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On This Day (Dec. 17)
Notable events from NBA history that occurred on December 17.
One of a Kind for Hakeem
On this day in 1989, the Houston Rockets’ Hakeem Olajuwon scored 32 points, grabbed 25 rebounds, and blocked 10 shots in a 109-94 win over the Orlando Magic. Since the NBA began tracking blocks in 1973-74, Olajuwon is the only player to record at least 25 points, 25 rebounds, and 10 blocks in a game.
This was one of 10 triple-doubles in which Olajuwon recorded at least 10 blocks. Dikembe Mutombo is the only other player to record 10 such games:
10 — Hakeem Olajuwon
10 — Dikembe Mutombo
9 — David Robinson
8 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
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Career High for Hondo
On this day in 1963, the Boston Celtics’ John Havlicek scored 43 points in a 131-114 victory over the Baltimore Bullets, tied for the most points Havlicek ever scored in a regular-season game. He also scored 43 points versus the Milwaukee Bucks on March 8, 1970.
Havlicek owns the lowest career high among the 23 players in NBA history who have scored at least 25,000 points:
43 — John Havlicek
47 — Kevin Garnett
50 — Paul Pierce
51 — Vince Carter
52 — Hakeem Olajuwon
Havlicek did score 54 points in a playoff game on April 2, 1973, a mark that still stands as the Celtics’ postseason record.
On this day in 1991, the Cleveland Cavaliers destroyed the Miami Heat 148-80, at the time the largest margin of victory in NBA history. The Cavaliers’ 68-point win now ranks second all time:
73 — Grizzlies vs. Thunder (Dec. 2, 2021)
68 — Cavaliers vs. Heat (Dec. 17, 1991)
65 — Pacers vs. Trail Blazers (Feb. 27, 1998)
63 — Lakers vs. Warriors (March 19, 1972)
Eight players scored in double figures for the Cavaliers, but no player scored more than 18 points:
18 — Mark Price
18 — John Battle
17 — Brad Daugherty
17 — Henry James
16 — Hot Rod Williams
11 — Danny Ferry
11 — Winston Bennett
11 — Jimmy Oliver
It’s tied for the most points ever scored by a team without a 20-point scorer. The Houston Rockets also scored 148 points without a 20-point scorer on March 15, 1986, as Hakeem Olajuwon and Jim Petersen tied for team scoring honors with 19 points.
It Takes a Thief
On this day in 2008, the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul had 19 points, 12 assists, and three steals in a 99-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs. It was the 106th consecutive game in which Paul recorded at least one steal, breaking a tie with Alvin Robertson for the longest such streak in NBA history.
Paul's streak eventually reached 108 games before being snapped on Christmas Day versus the Orlando Magic. It still stands as the NBA record. In fact, the closest any player has come to Paul since then is 64 games (Mike Conley and Victor Oladipo). The longest active streak is just 14 games (Anthony Edwards).
Arenas Sets Franchise Mark
On this day in 2006, the Washington Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas scored a career-high and franchise-record 60 points in a 147-141 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Arenas added eight rebounds and eight assists, shooting 17-32 from the field — including 5-12 from 3-point range — and 21-27 from the free throw line.
Arenas scored 16 of his points in the extra session, the most in NBA history in an overtime period:
16 — Gilbert Arenas (Dec. 17, 2006)
15 — Earl Boykins (Jan. 18, 2005)
15 — Collin Sexton (Jan. 20, 2021)
Arenas averaged 28.4 PPG that season, the third-highest scoring average in the NBA. He became the first player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers and 600 free throws in a season. Since then, only two others players have accomplished the feat: James Harden (six times) and Russell Westbrook.