This Date In The NBA: December
Key dates in NBA history
December 1, 1981
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers passed Oscar Robertson to become the NBA’s second all-time leading scorer, behind Wilt Chamberlain. Abdul-Jabbar finished the season with over 28,000 career points and eventually surpassed Chamberlain for the top spot with 38,387.
December 1, 1984
Phoenix Suns Coach John MacLeod became the 10th coach in NBA history to compile 500 career wins as the Suns defeated Golden State 115-103.
December 1, 1990
New Jersey Coach Bill Fitch registered his 785th career victory, 111-92 over Orlando, at the time moving him into fourth place on the NBA’s all-time list behind Dick Motta, Jack Ramsay and Red Auerbach.
December 1, 1991
Isiah Thomas became Detroit’s all-time leading scorer, with 15,493 points, after scoring a game-high 22 points in the Pistons’ 94-87 win over Houston at the Palace of Auburn Hills. Thomas passed previous leader Bob Lanier on Detroit’s all-time scoring chart.
December 1, 1996
Hersey Hawkins of the Seattle SuperSonics became part of basketball history when he scored the 7,000,000th point in NBA history off a 12-foot jumper with 7:58 left in the fourth quarter of the Sonics’ 96-90 loss to visiting Utah.
December 2, 1954
Frank Selvy of the Milwaukee Hawks, in a game against the Minneapolis Lakers at Fort Wayne, hit 24 of 26 free throws, both NBA rookie records for free throws attempted and made in a game.
December 2, 1978
Golden State Coach Al Attles captured his 400th career victory, only the 10th coach in NBA history at the time to achieve that feat, as the Warriors beat the Suns 116-108 at Phoenix.
December 2, 1986
The Washington Bullets beat the Boston Celtics 117-109 to end the Celtics’ homecourt winning streak at 38 games. Although the game was played at the Hartford Civic Center instead of the Boston Garden, it still counted as a home contest for the Celtics.
December 2, 1996
Houston’s Clyde Drexler became the fifth player in NBA history to reach 2,000 career steals, after picking up four against Toronto. Drexler retired with 2,207 steals.
December 2, 1997
The Washington Wizards began a new era when they opened the doors to the downtown MCI Center in a matchup against Seattle.
December 2, 1999
William “Pop” Gates, one of the greatest players of the 1930s and 1940s barnstorming era of basketball died of heart failure. Gates, who was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989, earned acclaim as a player-coach of the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1950s. But those who played against him during the earlier era place him among the best of his time.
December 3, 1946
Joe Fulks of the Philadelphia Warriors set what was then a league scoring mark with 37 points against the Providence Steamrollers at Philadelphia. Fulks’ 50 field goal attempts (he made 16) were the most by a player during a game in the NBA’s inaugural season and remained the record for the most field goal attempts by a rookie in a game for 13 years.
December 3, 1976
Seattle’s Fred Brown had 10 steals in a 121-112 victory at Philadelphia to tie an NBA record held by Jerry West and Larry Steele. The record would be broken 23 days later by San Antonio’s Larry Kenon, who picked up 11 steals at Kansas City.
December 3, 1990
The Boston Celtics honored long-time announcer Johnny Most by unveiling a banner bearing a microphone on the balcony facade near his old broadcast position. Most retired following the 1989-90 season after calling Celtics games on the radio for 37 years.
December 3, 1993
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Houston Rockets 133-111, ending Houston’s record-tying streak for the best start in NBA history at 15-0. The 15-0 start tied the all-time NBA record set by the Washington Capitols at the start of the 1948-49 season.
December 4, 1948
The Washington Capitols beat Baltimore 83-82 to raise their record to 15-0, the best start in NBA history. Their streak ended with a 94-78 loss at Indianapolis on December 7. This 15-0 streak to start the season was matched by the Houston Rockets at the outset of the 1993-94 season.
December 4, 1987
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s consecutive game streak of scoring in double figures (787) is snapped at Milwaukee.
December 4, 1996
Detroit’s Terry Mills began an NBA record-tying streak of 13 straight 3-point field goals made over three games in the Pistons 100-90 win over the Hawks.
December 4, 1997
Golden State’s Latrell Sprewell is suspended without pay for one year by NBA Commissioner David Stern.
December 4, 2017
Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors makes the 2,000th 3-pointer in his career. He needed just 597 games to do so, 225 fewer than the previous record-holder, Ray Allen. Additionally, Curry is one of just eight players in NBA history with 2,000 or more 3-pointers.
December 5, 1967
Walt Hazzard of Seattle scored 15 consecutive points in a 133-121 loss to San Francisco at Oakland, tying an NBA record held by Wilt Chamberlain.
December 5, 1987
The San Antonio Spurs retired the #44 jersey worn by George Gervin.
December 5, 1991
Moses Malone of Milwaukee became only the sixth player in NBA history to score 26,000 career points, after he hit for 12 points in the Bucks’ 109-101 loss to New Jersey at the Bradley Center.
