Monday, February 8, 2010


In the early days, basketball as invented by Dr. Naismith was not envisioned as a high scoring sport. After a player would make a basket, the referee had to fish the ball out of the peach basket and bring the ball back to center court for a jump ball. At the time, basketball appeared to have much in common with hockey or soccer. Every basket made was an event. As the game evolved, the rules were changed to liven up the game.

But as late as 1950, before the introduction of the shot clock, the NBA saw a 19-18 game in which the Fort Wayne Pistons edged the Minneapolis Lakers. The fans were snoozing in the stands, wondering why they actually paid admission to watch. And if they hadn't brought in the 24 second shot clock to juice up the game, (not to mention replacing a bunch of stationary white guys), the NBA would still be poking around in backwater cities like Fort Wayne, Rochester, and Syracuse rather than Chicago and Los Angeles. Of course, L.A. doesn't have an NFL team, but don't get me started on that.

After the 1954 introduction of the shot clock in the NBA, scoring, as well as attendance went up astronomically. Fans clamored to see athletic (read: Black) players like Russell, Wilt, Oscar and Elgin Baylor who could run the floor and dunk the basketball. They transformed the game into what it is today.

In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain set several records that will probably not be broken. He scored 100 points in one game against the New York Knicks. The game was played in Hershey, PA. At that time, the NBA teams often barnstormed to ignite fan interest in the hinterlands. The final score of that game was 169-147, the Philadelphia Warriors on top. Many of Wilt's baskets would not be allowed today because of offensive goal tending--he often got his hand on teammates' shots above the basket and dunked them. In that game he made 36 baskets out of 63 attempts, and hit 28 of 32 from the charity stripe. He also grabbed 25 rebounds. His point guard, Guy Rodgers racked up 20 assists. The way Wilt was going Mr. Rogers probably could have gotten those 20 assists.

By the fourth quarter, the game turned into a circus after the unfortunate Darrall Imhoff, Willie Naulls and Dave Budd fouled out attempting to guard him. The Knicks started quintuple teaming Chamberlain, thus giving his teammates open shots which they were declining. The Knicks even resorted to intentionally fouling Wilt's teammates in an effort to deny him the ball. Wilt's Warriors responded by fouling Knicks players to stop the clock and get the ball back to feed it to Wilt.

For the season, Chamberlain averaged over 50 points per game and over 25 rebounds. For the record, he played almost every minute of every game, logging over 4000 minutes in the 82 game season.

Among Wilt's other accomplishments was that he never fouled out of a game at any level--high school, college or pros. Actually, according to Bill Simmons in The Book of Basketball, Chamberlain was obsessed with his stats, often to the detriment of his team. When Chamberlain got in foul trouble, he basically stopped playing defense.

Personally, I think his most remarkable record was the 20,000 women he claimed to have shagged (in his biography). Since he was a stat guy, he may have hired someone to keep score. Chamberlain was a lifelong bachelor--some have suggested that he may have been gay and the 20,000 girl story was his cover. True or not, if you work the numbers, and I'm not a math whiz, he would have bagged 400 girls (one-night stands) per year for a period of 50 years--Chamberlain died in 1999 at age 63. We haven't considered the fact that he may have liked some of those girls and saw them on several occasions. As you can see, he was a busy guy off the court as well. Tiger Woods has a long way to go to break that record.


The Denver Nuggets squared off against the Detroit Pistons in Denver on December 13, 1983. We know that in Denver, the Mile High City, baseballs seem to fly farther, but I don't know how that would affect basketball. Nevertheless, the teams combined for 370 total points in a triple-overtime thriller. Detroit won 186-184. They combined to shoot 57% from the field. The Box Score is as follows:

Tripucka 14 7-9 5 35 English 18 11-13 4 47
Levingston 1 0-0 6 2 Vanderweghe 21 9-11 3 51
Laimbeer 6 5-9 4 17 Issel 11 6-8 3 28
Thomas 18 10-19 5 47 Williams 3 3-4 6 9
Long 18 5-6 4 41 Dunn 3 1-2 6 7
Johnson 4 4-5 4 12 Evans 7 2-2 6 16
Tyler 8 2-3 3 18 Hancock 0 2-2 6 2
Benson 0 0-0 3 0 Schayes 0 11-12 4 11
Tolbert 1 1-4 4 3 Carter 0 0-0 0 0
Cureton 3 3-5 5 9 Anderson 5 2-3 4 13
Russell 1 0-0 1 2 Dennard 0 0-0 1 0
Thirdkill 0 0-0 1 0
TOTAL 74 37-60 44 186 TOTAL 68 48-57 43 184

DETROIT 38 36 34 37 14 12 15--186
DENVER 34 40 39 32 14 12 13--184

Each team had 1 three-point field goal.

As you can see, it was a pretty exciting game. The Nuggets, under Coach Doug Moe, were known for pushing the ball up the court. They averaged over 123 points per game and scored more than 140 points in many games. The Pistons were no slouches themselves. Although in the late 1980's they won two championships as a relatively low scoring defensive force under Coach Chuck Daly, the 1983-84 version rang up 117 points per game.

The lead in the game swung back and forth, and with seconds remaining, and the Pistons trailing 145-142, Bill Laimbeer was fouled and went to the line for 2 free throws. He sank the first and intentionally missed the second. Isiah Thomas stormed up the lane to tip in the missed free throw to send the game into overtime. In the first OT, Denver took a 5 point lead, but Detroit came roaring back as Isiah hit his team's only 3-pointer to tie the game.

