This Date in Nuggets History: April 9, 1978

David Thompson scores a franchise-record 73 points
by Aaron Lopez

Locked in a tight scoring race with George Gervin, Denver Nuggets guard David Thompson took the floor for the final NBA game at Cobo Arena in downtown Detroit on April 9, 1978.

The Skywalker’s performance that afternoon remains one of the most memorable in league history.

Thompson made 20 of his first 21 shots and scored 53 points in the first half against the Pistons. Facing double- and triple-teams after halftime, Thompson finished with a franchise-record 73 points.

Thompson’s 32 points in the first quarter set an NBA record, and his 73 were the most scored by a guard in league history.

The only problem was the timing.

Because the San Antonio Spurs played their final game of the season later that night, Gervin knew he needed 58 points to hold off Thompson for the scoring title.

The Iceman broke Thompson’s hours-old record by scoring 33 points in the second quarter and had 53 points by halftime. He finished with 63 to win the closest scoring race in league history, 27.22 to 27.15.