On December 13, 1983, the Detroit Pistons and Denver Nuggets combined to put up 370 points. The Pistons won 186-184 in the highest-scoring regular-season game in NBA history. Certainly, triple-overtime helped the teams score so much.
The Pistons only became a dominant defensive force later in the 80s. During the 1983 season, Detroit averaged 117.1 points per game, the third-most in the league. The leaders, Denver, averaged 123.7. Denver was known as a team that ran and then ran some more. They tried to use the cities altitude to their advantage. So Detroit knew they had to play a certain way to win, and that was by scoring a lot. As Alex English said, “Everybody was just flowing, it seemed like nobody could miss a shot.”
In the end, 12 players put up double figures, with four putting up over 40 points. For Detroit, Isiah Thomas scored 47, and John Long put up 41 points. For Denver, Alex English put up 47, and Kiki Vandeweghe scored a game-high 51. Interestingly, Detroit only made 37/60 free throws, or there could’ve been more scoring.
Here are a few in-era basketball cards from the game’s key players.
Will this record be broken? Scoring in the NBA is on the rise again, with the use of analytics and increased 3-point shooting, and as Thomas said, “It might be a while before it happens, but in the NBA, you’re always going to see something phenomenal, something that just boggles your mind.”
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for more hobby info. Below are the team box scores from the game.