, averaging 30.1 points per game, beating LeBron James by 0.4 points as James got to sit out for the final week or so of the regular season. More than that, Durant emerged as one of the biggest start in the league this season, looking like a scoring champions for many years to come and a perennial MVP candidate in the future.
Chris Bosh, Toronto Raptors
On January 3, 2010, Chris Bosh scored 22 points as the Toronto Raptors beat the San Antonio Spurs 91-86, becoming the franchise’s all time leading scorer, reaching 9,428 points, beating Vince Carter’s 9,420. Bosh finished the season with 10,275 career points and is the first Raptor to pass the 10,000 mark. Despite having a great season, averaging 24 points with 10.8 rebounds per game, The Raptors missed the playoffs, mostly due to Bosh missing games late in the season, sidelined by injury. There’s a good chance CB4 won’t be playing in Canada from next season.
Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
January 13, 2010 – The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Dallas Maverick 100-95. Dirk Nowitzki, the best Mavs player ever, scores 30 points, becoming the first European player to score 20,000 career points. Nowiztki finished the season averaging 25 points per game, with his career mark set at 21,111, 32nd best all-time and 5th among active players. However, Nowitzki isn’t the first European-BORN player to reach 20,000, as Dominique Wilkins, born in Paris, France, did it before, finishing his career with 26,668 points, 10th best all-time.
Josh Smith, Atlanta Hawks
On February 2, Josh Smith, at the age of 24, became the youngest player in NBA history to block 1,000 shots in his career, during the Hawks’ loss to the Thunder. Smith finished the season with 173 blocks, 2.1 per game, third in the NBA this season. His 1,070 career blocks is good for 68th all-time and 15th among active players.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Six seasons into his NBA career, Dwight Howard managed to become the first player in NBA history to lead the league in both rebounds and blocks in the same season twice. Howard averaged 13.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, lower than his 13.8-2.9 mark of last season. This is also the third consecutive season he has led the league in rebounds. Howard is 72nd all time in Blocks, 17th among active players. His career rebounding average of 12.7 is the best among active players.
Kyle Korver, Utah Jazz
Kyle Korver didn’t have a great season, missing 30 games and not starting even one for the Utah Jazz, but he did set a new NBA record, hitting 53.6% of his three point shots, breaking Steve Kerr’s 15 year old 52.4% record. Korver is 41% from outside in his career, 13th best all-time and 6th among active players.