December 5, 1992
Detroit’s Bill Laimbeer grabbed 12 rebounds in the Pistons’ 112-88 win over visiting Philadelphia, helping him to reach the 10,000 career rebound mark.
December 5, 1996
Portland’s Jermaine O’Neal, who celebrated his 18th birthday on October 13, became the youngest player ever to participate in an NBA game.
December 5, 1997
Indiana’s Mark Jackson moved past Bob Cousy (6,955) and into seventh place on the all-time assist chart.
December 5, 2000
Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz converted a finger roll in the lane for two points, moving past Wilt Chamberlain and into second place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Malone scored 31 points in Utah’s 98-84 win over Toronto, giving him 31,443 career points, 24 more than Chamberlain’s 31,419 points.
December 5, 2000
Don Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks notched his 938th career coaching win in Dallas’ 94-85 victory over New York, tying him with his Boston Celtics’ mentor Red Auerbach for fourth place on the all-time coaching victories list.
December 5, 2001
With an 98-94 victory over the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers extended their best-ever start to 16-1, landing them a spot among the top 11 starts in league annals.
December 5, 2016
Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors scores 60 points in a 142-106 win over the Indiana Pacers.
December 6, 1966
Rick Barry of the San Francisco Warriors made an NBA-record 14 free throws in one quarter as the Warriors beat the Knicks 126-116 at New York.
December 6, 1984
Milwaukee retired uniform No. 16 in honor of center Bob Lanier, who had retired after the 1984 NBA Playoffs.
December 6, 1986
The Seattle SuperSonics posted a 136-80 win over the Rockets at The Summit in Houston. The 56-point margin made it the most one-sided road win in NBA history. The most one-sided road win in NBA Playoff history was the Lakers’ 126-70 win at Golden State in Game 3 of the 1973 Western Conference Finals on April 21.
December 6, 1997
The Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 108-106 in the first regular season game to be played in Mexico City at the Palacio de los Deportes.
December 6, 2000
Antawn Jamison of the Golden State Warriors and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers each scored 51 points in the Warriors’ 125-122 overtime victory. It was the first time in nearly 38 years and only the third time in NBA history that opposing players each scored at least 50 points in an NBA game. The feat last occurred on December 14, 1962, when Wilt Chamberlain scored 63 points for the Philadelphia Warriors and Elgin Baylor tallied 50 points for the Los Angeles Lakers. For Jamison, it was also the second straight game in which he scored 51 points, having hit that number December 3 in a loss to Seattle.
December 6, 2016
John Wall of the Washington Wizards scores 52 points in a 124-116 loss to the Orlando Magic.
December 7, 1948
The Indianapolis Jets beat the Washington Capitols 94-78, snapping the Capitols’ NBA-record streak at 15 consecutive games won at the start of the season. The mark was tied by the 1993-94 Houston Rockets.
December 7, 1956
Larry Bird is born in West Baden, Indiana.
December 7, 1982
The Utah Jazz, in a 137-121 loss at Portland, set an NBA record for free throw percentage in a game, connecting on all 39 of their attempts from the line.
December 7, 1986
The Los Angeles Lakers beat Golden State 132-100 for Coach Pat Riley’s 300th career victory. He reached that plateau in 416 games, faster than any other coach in NBA history, beating Billy Cunningham’s previous record of 430 games.
December 7, 1990
The New Jersey Nets retired jersey No. 23 in honor of “Super John” Williamson, who played three years in the ABA and four years in the NBA with the Nets. Williamson owned the second-highest NBA scoring average (22.5 ppg) in team history.
December 7, 1993
The Orlando Magic established an NBA record by holding the visiting Detroit Pistons to only six points in the fourth quarter of a 91-89 victory. The Pistons broke the previous NBA low of seven fourth-quarter points, set by Houston against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 15, 1991.
December 7, 1994
The Philadelphia 76ers, behind Jeff Malone’s game-high 34 points, posted a 111-102 road win at Miami to become the third NBA franchise (joining Boston and the Los Angeles Lakers) to reach 2,000 victories.
December 7, 1995
Veteran NBA referee Jake O’Donnell announces his retirement after officiating more than 2,100 regular-season and 279 playoff and 39 NBA Finals games in 28 seasons in the league.
December 7, 1995
The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association sign a five-year labor agreement, through the 1999-2000 season, ending a lockout of referees that began on October 1.
December 7, 1996
Detroit’s Terry Mills tied an NBA record for the most consecutive 3-point field goals made, with 13, after connecting on his first attempt during the Pistons’ 95-69 win at New Jersey. Mills’ streak, which stretched over three games, tied the mark set by Brent Price during the 1995-96 season.
December 7, 2012
With a right-handed runner in the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers 103-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets, Kobe Bryant becomes the youngest player in NBA history to reach 30,000 points for his career. At 34 years, 104 days old, Bryant breaks Wilt Chamberlain’s record of 35 years, 179 days.
