Below is a day-by-day look at landmark moments, games, performances and more from this week in NBA lore.
March 19, 1950
The Rochester Royals closed out the 1949-50 season with their 15th consecutive win, 97-66 over the Baltimore Bullets, setting an NBA record for the most consecutive games won at the end of a season. The record lasted nearly 70 years until the Philadelphia 76ers broke the mark with 16 straight wins (March 15 to April 11, 2018) to end the 2017-18 season.
March 19, 1956
The Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75 in Game 2 of the Western Division Finals, the largest margin of victory (58 points) in NBA Playoff history.
March 19, 1967
Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia 76ers made all 16 of his field goal attempts against Baltimore. It followed by less than one month Chamberlain’s NBA record 18-for-18 performance against Baltimore on February 24.
March 19, 1967
The Chicago Bulls defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 122-109 for their 33rd win of the season, the most ever by an NBA expansion team. Chicago coach Johnny “Red” Kerr was later named NBA Coach of the Year in recognition of the Bulls’ achievement.
March 19, 1969
NBA Commissioner Walter Kennedy flipped a coin, Phoenix called ‘heads’ and it turned up ‘tails’. Thus, Milwaukee chose first in the NBA Draft, selecting Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) while Phoenix picked Neal Walk.
March 19, 1972
The Los Angeles Lakers defeated Golden State in what was then the most lopsided victory in NBA history, 162-99, at the Forum. That 63-point margin lasted as a record for nearly 19 years, until Cleveland beat Miami by 68 points, 148-80, on December 17, 1991.
March 19, 1991
New York guard Maurice Cheeks handed out six assists in the Knicks’ 97-79 win over Charlotte to become only the fifth guard in NBA history to reach the 7,000 assist mark for his career, joining Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Lenny Wilkens and Isiah Thomas.
March 19, 1994
Dale Ellis of San Antonio connected on a pair of 3-point field goals during the Spurs’ 107-100 win over visiting Sacramento, becoming the first player in NBA history to reach 1,000 career 3-pointers made.
March 19, 1995
Michael Jordan came out of his 17-month retirement and played in his first NBA game for Chicago since Game 6 of the 1993 Finals against Phoenix. In front of a charged up crowd at Indiana’s Market Square Arena, Jordan scored 19 points in 43 minutes but the host Pacers downed the Bulls in overtime 103-96. The game was televised on NBC and drew a 10.9 national rating and an estimated 35 million viewers, making it the most watched regular season game in NBA history.
March 19, 1996
Orlando’s Dennis Scott set a then-single-season record for 3-pointers made when he sank his 218th, breaking John Starks’ record. He finished the season hitting 267 3-point field goals.
March 19, 1997
Utah’s John Stockton has one steal in the Jazz’ 113-100 win over the Celtics, becoming the first player in NBA history to record 2,500 career steals.
March 19, 1998
Indiana’s Mark Jackson moved past Maurice Cheeks (7,392) for fifth place on the all-time assist list in a 95-91 win at Washington.
March 19, 2002
Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz became the third player in NBA history to log 50,000 career minutes, passing Elvin Hayes (50,000), and behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (57,446).
March 19, 2015
James Harden of the Houston Rockets scores 50 points in a 118-108 win over the Denver Nuggets.
March 19, 2022
LeBron James scores off a backdoor cut with 5:20 left in the second quarter against Washington. In doing so, James scores the 36,929th point of his career and pass Karl Malone for No. 2 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
March 20, 1968
Dave Bing of the Detroit Pistons finished the season with a league leading 27.1 ppg average, becoming the first guard in 20 years to lead the NBA in scoring.
March 20, 1968
Wilt Chamberlain of Philadelphia became the first center in NBA history to lead the league in assists with a total of 702 for an average of 8.6 apg. Chamberlain called leading the league in assists one of the top achievements of his career.
March 20, 1976
John Havlicek of the Boston Celtics became the first NBA player to score more than 1,000 points per season for 14 consecutive years.
March 20, 1984
Indiana’s Butch Carter set an NBA record by scoring 14 points in an overtime period as the Pacers beat Boston 123-121.
March 20, 1990
The Los Angeles Lakers retired Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s No. 33 in honor of the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.
March 20, 1997
The Denver Nuggets (16) and Seattle SuperSonics (13) combine to make 29 3-point field goals, a record for two teams in one game. Seattle posted a 123-97 victory.
March 20, 1998
Karl Malone moved past Elvin Hayes (27,313) for fifth place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
March 20, 2020
Jerry Sloan, the coach who took the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 on his way to a spot in the Hall of Fame, dies at 78. Sloan spent 23 seasons coaching the Jazz and they finished below .500 in only one of those years. Sloan won 1,221 games in his career, which was the fourth-highest total in NBA history at the time of his passing. Sloan was a former player for the Chicago Bulls from 1966-76 and his jersey hangs in the rafters of the United Center.