In the second OT, Kelly Tripucka scored all 12 points for the Pistons. Interviewed after the game, he admitted that he was motivated to get out of there because he was afraid all the restaurants would be closed because the game went on so long. But the Nuggets weren't going down so easily. Finally, in the third OT, Detroit was finally able to grab the lead. Denver closed to the final score with their only trey of the game, by Richard Anderson. It was the only game in NBA history in which 4 players scored more than 40 points each.

The high scorer in the game was Kiki Vanderweghe, whose claim to fame was genetic--his father, Ernie had starred in the NBA, and his mother, Colleen was Miss America in 1952. Alex English scored 47. Although the Nuggets stars were prolific scorers, they were considered defensive liabilities. According to the aforementioned Bill Simmons, "The Basketball Guy", Larry Bird used to destroy those guys, along with the Pistons' Kelly Tripucka (whose father was an NFL quarterback). Simmons said that if Bird had played in their division of the NBA, he would have added 3 points per game to his average.


This one boggles the mind, but Troy State (Alabama), in probably the consummate example of poor sportsmanship, blew out DeVry Institute of Atlanta, GA, an NAIA Division II school, by a score of 258-141 on January 13, 1992. I have searched in vain for the box score. DeVry, a for-profit school specializing in computer training, discovered that computer games don't translate well onto the hardwood. Students go there to learn computers, not defense. You can view excerpts of the game on YouTube, as I did. (http://www/ I hope I got that right!

What was remarkable was the lack of defense (huh?) Most of the Troy State baskets I saw were uncontested shots after turnovers. They were passing up easy layups to shoot treys--and making them. Although most DeVry players were short computer geeks, they DID score 141 points. Essentially, Troy State's five was on one side of the court while DeVry's was still on the other side, chasing them. A week earlier, on January 4th, they had lost to University of North Alabama 127-57. A year earlier, the same teams met, with Troy State winning 187-117, scoring a then record 103 points in the second half.

In a mismatch like this one, it is considered in poor taste to be shooting uncontested 3's from the top of the key with an 80 point lead. Incredibly, the Trojans launched 109 three-point shots, making 51. One player, Brian Simpson, played only 15 minutes, but managed to fire up 26 treys and score 37 points. The top scorer for the Trojans was forward Terry McCord with 41 points. By halftime, Troy already had scored 123. Early in the second half, they led 137-58. With 10:24 to go, they had run it up to 189-95. So even more remarkable, the computer geeks at DeVry scored 46 points in the last 10 1/2 minutes. Neither team did it at the free throw line. In the whole game, only 1 foul was called against Troy State and 6 against DeVry.

The run and shoot offense of Coach Don Maestri and Assistant David Felix was patterned after that of Coach Paul Westhead who, among other things made a name for himself in college at Loyola Marymount. (See KENSUSKINREPORT, Jan. 13, 2009) Westhead had coached the LA Lakers to the NBA championship with Magic and Kareem but was allegedly fired because he couldn't get along with Magic. The highest score Westhead could do at LMU was to beat U.S. International 186-140 on January 5, 1991 and 181-150 on January 31, 1989. While most coaches want their teams to move the ball around to set up a good shot, to Maestri, there's no such thing as a bad shot. Coach Westhead was kind enough to send films of LMU's high octane offensive schemes to the Troy State staff who studied them diligently and used them with devastating impact.

The bottom line was that run-and-shoot proved to be a successful formula for the Trojans who won 27 games in 1992, averaging 121 points per game, and moved up to Division 1A the following season.

While this assault on the record books sounds exciting, it's really no fun watching the neighborhood bully beating up on the little guy. The fans prefer real competition. Perhaps DeVry should play the infamous Washington Generals who haven't won a game since 1971. (see KENSUSKINREPORT March 31, 2008)

DeVry FG FGA FT FTA Reb PF A ST Points
Young 3-9 0-0 2 0 1 0 6
Heilig 13-24 0-0 8 1 3 1 27
Daniel 20-30 0-0 11 1 3 0 42
Jones 7-16 0-0 8 2 6 2 16
Kylers 14-22 0-0 7 1 7 1 28
Ramsey 7-10 0-0 2 0 1 2 14
Quarles 3-10 0-0 5 1 7 1 8
TOTAL 67-121 0-0 46 6 28 7 141

3-point FG Heilig 1-3, Daniel 2-4, Jones 2-6, Quarles 2-7
FG% 55.4% 3-point FG% 35.0 Turnovers 44 (Jones 19, Daniel 7, Kylers 7)

Troy St. FG FGA FT FTA Reb PF A ST Points

Evans 12-20 0-0 4 0 2 2 29
Smith 12-24 0-0 13 0 11 3 29
A. Davis 1-1 0-0 12 0 8 6 2
T. Davis 9-22 0-0 8 0 8 1 24
McCord 16-26 0-0 6 0 6 6 41
Hunt 5-9 0-0 4 0 4 2 15
Fayson 3-10 3-3 3 0 5 3 12
Gresham 8-19 0-0 15 0 5 4 29
Bryant 9-14 0-0 6 0 9 0 20
Bryan 14-16 0-0 13 0 2 0 29
Simpson 13-29 0-0 7 1 5 1 37
TOTAL 102-190 3-3 94 1 65 28 258

3-point FG: Evans 5-10, Smith 5-11, T. Davis 6-16, McCord 9-14, Hunt 5-7, Fayson 3-8Gresham 4-11, Bryant 2-3, Bryan 1-3, Simpson 11-26
FG %54.7 3-point FG % 46.8 Turnovers 11 (Bryan 3, Simpson 3)




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