December 8, 1961
Larry Costello of the Syracuse Nationals scored 32 straight points without missing — 13 field goals and six free throws — as Syracuse lost 123-111 at Boston.
December 8, 1961
Wilt Chamberlain scored 78 points, the second highest scoring performance in NBA history, in the Philadelphia Warriors’ 151-147 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in three overtimes.
December 8, 1989
Jack Sikma, playing for the Milwaukee Bucks, grabbed his 10,000th career rebound, becoming only the 18th player in league history at the time to accomplish that feat.
December 8, 1992
Atlanta’s Dominique Wilkins set an NBA record for most free throws made in a game without a miss, as he went 23-for-23 from the FT line in the Hawks’ 123-114 win over visiting Chicago.
December 8, 1998
The NBA announced the cancellation of the 1999 NBA All-Star Weekend, including the 49th Annual NBA All-Star Game scheduled for February 14 at the First Union Center in Philadelphia. This is the first time that the annual event had been cancelled. The cancellation was due to a labor dispute between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.
December 8, 1999
Houston Rockets forward Charles Barkley’s storied career came to an end in Philadelphia, when he attempted to block a shot by the Sixers’ Tyrone Hill. Barkley, who scored 23,755 points (13th in NBA history) and grabbed 12,545 rebounds (14th in NBA history), tore the left quadriceps tendon away from the kneecap in the first quarter of Houston’s 83-73 loss to Philadelphia. After the game, Barkley held a news conference and paid tribute to former teammates Julius Erving, Maurice Cheeks, Andrew Toney and Bobby Jones, who Barkley said initiated him in the ways of the NBA in his early years with the 76ers. Barkley would return to play token minutes in the last game of the regular season, which would then be the final game of his career.
December 8, 2000
Hakeem Olajuwon passed the 26,000-point plateau for his career in a 111-98 loss to Sacramento, becoming only the fifth NBA player to record 26,000 career points and 13,000 career rebounds. Olajuwon joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone and Elvin Hayes.
December 8, 2000
Shaquille O’Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers broke a 40-year-old NBA record when he missed all 11 of his free throw attempts against Seattle. Wilt Chamberlain missed all 10 of his free throw attempts against Detroit on November 4, 1960.
December 8, 2006
Andre Miller of the Denver Nuggets dished out 20 assists in a 123-107 win over the Miami Heat.
December 8, 2011
The NBA and NBPA officially ended the 161-day lockout that started on July 1, 2011. Free agency, trades and training camps began the next day.
December 8, 201 1
In an unprecedented move, a three-team trade that would have sent Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers is vetoed by Commissioner David Stern. With the NBA owning a majority-stake in the Hornets, the trade was overturned amid pressure from other team owners who opposed the transaction. Paul was subsequently traded to the Los Angeles Clippers before the NBA sold the Hornets to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.
December 9, 1988
Jerry Sloan was named head coach of the Utah Jazz, replacing Frank Layden, who resigned as head coach. Sloan’s coaching tenure with the Jazz is the longest current term of service among head coaches in the NBA.
December 9, 1993
Kevin Johnson of Phoenix became the 13th NBA player to record 10 steals in a game, during the Suns’ 114-95 win over visiting Washington.
December 9, 1997
Chicago’s Michael Jordan becomes the NBA’s third-leading scorer in a 100-82 win over New York, scoring 29 points to give him 27,432 points over 13 seasons. Jordan moved ahead of Moses Malone, who had scored 27,409 points in 19 seasons.
December 9, 2000
Gary Payton scored 35 points in a loss to Houston, becoming the all-time leading scorer in Seattle SuperSonics history. Payton finished the game with 14,044 career points, surpassing “Downtown” Fred Brown’s 14,018 points.
December 10, 1971
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored a career-high 55 points in Milwaukee’s 120-104 victory over Boston.
December 10, 1985
The Boston Celtics beat Atlanta 118-101 to win the first of an NBA-record 38 straight home games over two seasons, ending November 28, 1986.
December 10, 1985
The Indiana Pacers made just 19 field goals in an 82-64 loss to the New York Knicks, setting an NBA record for the fewest field goals made by one team since the inception of the shot clock. The record stood for more than 13 years before the Chicago Bulls converted just 18 field goals in a game against Miami on April 10, 1999.
December 10, 1994
Dallas Coach Dick Motta moved into third place on the all-time coaching wins list (passing Jack Ramsay) with 865 career victories, following the Mavericks’ 99-86 win over visiting Charlotte.
December 10, 1995
James Worthy became the sixth player in Los Angeles Lakers’ history to have his jersey retired, when the team retired his No. 42 jersey at halftime of the game against Detroit at the Great Western Forum. Worthy, who played in 926 regular-season and 143 playoff games for the Lakers over 12 seasons, was also a member of NBA Championship teams in 1985, ’87 and ’88.
December 10, 1996
In Detroit’s 93-85 win over Milwaukee, Terry Mills of Detroit missed his first 3-point field goal attempt since extending his NBA-record streak to 13 straight 3-point field goal attempts without a miss against the Nets on December 7th.
