The Pacers routed the Nuggets tonight on the strength of one of the most incredible offensive quarters an NBA team has ever had. There were so many amazing numbers to come out of Indiana’s third quarter that we could go on forever, but let’s start at the beginning: Indiana scored 54 points in the period. FIFTY-FOUR. FIVE-FOUR. LIV, for you NBA fans reading from ancient Rome. Here are the instances in which an NBA team has scored that many points in a single quarter, according to the league’s official media guide:
58—Buffalo at Boston, Oct. 20, 1972 (4th) 57—Phoenix vs. Denver, Nov. 10, 1990 (2nd)
57—Golden State vs. Sacramento, March 4, 1989 (3rd) 54—Indiana vs. Denver, Nov. 9, 2010 (3rd)
54—Atlanta at San Diego, Feb. 11, 1970 (3rd)
54—Boston vs. San Diego, Feb. 25, 1970 (4th)
Creepy! Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of Denver giving up 57 points to the Suns in a quarter, a symptom of the failed Paul Westhead experiment of the early ’90s. The Nuggets allowed 130.8 points per game in 1990-91 and while they played an astoundingly fast pace (114 possessions per game), the points allowed number is not misleading. Denver was comfortably last in the league in Defensive Rating and finished 20-62. What makes tonight’s aberration all the more incredible is that the Nuggets are good, and their defense this season has been excellent.
Some other factoids from the quarter:
* Mike Dunleavy Jr., who has been in danger of being yanked from the Indiana lineup, scored 24 of his 31 points in the quarter–on seven shots. He was 7-of-7 from the field and hit all five of his three-point shots.
* It wasn’t just Dunleavy. The Pacers missed just one shot from the floor in the quarter. ONE! Indy went 20-of-21 in the period. The miss? Josh McRoberts’ three-pointer as the period expired. If McRoberts had simply held onto the ball, the Pacers would have had a perfect period.
* You know eFG%, the popular metric used to better measure shooting accuracy by giving a half-point extra credit for each made three-point shot? Since the Pacers missed only one shot and went 8-of-9 on threes, Indiana posted an eFG% of more than 100 percent. They were better than perfect.
* On the downside, the Pacers didn’t have any offensive rebounds in the quarter. (Just kidding!)
* The team were even (14-14) on points in the paint in the quarter. That means the Pacers scored 40 points in the period outside of the painted area.