The curse of allowing 150 points
Reflections on Friday's Kings/Clippers scoring frenzy, coverage of more half of the NBA's 30 teams and an update on Victor Wembanyama all feature in our latest assemblage of around-the-league notes
The LA Clippers lost the game of the season Friday night.
In the first outing of the Russell Westbrook Era in Clipperland, they couldn't hold a 14-point lead with less than four minutes to go in regulation and wound up dropping a 176-175 instant classic in double overtime to the Sacramento Kings.
It only gets harder for the Clippers now, too, because they will have to overcome history to win the championship this season because of what happened before the two OTs.
Remember what we wrote earlier this season when Brooklyn (to Sacramento) and Boston (to Oklahoma City) gave up 150 points in losses they respectively sustained in mid-November and early January?
My Substacking pal Justin Kubatko helped me with some research at the time and, along with the Elias Sports Bureau, confirmed that no team in NBA annals has ever allowed 150 points in regulation in a regular-season game and gone on to win that season's championship.
The Clippers and Kings were tied at 153-153 at the regulation buzzer late Friday. If history holds, then, both LA and Boston find themselves on a shortlist of presumed title contenders that will have to do what the record books say can't be done and prove that one night of abject defensive fragility is not fatal.
The other four teams to give up at least 150 points in regulation this season: Chicago, Detroit, Houston and, of course, Sacramento.
The Kings and Thunder, meanwhile, are the only two teams in the league this season to score 150 points in a game twice.
As for the only two champions in league history to have a 150-point blemish on their defensive résumé: Houston absorbed a 156-147 loss to Dallas in double overtime late in the 1994-95 season more than a decade after the Los Angeles Lakers dropped a 154-153 game to Cleveland in 1979-80 … in quadruple overtime.
Read on for my latest compilation of around-the-league notes: