Scoring disparity huge between '80s and '90s
Posted: Wednesday June 23, 1999 12:51 AM
By Ryan Hunt, CNN/SI
Comparing the NBA Finals in the 1980s and 1990s is like trying to make parallels between a Porsche and a Volvo.
Or maybe that's not very fair to the Volvo. After all, the NBA in the '90s is more like 0 to 80 in 48 minutes.
This year's Spurs-Knicks series typifies the difference in scoring tendencies of the decades -- or, more specifically, the lack of scoring in the NBA Finals in the '90s.
San Antonio and New York have averaged a combined 161 points per game in the first three Finals games, which is on pace to be the lowest combined total in NBA history. In comparison, Boston and Los Angeles combined to average 232.6 points per game in the 1984-85 NBA Finals.
Through the first three games of '99, teams are averaging nearly 13 points less a game this decade compared to the last.
In fact, in order for the 1990s to match the average scoring output in the '80s NBA Finals, the teams would have to each average a whopping 435 points in the next two games.
But in this day and age, a team scoring 100 points is almost as much of a stretch. There hasn't been a triple-digit Finals game since Chicago scored 104 in Game 3 in 1997.
Overall in the '90s, teams have scored in triple digits in only 36 of the 108 chances (54 games), which is 33.3 percent. In the '80s, the percentage of 100-point Finals games was 78.4 (91 of 116).
So how bad did it get for the Spurs and Knicks in last Friday's Game 2? The teams combined for one less point (147) than the Boston Celtics scored in their Game 1 win in the 1985 NBA Finals (148). In fact, San Antonio's 80-point "outburst" was only one more point than the Celtics halftime score that day.
The Knicks and Spurs barely avoided the distinction of having the lowest combined single-game score in NBA Finals history. Only Fort Wayne and Syracuse, who combined for 145 points in 1955, scored less in a game -- and that was before the shot clock.
It may be one of the few dubious scoring records San Antonio and New York don't attain in the series. Then again, it's the '90s -- the Knicks and Spurs have at least two more chances to break that record.
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