NBA Record for 3s in a Game: The Complete Detail

Jimmy Remland
By Jimmy Remland 7 Min Read
7 Min Read

The NBA’s 3-point shot has fundamentally transformed basketball, evolving from a rare spectacle into a central strategy for teams and players. This shift has not only changed how the game is played but has also led to the shattering of long-standing records. At the heart of this revolution are the incredible athletes whose prowess from beyond the arc has redefined the boundaries of what’s possible in the sport.

The Pinnacle of 3-Point Shooting: Klay Thompson’s Record

On October 29, 2018, Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors set the NBA record for most 3-pointers in a single game, with 14 against the Chicago Bulls. This remarkable feat was accomplished in just 27 minutes and on 24 attempts, underscoring Thompson’s efficiency and shooting skill. His performance eclipsed the previous record held by his teammate Stephen Curry, who had made 13 3-pointers in a game in 2016.

The Elite Circle

The record for the most 3-pointers in a game is not just about Thompson and Curry. Other players have come close to this mark, showcasing the deep talent pool and the increasing emphasis on 3-point shooting in the league:

  • Zach LaVine and Damian Lillard have each made 13 3-pointers in a game, tying Curry for second place.
  • Keegan Murray, Kobe Bryant, and Donyell Marshall are among those who have hit 12 3s in a game, highlighting their place in the 3-point elite.

Beyond the Regular Season: Playoff Records

The intensity of the NBA playoffs brings out the best in players, and the record for most 3-pointers in a playoff game stands at 12, held by Damian Lillard during a double-overtime game against the Denver Nuggets in 2021. This record underscores the crucial role that 3-point shooting plays even in the high-stakes environment of the postseason.

The Evolving Game

Historically, the 3-point shot was not a major part of basketball strategy. Legends like Michael Jordan and Larry Bird, while capable shooters, did not rely on the 3-pointer to the extent that today’s players do. Jordan’s single-season high was 111 3-pointers, while Bird’s was 90. This context highlights how the game has advanced, with the 3-point shot becoming a more central element of offensive strategy.


The Impact on Records and Strategy

The record for 3-pointers in a game is more than a testament to individual excellence; it reflects a strategic shift in the NBA. Players like Thompson, Curry, LaVine, and Lillard are not just skilled shooters but also pioneers of a style of play that prioritizes spacing, ball movement, and long-range shooting. This evolution has led to more dynamic and high-scoring games, engaging fans and altering how teams compete at the highest level.

The Role of Analytics in the 3-Point Revolution

The rise of analytics in basketball has played a pivotal role in the emphasis on 3-point shooting. Teams and analysts have crunched the numbers, concluding that 3-pointers offer a higher expected value compared to long twos. This analytical approach has encouraged more players to develop their 3-point shooting skills, leading to an increase in both attempts and efficiency from beyond the arc.

Training and Player Development

The importance of the 3-point shot has also significantly influenced player training and development. Young players are now honing their shooting skills from a younger age, with a particular focus on range and accuracy. This shift is evident in the emergence of players like Keegan Murray, who have entered the league with a polished 3-point shot, ready to contribute to their teams’ offensive schemes from day one.

The Future of the 3-Point Record

As the NBA continues to evolve, the record for most 3s in a game stands as a challenge and a milestone for future generations of players. The bar set by Klay Thompson and closely followed by Stephen Curry and others represents not just a peak of individual achievement but also a marker of the league’s ongoing transformation.

  • Innovation in Offense: Teams are continuously innovating their offensive strategies to incorporate more 3-point shooting. This includes developing plays specifically designed to create open 3-point opportunities and leveraging spacing to maximize the effectiveness of shooters.
  • The Role of Defense: As the 3-point shot becomes more central to team strategies, defenses are also adapting. The importance of perimeter defense has never been higher, and players who can effectively contest 3-point shots without fouling are increasingly valuable.

Cultural Impact and Fan Engagement

The excitement around the 3-point shot and the pursuit of the record have also enhanced fan engagement. Spectacular shooting performances are among the most shareable and discussable moments in sports, resonating with fans on social media and beyond. The 3-point contest during the NBA All-Star Weekend has become a highlight event, showcasing the skill and precision of the league’s best shooters.

Final Thoughts

The NBA record for 3s in a game is a testament to individual brilliance, a reflection of strategic evolution, and a beacon for the future of basketball. As the game continues to evolve, the significance of this record and the 3-point shot’s role in the league will only grow. It’s a thrilling time for fans and players alike, as the boundaries of what’s possible on the basketball court continue to expand. The record books are not just a look back at history but a glimpse into the future of the NBA, where the 3-point shot remains a key to unlocking success on the hardwood.

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