March 21, 1953
Bob Cousy scored 50 points (25 of which were in overtime play) as the Celtics outlasted Syracuse 111-105 in four overtimes to eliminate the Nationals in the Eastern Division Semifinals. Cousy’s 30 free throws made was an NBA playoff record.
March 21, 1999
Utah’s Karl Malone reaches 40,771 career minutes played and passes Bill Russell (40,726) for ninth place on the NBA’s all-time charts.
March 21, 2014
Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder scores 51 points in a 119-118 win over the Toronto Raptors.
March 21, 2021
Suns guard Chris Paul throws a perfect alley-oop pass to Deandre Ayton for his 10,000th career assist, becoming the sixth player in NBA history to reach that feat. The other players to do so: John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Mark Jackson and Magic Johnson — all of whom, save for Jackson — are Hall of Famers.
March 22, 1960
The Philadelphia Warriors defeated the Celtics in Boston 128-107 in Game 5 of the Eastern Division Finals, a game which featured an NBA Playoff record 169 rebounds by both teams.
March 22, 1991
Phoenix guard Kevin Johnson was honored by President George Bush as the 411th “Daily Point of Light” in recognition of Johnson’s work in helping the youth of his hometown of Sacramento, CA.
March 22, 1994
Philadelphia’s Moses Malone moved past Elvin Hayes into third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 27,314 points, after hitting a third-quarter foul shot in the 76ers’ 125-91 loss at Charlotte.
March 22, 1995
During Atlanta’s 98-84 home loss to Miami, Hawks coach Lenny Wilkens participated in his 2,737th career NBA game as a player or coach (both regular season and playoff games), passing Don Nelson as the all-time leader in game appearances. Wilkens concluded the 1994-95 season with 2,756 career NBA games as a player or coach.
March 22, 2000
The Phoenix Suns’ Jason Kidd is lost for the remainder of the regular season after breaking his ankle in a 114-93 triumph over Sacramento at America West Arena. The following day the Suns announced that Kevin Johnson was coming out of retirement to help his former team in its time of need. Johnson, 34, whose career average of 9.2 apg ranks fourth in NBA history, had not played since the 1997-98 season.
March 22, 2019
Rockets star James Harden scores 61 points to help Houston rally from a 19-point deficit in a 111-105 win against the San Antonio Spurs. Harden scored 27 points in the first quarter, passed the 30-point mark in the second quarter, the 40-point mark with 9 minutes left in the third en route to his monster game. His 61-point game was his second of 2018-19 and he joined Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players with multiple 60-point games in a season.
March 22, 2021
Elgin Baylor, the Lakers’ 11-time NBA All-Star who soared through the 1960s with a high-scoring style of basketball that became the model for the modern player, died at 86. Baylor played a major role in revolutionizing basketball from a ground-bound sport into an aerial show. He spent parts of 14 seasons with the Lakers in Minneapolis and Los Angeles during his Hall of Fame career, teaming with Jerry West throughout the ’60s in one of the most potent tandems in basketball history.
March 23, 1955
Moses Malone is born in Petersburg, Virginia.
March 23, 1979
The Philadelphia 76ers and the New Jersey Nets replayed the final 17:50 of their contest that was originally played on November 8, 1978. Harvey Catchings and Ralph Simpson played for the 76ers and Eric Money and Al Skinner played for the Nets when the game began, but were traded to the opposing teams by the time the game was resumed. It’s the only time in the history of professional sports that any player played for both teams in the same game.
March 23, 1992
Atlanta rookie Stacey Augmon scored 32 points to lead the Hawks to a 126-125 overtime win over Golden State at the Omni, and his layup at 7:41 of the second quarter accounted for the 6,000,000th point in NBA history.
March 23, 1994
Isiah Thomas of Detroit became the fourth guard in NBA history to collect 9,000 career assists, after dishing off for six during the Pistons’ 111-107 home win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
March 23, 1999
Dick Enroth, the voice of the Minneapolis Lakers, died of cancer at the age of 80. Dubbed the “fastest-talking sportscaster in the Twin Cities,” Enroth captured the success of George Mikan’s Lakers who won NBA championships in 1950, 1952, 1953 and 1954.
March 23, 1999
The Miami Heat, in an 84-81 loss at the Utah Jazz, connect on at least one 3-pointer for the 400th consecutive game.
