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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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Top 5 Scorers To Never Lead NBA In Scoring
Sunday , Feb , 10 , 2013 Paul Eide

Top 5 Scorers To Never Lead NBA In Scoring

For as great as these players were at scoring, they never led the league in per game average at any time in their career.

HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: The players on this list are surprising.

 

5. David Thompson

One of the games early high flyers, Thompson could really fill it up. In his lone ABA season he averaged 26.0 ppg (third best) before moving to the NBA and averaging 25.9 in 1976-77 (fourth most) and 27.1 in 1977-78 (second most).

4. Carmelo Anthony

With a 2012-13 average of 28.7, Anthony is currently second in the league in scoring behind Kevin Durant by a mere .4 points per game. Anthony has been one of the most consistent scorers in the league since he was drafted nine years ago. Melo's his career average is 24.9 and he has finished second in scoring once with 28.9 in 2006-07 and third in 2009-10.

3. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk and his gaudy 22.7 career average has never been higher in a single season than it was in 2005-06 when he scored 26.6 a game, but that was only seventh best in the league.  He has finished in fourth a couple of times, but other than that, he has never finished higher that sixth in any single season, which is also where he ranks amongst current players in terms of highest ppg.

2. Karl Malone

If he wanted to lead the league in scoring, Malone picked the wrong time to be a productive scorer. The Mailman finished second an amazing five times, third three times, fourth twice and fifth three times. All of those were over a span of 13 consecutive years. His career average of 25.0 is 12th best in NBA history.

1. Elgin Baylor

Even though Baylor is fourth all-time in per game scoring average (27.3) he never lead the league in scoring. He finished second in scoring two separate times (both behind Wilt Chamberlain) with impressive averages of 34.8 in 1960-61 and 34.0 in 1962-63. He also finished third twice and fourth four separate times. For as prolific as Baylor was in all aspects of the game (13.5 rpg, 4.3 apg), his scoring production is incredible.

 

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