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The Highest Scoring NBA Game - 370 Points!

Isiah Thomas
Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The highest scoring NBA game was on December 13th, 1983, between the Detroit Pistons and the Denver Nuggets. The Pistons won the game in THIRD OVERTIME with 186 points. On the other hand, the Nuggets scored only two fewer points (184). The combined number of points between the two teams was 370 POINTS!

It is not that surprising that the highest scoring NBA game was between the 1983 Pistons and Nuggets.

The Pistons were much better than the Nuggets. They ended the season with a 49-33 win/loss record and were fourth in the Eastern Conference. On the other hand, the Nuggets ended the season with a 38-44 win/loss record and BARELY made it into the playoffs as the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

Although the Pistons had a better win/loss record, both teams were on-par when it came to offense and defense. The Pistons averaged 117.1 points per game, the third highest number of points per game. They also had the best offensive rating in the league (111.5). However, the Pistons' defensive was below average. They had a defensive rating of 108.1 (16th of 23).

As for the Denver Nuggets, their points per game, offensive rating, and defensive rating are almost similar to the Pistons. The Nuggets had the most points per game (123.7), second-best offensive rating (111.3), and the second-worst defensive rating (112.3).

In addition, the head coach for the Nuggets at that time, Doug Moe, was literally known as the 'Godfather of Run n' Gun Offense.' This style of play emphasized fast pace and offense, and Moe himself acknowledged how his teams would not play defense.

Both teams were amazing on offense, but horrible, and at best, below average at defense. This was the perfect matchup to potentially set the record for the highest scoring NBA game.

Before getting into the stats of the highest scoring NBA game, here are the Top 3 Players for each team during that time.

Detroit Pistons

Isiah Thomas:

21.0 Points, 11.1 Assists, 4.0 Rebounds, 2.5 Steals, and 0.4 Blocks

46.2 FG%, 33.8 3P%, 73.3 FT%

36.7 Minutes

Bill Laimbeer:

17.3 Points, 1.8 Assists, 12.2 Rebounds, 0.6 Steals, and 1.0 Blocks

53 FG%, 86.6 FT%

34.9 Minutes

Kelly Tripucka:

21.0 Points, 3.0 Assists, 4.0 Rebounds, 0.9 Steals, and 0.2 Blocks