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On This Day (Dec. 1)
Notable events from NBA history that occurred on December 1.
Thomas Sets Franchise Mark
On this day in 1991, the Detroit Pistons’ Isiah Thomas became the franchise's all-time scoring leader, tallying a game-high 22 points in a 94-87 win over the Houston Rockets. Thomas passed Bob Lanier, who had set the mark in 1979. Thomas still holds the record today.
Thomas is also the Pistons’ all-time leader in minutes, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made, free throws attempted, assists, and steals.
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Oscar Reaches Milestone
On this day in 1972, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Oscar Robertson scored 19 points in a 100-74 rout of the New York Knicks, becoming just the second player in NBA history to reach 25,000 career points. He joined Wilt Chamberlain, who reached the milestone on Feb. 23, 1968.
Robertson retired following the 1973-74 season as the second-leading scorer in NBA history. He remained in that spot until he was passed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1981 (see below).
Kareem Passes Oscar
On this day in 1981, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored 14 points in a 117-86 win over the Utah Jazz. Abdul-Jabbar passed Oscar Robertson to become the second-leading scorer in NBA history.
Less than two and a half years later, Abdul-Jabbar would pass Wilt Chamberlain to take over the top spot. Abdul-Jabbar remains there today, although LeBron James is poised to surpass him this season.
On this day in 2001, the Utah Jazz’s John Stockton recorded two steals in a loss to the Indiana Pacers, becoming the first player in NBA history to reach 3,000 career steals (the NBA began tracking steals in 1973-74).
Stockton is still the only player to reach that mark. His 3,265 career steals are 581 more than the next-closest player (Jason Kidd).
On this day in 2018, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry made three 3-pointers in a loss to the Detroit Pistons. This was the first of 209 consecutive regular-season games (and counting) in which Curry made at least one 3-pointer, the longest such streak in NBA history by 52 games.
It was also the first of 53 straight games in which Curry made multiple 3-pointers, also the longest such streak in NBA history.
Ewing Drops 50
On this day in 1990, the New York Knicks’ Patrick Ewing had 50 points, 15 rebounds, and three blocks in a 113-96 win over the Charlotte Hornets. He shot 22-31 from the field (71.0%) and made all six of his free throws.
Ewing and Willis Reed are the only players in franchise history to record a 50-point, 15-rebound game, and Ewing is the only one to do so twice.
Scoring Record for Smith
On this day in 1990, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Charles Smith tied a franchise single-game record by scoring 52 points in a 137-121 win over the Denver Nuggets. Smith hit 17 of his 27 shots from the field (63.0%) and 18 of his 21 free throws (85.7%).
Smith matched Bob McAdoo, who had two 52-point games with the Buffao Braves in the 1970s. They still share the record today.
On this day in 1967, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Wilt Chamberlain became the first player in NBA history to miss 20 free throws in a game. Despite shooting just 8-30 from the free throw line, Chamberlain recorded 52 points and 37 rebounds to lead the Sixers to a 133-109 win over the Seattle SuperSonics.
Since then, only two other player have missed at least 20 free throws in a game: DeAndre Jordan (22) and Andre Drummond (23).
Spida Youngest with 40
On this day in 2017, the Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell became the youngest player in franchise history to record a 40-point game in a 114-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. The 21-year-old Mitchell scored 41 points, shooting 13-25 from the field (including 6-12 from 3-point range) and 9-11 from the free throw line.
Mitchell and Grayson Allen (April 10, 2019) are the only rookies in franchise history to record a 40-point game, and Mitchell is the only one to do so twice.