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Phoenix Suns

This Date in NBA History (Nov. 10): Phoenix Suns score 173 points in record-setting victory over Denver Nuggets

On Nov. 10, 1990, the Phoenix Suns set and broke multiple NBA and franchise records when they blew out the Denver Nuggets 173-143.

Their points total of 173 is tied with the 1959 Boston Celtics for the most points scored by a team in a non-overtime game and the fourth-most all-time. Phoenix started the game on fire, scoring an NBA record 107 points in the first half, with 50 coming in the 1st quarter and 57 in the second.

The 107 first-half points broke the previous NBA record of 90, set by the Nuggets three days earlier in a 161-153 loss to San Antonio. The 57 points are the most-ever for the second quarter and the final figure of 173 is also a Suns' franchise record for most points scored in an NBA game (overtime or regulation).

The 316 combined points are tied for the eighth-most in NBA history and the combined first-half tally of 174 points is an NBA record.

Orlando Woolridge scored a game-high 40 points for the Nuggets but he was outdone by the Suns, who had eight players score in double figures. Phoenix assisted on 50 of its 67 made field goals while shooting 64.4% from the field and 39-of-48 from the free-throw line.

While Cedric Ceballos played the role of "spark off of the bench", scoring 32 points in 23 minutes on 12-of-15 shooting from the field, it was the combo of Kevin Johnson and Dan Majerle that were the biggest contributors. KJ finished with 23 points, 17 assists, five rebounds, and five steals on 8-of-11 shooting from the field while Majerle racked up 21 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals.

The win helped Suns coach Cotton Fitzsimmons join in on the record-breaking as well. It gave him the 700th win of his career, making him only the seventh coach in NBA history at the time to reach that mark.

Other notable events on Nov. 10

  • In 1964, Dave DeBusschere, a player-coach with the Detroit Pistons, recorded his first coaching victory 119-117 against Baltimore in Philadelphia. At the age of 24, he was the youngest coach in NBA history.
  • In 1989, David Stern was named the Sports Executive of the Decade for the 1980s by The Associated Press. The Los Angeles Lakers swept the AP's NBA Awards - Team of the Decade (Los Angeles Lakers), Coach of the Decade (Pat Riley) and Player of the Decade (Magic Johnson).
  • In 1989, the Minnesota Timberwolves clinched their first win as an NBA franchise by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 125-118 in overtime at the Target Center. This was the franchise's fourth game after joining the league.
  • In 1989, Larry Bird stuffed the stat sheet against the Atlanta Hawks and nearly single-handedly carried the Boston Celtics to a 117-106 victory. Playing 40 minutes, he went off for 50 points - his final 50-point game - while also recording 13 rebounds and seven assists. His game-high points tally came at an incredible shooting efficiency of 19-of-25 (76.0%) from the field and 11-of-12 (91.7%) from beyond the arc.

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