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Data: Stathead; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

40-point games, once a threshold that signaled a rare offensive explosion, have become commonplace in today's NBA.

Why it matters: With teams shooting more threes and scoring more points than ever this season, the league is on pace for a record 143 40-point games.

By the numbers: Since President Biden's inauguration less than a month ago, there have been 32 different 40-point games. In the last nine days alone, there have been 15.

  • 19 players have exactly one 40-point game this season.
  • Six have done it twice: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jaylen Brown, Joel Embiid, Zach LaVine, Terry Rozier and Nikola Vučević.
  • Six have done it three times: Bradley Beal, Steph Curry, Luka Dončić, Nikola Jokić, Damian Lillard and Trae Young.

The backdrop: This season's 40-point explosion may stem in part from the pandemic (i.e. limited practice time hurting defenses), but this trend began years before anyone knew what COVID-19 was.

  • Between 1976 (merger) and 2017, there was just one season with more than 100 40-point games (2005-06). Now, it's become the norm.
  • Looking back just one decade helps bring the recent boom into even starker focus. From 2010 to 2016, the NBA averaged 49 40-point games per season. Since then, the league has averaged 123.

What to watch ... James Harden's next 40-point game will make him just the fourth player to record 100.

  • All-time leaders: Wilt Chamberlain (271); Michael Jordan (173); Kobe Bryant (122); Harden (99); Elgin Baylor (88); Allen Iverson (79); Oscar Robertson (77); Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (70); Rick Barry (70); George Gervin (68); LeBron James (66); Jerry West (66)
  • Active leaders: Harden (99); James (66); Kevin Durant (56); Russell Westbrook (48); Curry (41); Carmelo Anthony (36); Anthony Davis (35); Lillard (35); Beal (25); Kyrie Irving (19); Kemba Walker (18)

Go deeper: The NBA is literally becoming a make-or-miss league (The Ringer)

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Americans increasingly see China as an enemy

One in three Americans, and a majority of Republicans, now view China as an enemy of the United States, according to a new survey from Pew Research Center.

By the numbers: Just 9% of Americans consider China a "partner," while 55% see Beijing as a "competitor" and 34% as an "enemy."

Scoop: Leaked HHS docs spotlight Biden's child migrant dilemma

A group of undocumented immigrants walk toward a Customs and Border Patrol station after being apprehended. Photo: Sergio Flores/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Fresh internal documents from the Department of Health and Human Services show how quickly the number of child migrants crossing the border is overwhelming the administration's stretched resources.

Driving the news: In the week ending March 1, the Border Patrol referred to HHS custody an average of 321 children per day, according to documents obtained by Axios. That's up from a weekly average of 203 in late January and early February — and just 47 per day during the first week of January.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Mounting emissions data paints bleak picture on Paris climate goals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Researchers keep finding new ways to reveal that nations are together showing very few signs of getting on track to meet the Paris Agreement's goals.

One big question: That's whether a spate of recent analyses to that effect, and scientific reports coming later this year, will move the needle on meaningful new policies (not just targets).