After 37 years, the Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets matchup in December 1983 is still the NBA’s highest-scoring game.
The Detroit Pistons capped off its weekend with a Sunday evening victory over the New York Knicks in both team’s second preseason game.
However, Sunday was a special moment in Pistons history.
It’s a moment that NBA fans rarely talk about when discussing the most significant moments in history. Even Detroit sports fans rarely talk about it. On December 13th, 1983, the Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184 in triple overtime. To this day, it is still the record for the NBA’s highest-scoring game.
Both teams combined for a total score of 370 points.
Basketball Hall of Famer and Pistons legend Isiah Thomas led the Pistons with 47 points, 17 assists, five rebounds, and four steals. Right behind him was John Long with 41 points, eight assists, and six rebounds. The Pistons’ third-highest scorer in the game, Kelly Tripucka, had 35 points.
To think that three players accounted for 66% of the Pistons’ scoring is crazy, but when you get to the Nuggets scoring in that game, it’s right up there.
For the Nuggets, Kiki Vandeweghe led the way with 51 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists. Following Vandeweghe in the Nuggets’ scoring barrage was Alex English.
Just like his fellow Hall of Fame counterpart Isiah Thomas, he too dropped 47 points, along with 12 rebounds and seven assists. Dan Issel also added 28 points for the Nuggets.