March 23, 2001
The Toronto Raptors recorded an NBA-record 23 blocked shots in a 112-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks, surpassing the 22 blocks achieved by New Jersey against Denver on December 12, 1991. Raptors’ forward Keon Clark had a team-high 12 blocked shots.
March 23, 2012
Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves scores 51 points in a 149-140 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
March 23, 2020
The International Olympic Committee postpones the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo for a year.
March 24, 1969
Baltimore’s Wes Unseld became only the second rookie ever — Wilt Chamberlain was the other in 1960 — to be named the season’s MVP. Unseld, also named NBA Rookie of the Year, led the Bullets into the playoffs, averaging 13.8 ppg and 18.2 rpg.
March 24, 1969
Elvin Hayes of San Diego became the first rookie since Wilt Chamberlain in 1959-60 to lead the league in scoring, with 2,327 points for a 28.4 average.
March 24, 1970
Jerry West of the Los Angeles Lakers won his first and only scoring title, accumulating 2,309 points in 74 games for a 31.2 ppg average.
March 24, 1973
Kansas City-Omaha’s Nate “Tiny” Archibald became the only player in NBA history to lead the league in scoring (34.0 ppg) and assists (11.4 apg) in the same season.
March 24, 1979
Lloyd Neal’s No. 36 becomes the first uniform retired by the Portland Trail Blazers.
March 24, 1981
New York Knicks great Dave DeBusschere’s No. 22 was retired in ceremonies at Madison Square Garden.
March 24, 1996
Toronto’s Damon Stoudamire sets a then NBA rookie record for 3-pointers made in a season with 126 (breaking Dennis Scott’s record of 125), after sinking six shots from behind the arc against Chicago during the Raptors’ 109-108 victory in front of 36,131 fans at SkyDome. Stoudamire finished the season with 133.
March 24, 1999
The Seattle SuperSonics retired the No. 10 jersey of Nate McMillan in ceremonies at KeyArena.
March 24, 2001
Karl Malone of the Utah Jazz swished a free throw with 10:48 remaining in the third quarter of Utah’s 119-93 win over the Washington Wizards at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. The free throw enabled Karl Malone to pass Moses Malone and become the NBA’s all-time leader in free throws made with 8,532.
March 24, 2002
The 2002 NBA D-League Playoffs began when the North Charleston Lowgators hosted the Mobile Revelers at the North Charleston Coliseum. Mobile won the first D-League Playoff game 78-75.
March 24, 2017
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns scores 70 points in a 130-120 loss to the Boston Celtics. He shot 21-for-40 overall and was 24-for-26 on free throws and he scored 51 points in the second half as Phoenix tried to rally from a 26-point hole.
March 25, 1973
The Philadelphia 76ers posted the worst mark in NBA history at 9-73 with Roy Rubin (4-47) and Kevin Loughery (5-26) splitting the coaching chores.
March 25, 1975
Golden State collected a then NBA record 25 steals in a 139-122 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at the Oakland Coliseum. The Warriors would tie their own record in a game against San Antonio February 15, 1989. Both Warriors teams were supplanted in the record book when Seattle garnered 27 steals against Toronto on January 15, 1997.
March 25, 1978
After defeating Buffalo 112-106 at home, the Phoenix Suns set an NBA record for steals in a season with 1,059.
March 25, 2012
The Atlanta Hawks defeat the Utah Jazz 139-133 in the first quadruple-overtime game in the NBA since the Phoenix Suns 140-139 win over the Portland Trail Blazers in 1997.
March 26, 1972
The Los Angeles Lakers beat Seattle 124-98 to finish the season at 69-13 (.841), at the time the best record in NBA history. More than 24 years later, the Chicago Bulls posted a 72-10 season (.878) in the 1995-96 season to break the record. That mark was then supplanted by the Golden State Warriors in 2015-16 when they went 73-9 (.890).
March 26, 1974
Rick Barry of the Golden State Warriors scored 64 points in a 143-120 victory over Portland at home. At the time only Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor had ever scored more points in an NBA game.
March 26, 1993
A group of 22 investors purchased the San Antonio Spurs from Red McCombs for $75 million.
March 26, 1994
After notching a pair of steals during Utah’s 98-83 setback at Houston, John Stockton became just the second player in NBA history (along with Maurice Cheeks) to collect 2,000 career steals.
March 26, 1996
Phoenix’s A.C. Green plays in his 800th consecutive NBA game — the third-longest streak in NBA history — scoring seven points and grabbing nine rebounds during the Suns’ 102-98 win over visiting Sacramento.
March 26, 1996
Seattle’s Gary Payton become the ninth player in NBA history to record 2,000 career steals. Payton reached the mark in a triumph over the Jazz.