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Today In NBA History 1978: “The Iceman” Vs “Skywalker” For NBA Scoring Title
Tuesday , Apr , 09 , 2013 Paul Eide

Today In NBA History 1978: “The Iceman” Vs “Skywalker” For NBA Scoring Title

35 years ago today, the NBA scoring title was on the line with one game remaining.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: This is one of the great stories in NBA history.

Thompson's Denver squad played the Pistons in Detroit and the "Skywalker" got off to a ridiculous start, setting an NBA record by making 13 field goals in the first quarter. Thompson sums up his feelings in his book, Skywalker:

"Not realizing what had just occurred -- it all happened so fast -- I was amazed to learn later that I had set an NBA record for most points in a quarter with 32. That beat Wilt Chamberlain's 1962 mark by one, set in that historic game where Wilt scored 100 points. Equally stunning was my accuracy in that first quarter. I went 13-14 from the field (Poquette's block being the only shot I missed) and 6-6 from the foul line.

My 13 field goals were also a new NBA record, and it still stands to this day."

He continued his torrid pace for the remainder of the game, finishing with a total of 73 points, the most ever for a guard in NBA history, until Kobe broke it with his 81 point game. Remember though, neither Thompson nor Gervin had the advantage of the three-point shot.

"I had been locked in a scoring duel with George Gervin of the Spurs for much of the year. Only 14 points separated us at the top of the league scoring chart heading into our last games that Sunday."

Speaking of Gervin, later that evening "The Iceman" poured in a cool 63 points (probably without sweating) and just barely edged out Thompson by the slimmest of margins, the closest in NBA history, to win the 1978 scoring title: 27.22 to 27.15.

After scoring 73 points, the first thing Thompson did when he got home was check in on Gervin's progress.

"When I finally made it home, I scanned the dial on the radio and attempted to pick up the San Antonio versus New Orleans broadcast. If it had been any player other than "The Iceman," I wouldn't have even bothered. I caught the game early into the second quarter, and by halftime Gervin had fired in 53 points. I knew then that my 73 had been in vain."

Even though Thompson lost the scoring title, his value as an NBA player was at its apex. He was rewarded during the off-season with a record breaking contract- $4 million dollars for five years. That was the most any basketball player had been paid in NBA history. What do you think Kobe or LeBron would say if that got offered that deal today? The game has come a long way.

The closest match-up in recent memory to the slugfest between Thompson and Gervin was in 1995 when David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal went at it for the scoring title, which also came down to the final regular season game. Robinson scored 71 points and edged Shaq 29.8 to 29.3.

 

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There’s Only One “Dream Team”, Sorry Kobe- Just Ask My Starting Lineup Figurines
Saturday , Jul , 14 , 2012 Paul Eide

There’s Only One “Dream Team”, Sorry Kobe- Just Ask My Starting Lineup Figurines

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since the original Dream Team dominated the 1992 Summer Olympics? It must've been that long if Kobe thinks this year's incarnation would have ANY SHOT against them.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: There will never be another Dream Team, in any sport.

Perhaps even more amazingly, can you believe that in all that time that I have maintained my collection of Starting Lineup Dream Team figurines in its original box, unopened and untouched by human hands? On a trip to a local Target with my step mother, I conned her into buying it for me; $100 when you're twelve feels like $1,000,000. It was the kind of gift you could only secure via guilt. It was the sort of reverse psychology that women have been employing on me ever since.
 
I remember one time in 8th grade during my 13th birthday party it was discovered by a party goer named Eric Hoffman who spent at least two hours prying me to open it. It was the ultimate peer pressure situation, but I held firm. It turns out I should’ve probably opened it because since then it’s appreciated roughly $20 in nearly 20 years. But every time I see it, I remember how special that team was, even though Clyde Drexler and Christian Laettner, as late additions, were not included in the set.
 
