Nuggets Legendary Moments: David Thompson’s 73-point game
Seventy-three points. Forty-two years to this day, David Thompson cemented his legacy as an all-time Nuggets great by posting that output in a 139-137 loss to the Detroit Pistons on April 9, 1978. It’s an accomplishment so otherworldly, he is one of only three players to score 73 points or more in a game, with the others being Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe Bryant.
Thompson’s historic night was sparked by a race for the scoring title with fellow NBA legend George Gervin, who played for the San Antonio Spurs. It was the final game of the season for the Nuggets and head coach Larry Brown, a Hall-of-Famer, gave Thompson the green light to fire as many shots as he needed to take home the crown. Thompson sure did.
The Nuggets swingman hoisted up 38 attempts, hitting 28 of them and went to the line 20 times, converting 17 times. Thompson would match Gervin on scoring average at 27.2 points per game after the contest, but the Spurs star won the tiebreaker on total points. Still, Thompson would have a legendary night that people still talk about in discussing the forward’s underrated greatness during his time in the Mile High City.
Thompson joined the Nuggets during their final year in the ABA in the 1975-76 campaign and dazzled crowds in Denver for six additional seasons in the NBA. During his seven years with the team, he averaged 24.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists while shooting 50.7 percent from the floor.