The NBA’s other book of lists

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus (The Freeman) - December 29, 2015 - 9:00am

The National Basketball Association makes a list of almost anything related to their league – from attendance records to how often a player touches the ball when he’s on the playing court.  Usually, we read about achievements made in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks, steals.  These are the most common records we encounter at the course of the on-going season.

There is another list that confines itself to the lost files, records that are almost forgotten they are borderline extinct.  Nonetheless, they still generate enough interest despite their obscurity.  Let’s start with:

The lowest game total – Long before you and me were born, the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Minneapolis Lakers played a very boring and dull game.  Yawning was more exciting when the Pistons won over the Lakers, 19 to 18 in a game played on November 22, 1950.  Yes, the total combined score was 37.  No player from Fort Wayne scored more than 5 points.  George Mikan of the Lakers scored 15 points, two others scored 2 points and 1 point.

The longest game ever played – The Indianapolis Olympians and Rochester Royals played 6 overtimes in January 6, 1951.  Only 4 points were scored in the first OT, a scoreless second OT, another four points in the third OT then another scoreless fourth OT.  Exactly what they were doing with the ball is still a mystery until today. The fifth overtime had a combined 8 points.  Mercifully, the Olympians scored a basket in the sixth OT, prevailing over the Royals, 75-73.

Highest scoring regulation game – In February 27, 1959, the Boston Celtics defeated the Minneapolis Lakers, 173-139, with a combined total score of 312.  To date, this record still stands.

Most dominating single season performance – In the 1961-1962 season while playing for the Philadelphia Warriors, Wilt Chamberlain submitted per game averages of 50.4 points, 25.7 rebounds and 48.5 minutes.  The accumulated minutes included 5 overtimes, a double overtime and a triple overtime.  Wilt had a career 45.8 minutes per game.

Most games played in a single season – During the 1968-1969 season, Walt Bellamy played the first 35 games with the New York Knicks averaging 15.2 points and 11 rebounds.  He was traded to Detroit and at that time the Pistons played six games less than the Knicks.  Instead of 47 remaining games, Bellamy had 53 and made the most of it, improving his production to 18.8 points and 13.5 rebounds.

Most blocks in a game – Elmore Smith, playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in October 28, 1973, contributed to their 111-98 victory over Portland when he swatted away 17 shots.

Highest combined scoring total – On December 13, 1983, the Detroit Pistons prevailed over the Denver Nuggets in three overtimes, 186-184 with a scoring total of 370 points.  Three Pistons combined for 123 points (Isaiah Thomas 47, John Long 41 and Kelly Tripucka 35).  Kiki Vandeweghe 51, Alex English 47 and Dan Issel 28 combined 126 points for the Nuggets.

Most steals in a single quarter – Fat Lever, playing for Denver, recorded 8 steals in one quarter on March 9, 1985.  They defeated Indiana, 126-116.

Most minutes played in a single game – During a November 9, 1989 5-overtime game, Seattle Supersonic Dale Ellis played a total of 69 minutes, scoring 53 points.  Teammate Xavier McDaniel had 68 minutes in a 154-155 losing effort to Milwaukee.  Jay Humphries of the Bucks played for 62 minutes.

Most assists in a single game – When the Orlando Magic defeated Denver in December 30, 1990, Scott Skiles had 30 assists to go with his 22 points.

Largest winning margin – Before LeBron James and Dwayne Wade strutted their stuff in the NBA, Cleveland humiliated Miami on December 17, 1991, 148-80.  The 68-point winning margin is still waiting to be broken.

Quickest player to foul out – On December 29, 1997, Bubba Wells of Dallas was sent into the game to guard Dennis Rodman who was then playing for Chicago.  In a span of three minutes, Wells had six fouls and Rodman converted 9 of his12 free throw attempts.

Most technical fouls in a single season – Pissing so many referees is a charm only Rasheed Wallace can do expertly that during the 2000-2001 season, he received 40 technical fouls.  The second most TFs in a single season is 38, yup, still courtesy of Sheed.  Now that he’s retired, this record will never broken as the NBA will now punish players for collecting too many TFs.

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