December 10, 1999
Chicago Bulls guard Hersey Hawkins saw a streak of 527 consecutive games played end when he was unable to suit up for the Bulls’ 71-69 win over New Jersey. Hawkins suffered a torn muscle in his left calf in a December 8 game against Cleveland. Hawkins’ 527-game streak was the second-longest active consecutive games played streak behind all-time leader A.C. Green. Before the injury, Hawkins had missed only seven games in his 12-year NBA career.
December 10, 2008
Carmelo Anthony matches George Gervin’s NBA record for points in a quarter with 33 points in the third. He finishes with a season-high 45 points in the Denver Nuggets’ 116-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
December 10, 2016
Twelve-time NBA All-Star Dolph Schayes, a Hall of Famer, dies at the age of 87.
December 11, 1946
The Chicago Stags defeated the Cleveland Rebels 88-70 in an experimental game featuring 15-minute quarters, instead of the usual 12-minute quarters.
December 11, 1959
Richie Guerin scored 57 points, at the time the most ever by a Knick, as New York defeated Syracuse 152-121. His team record survived 25 years until being surpassed by Bernard King, who tallied 60 points against New Jersey on December 25, 1984.
December 11, 1971
The NBA’s Silver Anniversary team was announced. It included Bob Cousy, Bob Davies, Paul Arizin, Joe Fulks, Sam Jones, George Mikan, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman and Bob Pettit. The coach was Red Auerbach.
December 11, 1984
The Boston Celtics beat the New Jersey Nets 130-121 at Hartford as the two teams combined to shoot a record 63.2 percent (108-for-171) from the field.
December 11, 1992
The National Hockey League Board of Governors named Gary Bettman, the NBA’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel, the first Commissioner of the NHL.
December 11, 1993
With 12 rebounds during Philadelphia’s 99-86 road win at Milwaukee, Moses Malone became the fifth NBA player to surpass 16,000 career rebounds.
December 11, 2001
Larry Costello, who guided the Milwaukee Bucks to their only NBA title in 1971, died after battling cancer for more than a year. he was 70.
December 11, 2006
The NBA announces that it will cease using the new synthetic ball (in use since the 2006-07 season began), and revert to the old leather one.
December 11, 2006
Jerry Sloan became the fifth coach in NBA history to record 1,000 wins when the Utah Jazz beat the Dallas Mavericks 101-79.
December 11, 201 0
George Karl becomes the seventh coach in NBA history to record 1000 career wins after the Denver Nuggets defeated the Toronto Raptors 123-116. Karl had missed the entire 2009-2010 season while battling cancer.
December 11, 2018
A 111-86 win by the San Antonio Spurs against the Phoenix Suns gives coach Gregg Popovich career win No. 1,211. That victory pushes him past Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley for fourth on the all-time victories list.
December 12, 1932
Bob Pettit is born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
December 12, 1971
Los Angeles defeated Atlanta 104-95 at the Forum for the Lakers’ 21st consecutive victory, breaking the NBA record of 20 straight wins, previously shared by the Washington Capitols (over two seasons) and Milwaukee Bucks. The Lakers went on to win 33 straight games, the longest winning streak in NBA history.
December 12, 1984
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 15 points to become the first player in NBA history to surpass 32,000 career points in the Lakers’ 131-107 victory over Golden State.
December 12, 1988
With a 110-94 loss to Utah at the Salt Palace, the Miami Heat set an NBA record for the most consecutive games lost at the start of a season with 17. The Los Angeles Clippers opened the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season with 17 straight defeats, tying the Heat’s mark.
December 12, 2001
Sacramento’s Rick Adelman became the 22nd coach to register 500 victories as the Kings defeated Orlando 112-100 at ARCO Arena.
December 12, 2006
Ten-time All-Star Paul Arizin, a member of the Hall of Fame and one of the first jump-shot specialists, dies at the age of 78.
December 13, 1983
Detroit beat Denver 186-184 in a triple-overtime game that set NBA records for most points scored in a game, one team (Detroit-186) and combined (370); most field goals, one team (Detroit-74) and combined (142); and combined assists (93).
December 13, 1986
The Washington Bullets retired uniform #25 in honor of the late Gus Johnson.
December 13, 1991
Boston’s Robert Parish became the fifth player in NBA history to appear in 1,200 career games (joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Elvin Hayes, John Havlicek and Paul Silas) during the Celtics’ 117-97 win over Seattle at Boston Garden.
December 13, 1994
Philadelphia’s Willie Burton set a Spectrum scoring record by pouring in 53 points during the Sixers’ 105-90 win over Miami. That broke the previous scoring high at the Spectrum of 52 points, set by Michael Jordan during the 1988-89 season.
December 13, 2000
John Stockton of the Utah Jazz collected his 14,000th career assist in a 111-102 loss to Milwaukee. When Stockton notched the assist, he increased his lead over No. 2 career assist man Magic Johnson (10,141 assists) to 3,859 assists.