Did you know that Laettner was actually selected over Shaquille O’Neal for the final spot? We all saw what Charles Barkley did to that Angolan; imagine what Shaq could’ve done. The Dream Team beat their opponents in the Olympics that year by an average score of 44 points a game and looked so cool doing it.
 
The closest margin of victory was a 32 point win over Croatia which included NBA players Toni Kukoc, Dino Radja, Drazen Petrovic, Stojko Vrankovic and Zan Tabak. Croatia won the Silver Medal and led by all that talent, ushered in a new era for the NBA where overseas players began to be viewed as valuable as their American counterparts. Today you can look at almost every NBA roster and find a player from another country, but in 1992 it was extremely rare.
 
Michael Jordan was the only player to start all eight games which really speaks to how great he was. Even surrounded by all those Alpha Males, there was no question who the top dog was. Jordan took 30 more shots than anyone else, but Barkley was the leading scorer putting up 18 ppg. Just in case anyone forgot, check out this roster; it would be akin to playing a game against the Hall of Fame as 11 of the players (minus Laettner) are actually in the Hall of Fame:
 
Michael Jordan- 14.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.8 apg
David Robinson- 9.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.9 apg
Patrick Ewing- 9.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg. 0.4 apg
Larry Bird- 8.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.8 apg
Scottie Pippen- 9.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 5.9 apg
Clyde Drexler- 10.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.6 apg
Karl Malone- 13.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.1 apg
John Stockton- 2.8 ppg, 0.3 rpg, 2.0 apg
Chris Mullin- 12.9 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 3.6 apg
Charles Barkley- 18 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.4 apg
Magic Johnson- 8.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 5.5 apg
Christian Laettner- 4.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.4 apg
 
 
Since the original Dream Team won Gold, the rest of the world gradually caught up and no other US Olympic team was even close to being as dominant. In what can only be described as an affront to the supreme quality of the original (and only, in my mind) Dream Team is that each of the next two USA Olympic teams were also referred as the “Dream Team” though really, who are they fooling? A team with Steve Smith on it should never be referred to as a “Dream Team”. A more suitable moniker would be “Team of Guys Who Are Above Average NBA Players”.
 
The Dream Team wasn't just the greatest team ever assembled for the way it dominated on the court, but it actually furthered the development of the sport for the entire world.
 
Sorry, Kobe.
 
 

 

Kobe’s 81 Vs. Robinson’s 71- Which Is More Impressive?
Wednesday , Nov , 30 , 2011 Paul Eide

Kobe’s 81 Vs. Robinson’s 71- Which Is More Impressive?

 

A lot of Spurs fans seem to think that David Robinson’s performance against the Clippers doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Namely, that Kobe gets more love for his 81 point game. My response is- why wouldn’t he? He scored 10 more points. And that’s only one of five reasons I can think of.
 
Let’s Reflect: The Admiral’s 71 Point Game
Wednesday , Nov , 30 , 2011 Paul Eide

Let’s Reflect: The Admiral’s 71 Point Game

 

What makes Robinson’s 71 point performance special is that not only was he just the third player to score 70+ in an NBA game, but that the 1993-94 NBA scoring title was on the line.
 
If MJ Is The Greatest Who Is 2nd Best All-Time? Part Three
Tuesday , May , 03 , 2011 Paul Eide

If MJ Is The Greatest Who Is 2nd Best All-Time? Part Three

 

So, this is it ladies and germs. Over the first two articles (which you can read here and here) we assembled a list of ten players to decide who is the second best NBA player ever, behind Michael Jordan. This final list of five contains the only remaining players who deserve to be mentioned and considered.
 
The Greatest Team Ever Assembled
Friday , Mar , 11 , 2011 Paul Eide

The Greatest Team Ever Assembled

 

Can you believe it’s been 19 years since the original Dream Team dominated the 1992 Summer Olympics? Perhaps more amazingly, can you believe that in all that time that I have maintained my collection of Starting Lineup Dream Team figurines in its original box, unopened and untouched by human hands?