46 Years Ago, George Gervin & David Thompson Had The Greatest Shootout In NBA History


The main thing George Gervin and David Thompson have in common, is that they both are two of the most under-appreciated scores in NBA history. Thompson has a career average of 22.1 points per game, Gervin has averaged 25.1 points in his career, while leading the league in scoring for four years.

One of these four years though, was the closest scoring race ever, in which Gervin was battling with, yes you’ve guessed correctly, David Thompson.

It actually was insane. Before the final game of the 1977-1978 regular season, exactly 46 years ago today, only 15 points separated the two on top of the league scoring charts.

In that last game, Thompson, who was the one trailing by 15 points, started the game on fire and made 13 field goals in the first quarter against Detroit, to set a then NBA record 32 point quarter. He didn’t cool off for the entire game and finished with 73 points, which at the time was the most points ever scored by a guard.

This meant Thompson was now leading Gervin by 58 points, before Gervin’s game against the Jazz. Being confronted with Thompsons scoring feast, the Spurs legend was worried about his scoring title before his game:


“My, oh my. I haven’t ever hit 58, but I’m going for them.”


Unfortunately for Skywalker, Gervin also meant business that night and had the 58 points he was in need of almost by halftime. The Iceman scored 20 points in the first quarter, before breaking Thompson’s more than short-lived quarter record with 33 points in the second, giving him 53 at halftime.

Gervin finished with 63 points, edging out Thompson with 27.22 to 27.15 points per game, therefore winning the NBA scoring title. Unfortunately there is no game footage of either game.


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