A Points Frenzy

Pistons and Nuggets Celebrate Hardwood Classics Nights

Highest Scoring Game In NBA History

DEC. 13, 1983
Highlights from the highest-scoring game ever:


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The Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets played in the highest scoring game in NBA history on December 13, 1983 at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. Both teams combined for 370 points as Detroit won 186-184 in triple overtime.

The Pistons had six players score in double-figures. Isiah Thomas led with 47 points and John Long also topped the 40-point plateau with 41 points. Kelly Tripucka added 35 points with Terry Tyler (18), Bill Laimbeer (17) and Vinnie Johnson (12) also notching double-figures.

Denver also had six players reach double digits in scoring. Kiki Vandeweghe scored a game-high 51 points and Alex English tossed in 47 points. Dan Issel (28), Mike Evans (16), Richard Anderson (13), and Danny Schayes (11) were the other four Nuggets to score at least 10 points.

Thomas, Long, Vandeweghe and English set an NBA record for the most players to score 40 or more points in a game by both teams. With each team having two players score at least 40, it tied the record for most players on a team to score 40 or more points in a game.

They combined to shoot 142-for-251 (.566) from the field. The combined 142 field goals and Detroit’s 74 field goals are NBA records that still stand today.

The score at the end of regulation was 145-145!! Detroit has not scored 145 points in a game since then. The last time was a year prior on November 3, 1982 when they defeated the Chicago Bulls 152-144.

Last season’s Pistons squad held opponents to less than 70 points an NBA record five consecutive times from March 4 through March 14. During that stretch, it took three games for a team to reach even the 145 regulation points each team collected. The Nuggets were held to 66 points on March 6, 2004, in the second of the five games Detroit held opponents under 70 points.

A look at the official Nuggets score sheet:


A look at the official Pistons score sheet:



David Thompson Notches 73 Points Against Pistons

The Pistons and Nuggets met for an afternoon matinee game at Cobo Arena in Detroit, Michigan on April 9, 1978. It marked the last day of regular-season games for all NBA teams. Nuggets guard David “Skywalker” Thompson was battling for the NBA scoring title with the San Antonio Spurs’ George “The Ice Man” Gervin, who was playing against the New Orleans Jazz later that night in their season finale. Thompson trailed Gervin by two-tenths, 26.77 to 26.57.

Right from the opening tip it was clear that Thompson wanted the scoring title. He tallied 53 points by halftime! The 53 points set a Pistons franchise record for most points in the first half by an opponent that still stands to this day. Compared to his 53 first-half points, his second-half total of 20 points doesn’t seem like much.

Thompson finished the game with 73 points, the third most points ever by an individual in an NBA game. It marked the most points by an individual opponent in a single game held by Denver's David Thompson on April 9, 1978. NBA legend Wilt Chamberlain holds the record for the top two highest scoring games with 100 points in one game and 78 in another.

Thompson would be the league’s leading scorer for about seven more hours as Gervin regained the lead later that night, scoring 63 points and claiming the NBA scoring title with 27.22 points per game to Thompson’s 27.15 points per game.

The game also marked the last game Detroit played at Cobo Arena. They would play their games at the Pontiac Silverdome the following season. Denver’s head coach at the time was current Pistons head coach Larry Brown, who guided the Nuggets to a division title and a trip to the 1978 Western Conference Finals.