Houston Rockets

The highest scoring quarters in NBA history

Carmelo Anthony, David Thompson, Klay Thompson (NBA Getty Images)

James Harden went into video game mode against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, scoring 27 points in the first quarter to give the Houston Rockets an early 12-point lead.

The reigning MVP scored those points with ridiculous efficiency. He made seven of his 10 field goal attempts, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

No matter what the Spurs threw at him, there was no slowing him down.

Surprisingly, Harden's impressive quarter doesn't make the list of highest scoring quarters in NBA history. He would've needed another five points to crack the top-5 and another 11 to break the all-time record.

With that in mind, let's take a look at the highest scoring quarters in NBA history...

5. Wilt Chamberlain - 31 points

Chamberlain being on this list shouldn't come as a huge surprise considering he owns the NBA record for most points scored in a single game.

23 of those points from that famous game came in the first quarter. He then scored 18 in the second, followed by 28 in the third, leaving him 31 points shy of the century mark with one quarter to go.

As you know, Chamberlain got the job done.

4. David Thompson - 32 points

Thompson entered the last game of the 1977-78 regular season in a tight scoring race with George Gervin. With 73 points - including 32 in the opening quarter - the Hall of Famer put himself in position to win the first scoring title of his career.

Then Gervin ruined his moment by scoring 63 points - including 33 points in the second quarter - later that night.

"George's 63 points that night in New Orleans meant that I had only held the scoring lead for about seven hours," Thompson wrote in his autobiography. "Gervin's Spurs lost, 152-132, but George had already broken my mark for most points in a quarter with 33 in the second frame."

"That has to be a record in itself," he continued. "It took me 16 years to break Wilt's mark, but it only took Gervin seven hours to break mine."

3. George Gervin and Carmelo Anthony - 33 points

Gervin's record lasted much longer than Thompson's did.

The closest anyone got to beating it for a long time was on Dec. 10, 2008, when Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points in the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Anthony shot 12-for-15 from the field and 4-for-5 from deep. It was a vintage Carmelo performance.

2. Kevin Love - 34 points

Love wasn't the player to break Gervin's record - we'll get to that person next - but Love had a quarter for the ages against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 24, 2016.

Love scored 34 points in the game's opening 12 minutes, doing so on 11-for-14 shooting from the field. He drained eight of his 10 attempts from deep, many of which were set up by the one and only LeBron James.

"Obviously, we had a huge hot hand," James told ESPN. "We had a guy that was lightning."

1. Klay Thompson - 37 points

Thompson owns the most explosive scoring performance in NBA history.

In the third quarter of Golden State's matchup with the Sacramento Kings on Jan. 23, 2015, Thompson didn't miss a shot en route to an NBA record 37 points. He shot a perfect 13-for-13 from the field and 9-for-9 from the 3-point line.

The rest of the NBA struggled to put what they were witnessing into words.

It's hard to believe anyone will ever break Thompson's record, but who knows when another NBA star will get the hot hand.

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