December 13, 2001
Larry Costello, who guided the Milwaukee Bucks to their only NBA championship in 1971, passed away after battling cancer for more than a year. He was 70 years old.
December 14, 1962
Wilt Chamberlain scored 63 points for the Philadelphia Warriors and Elgin Baylor tallied 50 points for the Los Angeles Lakers, one of only three times in NBA history that opposing players each scored at least 50 points in the same game.
December 14, 1965
Rick Barry of San Francisco poured in 57 points during the Warriors’ 141-137 setback against New York at Madison Square Garden. Barry’s 57 points were the second-highest total ever scored by a rookie in an NBA game (Wilt Chamberlain twice scored 58 for Philadelphia in 1960), and his 21 free throws (in 22 attempts) tied Frank Selvy’s NBA rookie record for the most free throws made in a game.
December 14, 1975
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar grabbed 29 defensive rebounds, an NBA record, in a 110-100 win over Detroit. Prior to the 1973-74 season, offensive and defensive rebounds were tabulated collectively.
December 14, 1985
The Utah Jazz retired Pete Maravich’s uniform #7. “Pistol” Pete averaged 24.2 ppg in 10 NBA seasons ending in 1979-80.
December 14, 1988
The Miami Heat won their first game in the NBA, defeating the Los Angeles Clippers 89-88 at the LA Sports Arena. The win by Miami broke a 17-game losing streak, which established an NBA record for consecutive losses at the start of a season that was tied by the Clippers nearly 11 years later.
December 14, 1990
Alex English of Dallas scored his 25,000th career point during the Mavericks’ 106-104 road loss to the Trail Blazers.
December 14, 1996
The Clippers beat the Kings 106-94, enabling coach Bill Fitch to join Lenny Wilkens, Red Auerbach and Dick Motta as the only coaches in NBA history to win 900 games.
December 14, 1999
The Los Angeles Clippers scored just 19 points in the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers, snapping a nearly 25-year old record for fewest points in the first half of a game held by the New Orleans Jazz. New Orleans scored 20 points in the first half against Seattle on January 4, 1975.
December 14, 2000
Rudy Tomjanovich of the Houston Rockets earned his 400th head coaching victory in a 98-95 win over Golden State. Tomjanovich became the 29th NBA coach to accumulate 400 wins.
December 14, 200 4
Jerry Sloan coaches his 1500th game against the Los Angeles Clippers, winning 93-91.
December 14, 2004
The Atlanta Hawks lose their tenth consecutive overtime game, stretching over three seasons, to tie the NBA record. The other record holders are the Golden State Warriors (1979-81) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (1992-95).
December 14, 2011
Chris Paul was traded from the New Orleans Hornets to the Los Angeles Clippers.
December 15, 1984
Gus Williams of the Washington Bullets recorded his 1,404th steal during a 109-103 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers to become, at the time, the NBA’s all-time leader in that category.
December 15, 1994
Recognizing that 3-point field goals were becoming more frequent at a shorter distance, the NBA announced that it was changing the statistical minimum, from 50 to 82, of three-point baskets needed in order for a player to qualify for the 3-point field goal percentage title.
December 15, 1995
Toronto’s Alvin Robertson picks up three steals in the Raptors’ 122-103 loss at Boston, becoming the third NBA player to move past 2,000 career steals.
December 15, 1997
Chicago plays Phoenix in front of their 500th consecutive home sellout. At the time, it was the longest active streak and third-longest in NBA history. Portland had 814 and Boston is next on the list with 662.
December 16, 1961
Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors began a streak of seven consecutive games in which he scored 50 points or more, another of Chamberlain’s many NBA records.
December 16, 1993
Patrick Ewing moved past Walt Frazier to become New York’s all-time leading scorer, with 14,618 career points, after hitting a second-quarter jumper during the Knicks’ 108-85 win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.
December 16, 1997
Houston’s Clyde Drexler had five steals to give him a career total of 2,115 and move him into fourth place on the all-time steals list.
December 16, 2006
In a game between the New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets there was a fight where all ten players on the court were ejected by Dick Bavetta and his officiating crew. The league eventually suspended seven of the players for a total of 47 games and fined both teams $500,000.
December 17, 1976
The Philadelphia 76ers retired Billy Cunningham’s uniform #32. He scored 13,626 points in just nine seasons with the Sixers and was a member of the 1967 NBA Championship team.
December 17, 1991
Cleveland, which had eight different players score in double figures, defeated Miami 148-80 at Richfield Coliseum. The 68-point margin of victory set an NBA record, shattering the previous mark of 63 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 162-99 win over Golden State on March 19, 1972.
December 17, 1996
Atlanta set an NBA record by making 19 3-point field goals (in 27 attempts) during a 109-73 victory at Dallas. Mookie Blaylock led the Hawks’ barrage from downtown, hitting 7-of-10 attempts.
