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On This Day (Jan. 9)
Notable events from NBA history that occurred on January 9.
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First 40-point Game
On this day in 1947, the Providence Steamrollers’ Dino Martin became the first player in NBA history to record a 40-point game, scoring 40 points in a 91-68 win over the Cleveland Rebels (the score in the newspaper clipping above is incorrect). The 5-foot-8-inch Martin made 17 field goals and six free throws to account for his record point total.
The Philadelphia Warriors’ Joe Fulks would break Martin's record just five days later, scoring 41 points in a 104-74 victory over the Toronto Huskies. Fulks would later become the first player in NBA history to record a 50-point game (60-point game, too, as he scored 63 points).
Big Game for Big O
On this day in 1965, the Cincinnati Royals' Oscar Robertson produced 42 points, 21 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 128-119 win over the Baltimore Bullets. Robertson is one of only seven players in NBA history to record at least 40 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists in a game (a total of 12 instances):
Wilt Chamberlain (6 times)
This is one of Robertson’s 22 career 40-point triple-doubles, the most such games in NBA history:
22 — Oscar Robertson
16 — James Harden
13 — Russell Westbrook
7 — Wilt Chamberlain
15,000 Points for MJ
On this day in 1991, the Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan scored 40 points in a 107-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, surpassing 15,000 career points in the process. Jordan also dished out a game-high nine assists, shooting 16-27 from the field and 8-11 from the free throw line.
Jordan is the second-fastest player in NBA history to reach that milestone (based on games played):
358 — Wilt Chamberlain
460 — Michael Jordan
495 — Oscar Robertson
495 — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Harden Starts Streak
On this day in 2019, the Houston Rockets’ James Harden scored 42 points in a loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, starting a streak of 11 consecutive 35-point games:
Only two players in NBA history have recorded a longer such streak (a total of four streaks):
33 — Wilt Chamberlain (Jan. 3, 1962–Feb. 22, 2022)
23 — Chamberlain (Oct. 23, 1962–Dec. 8, 1962)
20 — Chamberlain (Nov. 25, 1961–Dec. 30, 1961)
13 — Kobe Bryant (March 29, 2003–Feb. 23, 2003)
Nothing Free for Raptors
On this day in 1996, the Toronto Raptors became the first (and still only) team in NBA history to complete a game without making a free throw. The Raptors went 0-3 from the free throw line in their 92-91 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. Damon Stoudamire and Alvin Robertson were the only Raptors to attempt a free throw (two and one, respectively).
By comparison, the Hornets attempted 41 free throws, making 24 of them. It’s the only game in NBA history in which one team attempted fewer than five throws and the other team attempted 40 or more free throws.
Huge Game for Tiny
On this day in 1973, the Kansas City-Omaha Kings’ Nate “Tiny” Archibald scored 52 points and dished out 14 assists in a loss to the New York Knicks. Archibald shot 18-28 from the field (64.3%) and made 16 of his 17 free throws.
This was one of three career games in which Archibald recorded at least 50 points and 10 assists, tied for the second-most such games in NBA history:
8 — James Harden
3 — Nate Archibald
3 — Damian Lillard
Archibald recorded all three of his 50-point, 10-assist games during the 1972-73 season, a season in which he became the only player in NBA history to lead the league in points (2,719) and assists (910).
Magic Ties Record
On this day in 1990, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Magic Johnson tied his franchise single-game record by dishing out 24 assists in a loss to the Phoenix Suns. Johnson also scored 24 points, adding six rebounds, two steals, and two blocks.
This was one of 13 career games in which Johnson recorded at least 20 points and 20 assists, the most such games in NBA history:
13 — Magic Johnson
9 — John Stockton
8 — Oscar Robertson
7 — Russell Westbrook
6 — Kevin Johnson