High-scoring games may seem like a new thing for many fans who did not watch NBA basketball in past eras. But high-scoring offenses have been around for decades. While it is unusual to see current teams scoring under 100 points in a game, in past decades some teams would get close to 100 points in a half. In this article, we'll take a look at the five highest-scoring games in NBA history.
5 highest-scoring games in NBA history
In the first week of the 2020-21 NBA season, we have seen several teams score well over 130 points in a game with ease. The LA Lakers (138 vs. the Dallas Mavericks), Milwaukee Bucks (138 vs. the Golden State Warriors) and San Antonio Spurs (131 vs. Memphis) have been among the eye-catching offenses. And while high scoring is quite entertaining for many NBA fans, it is not lovely for some of the game's purists.
Still, the fast-paced offenses of today's NBA or the past are not necessarily a bad thing, nor do they represent a lack of defense.
Given the high scoring we have seen in some games already in the 2020-21 NBA season, let's take a look at the highest-scoring games in NBA history.
No. 1 - Detroit Pistons vs. Denver Nuggets, December 13th, 1983 - 370 points
Before the Detroit Pistons became the NBA's "Bad Boys" in the second half of the 1980s, the team was a fast-paced machine. Isiah Thomas and Kelly Tripucka were the main tools for Detroit's attack in that era.
In the 1982-83 NBA season, the Denver Nuggets of Alex English, Kiki Vandeweghe, and Dan Issel led the NBA in points per game (123.2).
On December 13th, 1983, the Pistons visited the McNichols Arena at Denver. Both teams were in the top six in terms of points per game scored, and they did not disappoint.
Detroit took a 186-184 triple-overtime victory over the Nuggets. In the process, many records were broken, including the most points scored by one team in a game, most points scored by a losing team in a game, most assists by two teams in a game, and most field goals between two teams combined.
Four players scored at least 40 points: Vandeweghe (51) and English (47) for the Nuggets and Thomas (47) and Long (41) for the Pistons.
No. 2 - Milwaukee Bucks vs. San Antonio Spurs, March 6th, 1982 - 337 points
Before the Pistons and the Nuggets broke the NBA record for most points scored in a game in 1983, the San Antonio Spurs and the Milwaukee Bucks held the previous record.
On March 6th, 1982, the Bucks visited the Spurs, and the two teams combined for 337 points in a triple-OT game at San Antonio's HemisFair Arena. The Spurs won 171-166 on the back of 50 points from George Gervin and 45 by Mike Mitchell.
On Milwaukee's side, Brian Winters scored 42, and Junior Bridgeman added 31 points.