December 17, 1996
As part of the NBA’s 50th anniversary season, the Top Ten Coaches in NBA History were announced. The list included Red Auerbach, Chuck Daly, Bill Fitch, Red Holzman, Phil Jackson, John Kundla, Don Nelson, Jack Ramsay, Pat Riley and Lenny Wilkens.
December 17, 200 8
Chris Paul steals an attempted pass from Tony Parker to set a new record for consecutive games with a steal at 106 games, breaking the old record previously held by Alvin Robertson.
December 17, 2016
Russell Westbrook of the the Oklahoma City Thunder dishes 22 assists in a 114-101 win over the the Phoenix Suns.
December 18, 1984
The Washington Bullets beat the New Jersey Nets 104-95 to give Gene Shue his 700th NBA career coaching victory. Shue became only the third coach to reach that plateau at the time, joining Red Auerbach and Jack Ramsay.
December 18, 200 2
The NBA Expansion Committee unanimously recommends that the NBA Board of Governors approve an expansion franchise for the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, to be owned and operated by Robert L. Johnson. That franchise is now the Charlotte Bobcats.
December 18, 2017
In a halftime ceremony at Staples Center, Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys are retired by the Los Angeles Lakers. He became the 10th player in team history to have his number retired and the only player with two jerseys retired by the Lakers.
December 19, 1956
Upon his return from Melbourne, Australia, where he led the U.S. Basketball squad to an Olympic gold medal, Bill Russell signed his first contract with the Boston Celtics.
December 19, 1968
The Detroit Pistons traded Dave DeBusschere to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives. The acquisition of DeBusschere is often credited as providing the last piece to the Knicks’ championship teams of 1970 and 1973. The midseason trade also allowed Bellamy to play in an NBA record 88 games that season with New York and Detroit.
December 19, 1990
Boston’s Kevin McHale scored 23 points in 29 minutes of play, helping the Celtics down Philadelphia 115-105 while reaching the 15,000 point mark for his career.
December 19, 1992
New York’s 91-87 win over Miami at Madison Square Garden gave Knicks Coach Pat Riley his 600th career victory, the 12th coach in NBA history to reach that mark.
December 20, 1966
Seattle was named the 11th franchise city in the NBA. Approximately one month later the team was named the SuperSonics, the result of a local contest won by Howard E. Schmidt.
December 20, 1992
Buck Williams becomes only the 20th player in NBA history to collect 10,000 rebounds in his career as Portland defeats Golden State, 130-114.
December 20, 1997
New York’s Patrick Ewing suffered a Lunate dislocation and torn ligaments in right wrist in game vs. Milwaukee Bucks and was declared out for the remainder of the season following surgery.
December 20, 2001
Chick Hearn, the Lakers’ play-by-play announcer, was not be behind the microphone for the Lakers-Rockets game as he recovered from heart surgery to replace a blocked aortic valve, bringing to end an astonishing streak, one that lasted more than 36 years and 3,338 games.
December 20, 2005
Kobe Bryant scored 62 points in three quarters against the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks had 61 points total, making this the only time a player had done this through three quarters since the advent of the shot clock.
December 20, 2006
New York Knicks forward David Lee scores a game-winning basket with only 00:00.1 seconds left on the clock. The shot counts because Lee deflects the inbounds pass into the basket. It is the first occurrence of a team winning an NBA game with one-tenth of one second left since the NBA implemented the Trent Tucker Rule in 1990.
December 20, 2016
DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings scores 55 points in a 126-121 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.
December 21, 1980
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar became only the fifth player in NBA history to notch 25,000 points as he scored a season-high 42 points in the Lakers’ 135-102 win over San Antonio.
December 21, 2001
With 16 points in a 100-94 victory over New Jersey, Indiana’s Reggie Miller improved his career scoring total to 21,801 points and moved past Larry Bird into 19th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
December 21, 2014
One-time All-Star Paul Walther dies at the age of 87.
December 22, 1949
In his 13th game as a Celtic, Tony Lavelli scored 26 points as Boston beat the Minneapolis Lakers, who were on their way to a second straight NBA title. At halftime, the versatile Lavelli treated the 5,206 fans at Boston Garden to an accordion mini-concert, one of about two dozen performances he gave around the league for which he was paid $125 per concert by the NBA.
December 22, 1956
Bill Russell made his debut for the Boston Celtics at home against the St. Louis Hawks. The Celtics won 95-93. Russell scored six points and grabbed 16 rebounds.
December 22, 1962
The NBA’s 1,000,000th point was scored in either the Detroit-Chicago, New York-Boston or Syracuse-San Francisco game.
December 22, 1996
By pulling down 12 rebounds in Utah’s 100-94 setback at Cleveland, Karl Malone became the 11th player in NBA history to reach 20,000 and 10,000 rebounds in a season.
December 22, 2020
A shortened 2020-21 NBA season begins with a doubleheader — Warriors vs. Nets and Clippers vs. Lakers — to begin a 72-game season. The coronavirus pandemic of 2020 caused the season to start later than its typical mid-October start.
