With a Bang

Photo by kazuend on Unsplash

In NBA history, only eight teams have kicked off their season by scoring 140 or more points.  You’d think that kicking off the season with such a barrage of points would be a good sign for the team going forward, but…

It happened 4 times in the sixties.  In 1960, the Cincinnati Royals beat the LA Lakers 140-123 to kick off their season, they finished that season 33-46.  In 1962, two teams did it.  The San Francisco Warriors beat the Detroit Pistons 140-113 but only finished the season 31-49.  The Boston Celtics fared much better – after their opening day demolishing of the New York Knicks, 149-116, they finished the season 58-22 (and won the NBA championship).

Later, in 1967, the San Francisco Warriors again kicked off the season sizzling, with a 144-116 win over the Seattle Supersonics. But they finished the season tepid, with a record of 43-39.

The same thing happened in 1984.  The Portland Trailblazers demolished the Kansas City Kings, 140-119, but finished the season at a highly mediocre 42-40.  In 1991, however, the San Antonio Spurs bucked the trend.  They followed up their 140-99 shellacking of the Dallas Mavericks by finishing a very respectable 47-35.

However, the grandaddy of all kickoff games was the one between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets, on November 2, 1990.  Golden State won the game (in regulation!) 162-158, even though Denver took 130 shots!  The overwhelming offensive prowess didn’t translate much to the rest of the season, though, as Golden State went 44-38 and Denver was the worst team in the league, finishing at 20-62, despite scoring nearly 120 points a game.

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