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Klay Thompson’s 60-point night evokes memories of Wilt Chamberlain

Warriors legend Al Attles talks Thompson’s record-setting night compared with ‘The Big Dipper’

As time wound down on Klay Thompson’s career-high 60-point game on Monday night, Golden State Warriors legend and community ambassador Al Attles offered respect from his seat above section 102, saying the feat was much harder than it looked.

Scoring 60 points, however, was actually easy for one NBA star whom the now 80-year-old Attles had the pleasure of playing with: Wilt Chamberlain.

“Wilt made playing basketball very easy. A lot of us were fortunate to be around him. For us that had a chance to play with him, we were even more fortunate because he was that good,” Attles, who played with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors from 1960-71, told The Undefeated.

Kobe Bryant scored 60 points six times during his NBA career. Michael Jordan scored 60 five times and Elgin Baylor did it four times. The only other NBA player who scored more than 60 points multiple times in a game was Chamberlain on an insurmountable 32 occasions from 1959-73 with the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson, left, lays up a shot against Indiana Pacers' Kevin Seraphin (1) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Oakland, Calif.

Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, left, lays up a shot against Indiana Pacers’ Kevin Seraphin (1) during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Oakland, Calif.

AP Photo/Ben Margot

“He did it so many times that you never thought about it, seriously,” Attles said. “You never thought about it because it was Wilt. We’re talking about Wilt Chamberlain, not the Sisters of the Poor. We’re talking about the big fellah. He did whatever he wanted.

“We saw him score over 60 points a number of times … And the thing I hate to do is make comparisons with him and any other player in terms of scoring the basketball.”

Chamberlain has long held perhaps an unbreakable NBA record for scoring 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962. “The Big Dipper” made 36 of 63 field goal attempts and 28 of 32 free throws. This was in an era when the 3-point line didn’t exist. The Hall of Famer is also the only NBA player to average more than 50 points in a season, with an average of 50.4 points during the 1961-62 season while also scoring over 50 on a record 118 occasions in his career.

Philadelphia Warriors Wilt Chamberlain leaps to score in the first half of a game against the New York Knicks.

Ernest Sisto/New York Times Co./Getty Images

“The most important thing about that 100-point game was that he tried to come out of the game before he got 100,” Attles said. “The coach wouldn’t listen to him. Nobody would listen to him. We said we wanted to get him the ball, and he would say, ‘I will get mine, don’t worry about me.’

“When he scored 100 points, he was probably the least excited about it. We were in the locker room going crazy and he said, ‘I never thought I would take 63 shots.’ But we all said, ‘Wilt, you scored 100 points.’ ”

Thompson remarkably scored the NBA season-high 60 points in 29 minutes through three quarters before being benched in the Warriors’ blowout 142-106 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday. Even as hot as Thompson was, it would have been extremely difficult for him to score another 40 in the fourth quarter to match Chamberlain’s scoring record. The closest any NBA player has gotten to Chamberlain’s record was Bryant, with 81 for the Lakers against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 1, 2006.

Golden State Warriors' Klay Thompson celebrates a score during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Oakland, Calif.

Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson celebrates a score during the third quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, in Oakland, Calif.

AP Photo/Ben Margot

So will Chamberlain’s 100-point record ever be broken?

“It will be a very difficult and tough thing to do,” said Attles, who scored 17 points on Chamberlain’s 100-point night. “I don’t think another team will allow someone to do it. They will double-team and triple-team. With Wilt, there was nothing you could do.”

Marc J. Spears is the senior NBA writer for The Undefeated. He used to be able to dunk on you, but he hasn’t been able to in years and his knees still hurt.