December 23, 1990
In a game that took 26 days to decide, the Boston Celtics downed the Atlanta Hawks 132-104 at the Garden. The game was originally scheduled to be played on November 28, but a wet playing surface, caused by condensation from the ice underneath the parquet floor, forced postponement of the game 90 seconds into the second quarter and the Celtics ahead 37-22.
December 23, 1992
Michael Jordan scored 57 points to lead Chicago over Washington 107-98, giving Bulls Coach Phil Jackson his 200th career victory, in an NBA record 270 games.
December 23, 1994
Dana Barros of Philadelphia began a streak of 58 games in which he sank at least one three-point field goal, breaking the NBA record for a single season previously held by Michael Adams at 43.
December 23, 1997
Hall of Famer Les Harrison, who led the Rochester Royals to the NBA Championship in 1951 as owner, general manager and coach, died at the age of 93.
December 23, 1997
Chicago’s Phil Jackson recorded his 500th victory as an NBA coach, reaching the mark in his 682nd game, faster than any other coach in NBA history.
December 23, 1999
The Philadelphia 76ers are selected to host NBA All-Star 2002, the NBA announced. NBA All-Star 2002 will include the 51st NBA All-Star Game, the events of NBA All-Star Saturday, the NBA TeamUp Celebration and the NBA All-Star Jam Session presented by Fleer. NBA All-Star 2002 will be held February 8-10, 2002. The First Union Center, which opened during the 1996-97 season, will host the NBA All-Star Game and the events of NBA All-Star Saturday, while the Pennsylvania Convention Center will play host to the NBA All-Star Jam Session. The city of Philadelphia and the 76ers were originally scheduled to host the 1999 NBA All-Star Weekend, which was cancelled due to a league work stoppage. This will mark the fourth time the NBA All-Star Game will be held in the city of Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Warriors hosted the game in 1960 at Convention Hall, where 10,421 turned out to see the East top the West, 125-115, behind 25 points from Wilt Chamberlain.
December 23, 2007
In Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, Kobe Bryant became the youngest player ever to reach 20,000 points (29 years, 122 days).
December 24, 1960
Boston pulled down 109 rebounds in a game against Detroit to establish an NBA record as the Celtics beat the Pistons 150-106.
December 25, 1960
The host Syracuse Nationals routed the New York Knicks 162-100 in a holiday game, setting a record for margin of victory (62 points) that would last for 12 years.
December 25, 1984
Bernard King scored a franchise-record 60 points for New York, but the Knicks bowed to the New Jersey Nets 120-114.
December 25, 200 4
In their first meeting since the November 19, 2004 brawl, the and Detroit Pistons beat the Indiana Pacers, 98-93 at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis without further incidents
December 25, 2008
Shaquille O’Neal became the second player in NBA history to miss 5,000 free throws, joining Wilt Chamberlain.
December 25, 2008
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics, making Phil Jackson the sixth coach to win 1,000 games. He also became the fastest to 1,000, usurping Pat Riley.
December 25, 2020
Hall of Famer K.C. Jones, an Olympic gold medalist and two-time NCAA champion who won eight straight NBA titles during the Celtics’ Bill Russell era and then coached the Boston teams with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish to two more championships in the 1980s, dies at 88.
December 26, 1976
Larry Kenon of San Antonio set an NBA record with 11 steals in the Spurs’ 110-105 victory over Kansas City. Kendall Gill of the New Jersey Nets tied Kenon’s mark more than 22 years later when he recorded 11 steals against Miami on April 3, 1999.
December 26, 1995
The NBA Jam Session presented by Fleer, the league’s interactive basketball attraction, opens at the annual Barcelona Children’s Festival in Spain, the first time that Jam Session ventured onto European soil.
December 26, 1997
San Antonio’s David Robinson scored 24 points to pass the 15,000-point plateau for his career.
D ecember 26, 2000
Don Nelson of the Dallas Mavericks notched his 945th head coaching win when Dallas defeated Seattle 114-93, moving ahead of Bill Fitch (944) and into third place in all-time NBA coaching victories.
December 26, 2011
Several members of the 2011 draft make their debuts on this night. Kyrie Irving debuts for the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 104-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Kawhi Leonard debuts for the San Antonio Spurs in a 95-82 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Isaiah Thomas debuts for the Sacramento Kings in a 100-91 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. And Kemba Walker debuts for the Charlotte Bobcats in a 96-95 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
December 26, 2001
Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown became the ninth coach in NBA history to reach 800 victories in the league after the Sixers’ 100-86 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers.
December 27, 1956
Bill Sharman’s consecutive free throw streak ended at 55, an NBA record that lasted for 19 years. Houston’s Calvin Murphy broke the record with 58 consecutive free throws during the 1975-76 season. The current record is 97 by Micheal Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves, set in 1993 over two seasons.
December 27, 1964
Oscar Robertson of Cincinnati had 16 free throw attempts in one quarter of the Royals’ game at Baltimore, the most free throw attempts in one quarter in NBA history. The mark has been matched by five players in 36 years, including Michael Jordan in 1992, but it has never been surpassed.
