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On This Day (Jan. 1)
Notable events from NBA history that occurred on January 1.
DiGregorio Sets Rookie Mark
On this day in 1974, the Buffalo Braves’ Ernie DiGregorio set an NBA single-game record for rookies — as well as a franchise single-game record — by dishing out 25 assists in a 120-119 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Both records still stand today, although the rookie mark was tied by the Seattle SuperSonics’ Nate McMillan on Feb. 23, 1987.
DiGregorio went on to be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year that season, averaging 15.2 PPG and a league-leading 8.2 APG. He also shot a league-best 90.2% from the free throw line.
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Unique Stat Line for Nurkic
On this day in 2019, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic put up a historic stat line in a 113-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings:
Since the NBA began tracking steals and blocks in 1973-74, Nurkic is the only player to record at least 20 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and five blocks in a game.
Career High for Kawhi
On this day in 2019, the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard scored a career-high 45 points in a 122-116 win over the Utah Jazz. Leonard has matched that total in two playoff games:
April 27, 2019, Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers
June 4, 2021, L.A. Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks
It’s the only time Leonard has scored more than 35 points in a regular season game without making a 3-pointer. He shot 16-22 from the field (72.7%) and 13-17 from the free throw line (76.5%).
Jimmy Butler’s Debut
On this day in 2012, Jimmy Butler made his NBA debut with the Chicago Bulls, scoring two points in a 104-64 rout of the Memphis Grizzlies. Butler averaged just 2.6 PPG in 42 games in his rookie campaign.
Butler has been named to one of the All-NBA teams for three different franchises:
The only players with more such selections are Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Paul (four franchises each). Nine other players have earned three All-NBA selections with three different franchises.