December 27, 1967
The New York Knicks named Red Holzman head coach, replacing Dick McGuire. Holzman went on to lead the Knicks to NBA titles in 1970 and 1973, utilizing several players recommended by McGuire, who became the team’s chief scout.
December 27, 1978
Seattle’s Paul Silas played in his 1,123rd regular season game, at that time trailing only John Havlicek’s 1,270. Robert Parish now holds the record for the most games played in an NBA career, with 1,560.
December 27, 1980
Calvin Murphy of the Houston Rockets began a streak of 78 consecutive free throws made in a game against Washington. It was the first of 16 games Murphy would need for his then NBA record FT streak.
December 27, 1991
Tim Hardaway of Golden State set an NBA record for most field goals attempted with none made in a game when he shot 0-for-17 in the Warriors’ 106-102 OT win at Minnesota.
December 28, 1950
Dolph Schayes of Syracuse pulled down 35 rebounds, at the time an NBA record in the new statistical category, in a game at Philadelphia against the Warriors.
December 28, 1995
Dick Motta of Dallas became the third NBA coach to win 900 games when the Mavericks beat the Grizzlies, 103-101 in double-overtime. He joined Red Auerbach (938) and Lenny Wilkens (then with 1,014).
December 28, 2019
In a game between the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans, history was made by the Holiday brothers. Aaron Holiday started for the Pacers as did Jrue Holiday for the Pelicans. Then, with seven minutes and 47 seconds left in the first quarter, Justin Holiday checked in off the Pacers’ bench. That made them the first trio of siblings to play in the same NBA game.
December 29, 1979
Houston’s Rick Barry scored 19 points in a 104-100 victory over Philadelphia, becoming only the 15th player at the time to surpass 18,000 career points.
December 29, 1997
Dallas’ Bubba Wells recorded six fouls in three minutes of a 111-105 loss to Chicago. He broke the 41-year-old NBA record of five minutes set by Dick Farley of the Syracuse Nationals.
December 29, 1999
The late Wilt Chamberlain became the first player to have his number retired by three teams when the Golden State Warriors retired his #13 jersey at halftime of their game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The No. 13 jersey was presented to Barbara Lewis and Yvonne Chamberlain, Wilt’s sisters, and Oliver Chamberlain, his brother. Chamberlain’s number had already been retired by the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was part of the 1967 NBA championship team, and the Los Angeles Lakers, where he was part of the 1972 title team. Chamberlain spent six years with the Warriors organization, averaging 41.5 points and 25.1 rebounds in 429 games.
December 29, 1999
Philadelphia 76ers coach Larry Brown became the 11th coach in NBA history to reach the 700-victory plateau when the 76ers defeated Golden State 97-94 in Oakland.
December 29, 2001
Don Nelson became the third coach in league annals to win 1,000 games as his Dallas Mavericks defeated Atlanta 113-97, and Jerry Sloan became the 10th coach in NBA lore to win 800 games when his Utah Jazz downed Philadelphia 89-81. Nelson joined Lenny Wilkens and Pat Riley in the 1,000-victory club.
December 30, 1961
Wilt Chamberlain scored 42 points in a 116-111 loss to Boston, the 14th straight game in which he scored at least 40 points, an NBA record.
December 30, 1971
The Los Angeles Lakers posted a 122-106 victory at Seattle, giving them a perfect 16-0 record for December, the best monthly record in NBA history. It was the Lakers’ second consecutive undefeated month, as they also posted a 14-0 mark in November, during their NBA record 33-game winning streak.
December 30, 1990
Orlando’s Scott Skiles dished off an NBA record 30 assists as the Magic defeated Denver 155-116 at Orlando Arena. Skiles surpassed previous record holder Kevin Porter of New Jersey, who handed out 29 assists in the Nets’ 126-112 win over Houston on February 24, 1978.
December 30, 1992
The Phoenix Suns defeated Houston 133-110 to finish December with a 14-0 record, tying for the third-best month in NBA history. The Lakers set the NBA record by going 16-0 in December 1971.
December 30, 1996
New York became the fourth NBA franchise to reach 2,000 victories, following a 98-96 home win over New Jersey. The other three NBA teams that had surpassed 2,000 victories are the Celtics, Lakers and 76ers.
December 30, 1997
Chicago’s Michael Jordan scored 33 points to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s mark of 787 consecutive games with at least 10 points.
December 30, 1997
San Antonio’s David Robinson recorded five blocked shots to move into eighth place on the all-time chart ahead of George T. Johnson (2,082).
December 30, 2016
Isaiah Thomas of the Boston Celtics scores 52 points in a 117-114 win over the Miami Heat.
December 31, 1954
The Fort Wayne Pistons and the Minneapolis Lakers combined to attempt 127 free throws, the most ever in a regulation NBA game. Minneapolis won 103-91.
December 31, 2016
James Harden of the Houston Rockets scores 53 points in a 129-122 win over the New York Knicks.