NBA history in November: Blast from the past
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by Henry L. Liao
Nov. 1, 1946 – The New York Knicks defeated the Toronto Huskies, 68-66, in the first NBA (then called the Basketball Association of America) game, which was played in the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Canada. Italy’s Henry Biasatti, suiting up for the Huskies, became the first international player in the league.
Nov. 1, 1950 -The Boston Celtics debuts of head coach Arnold (Red) Auerbach and players Bob Cousy, Ed Macauley, and Chuck Cooper were spoiled by a 107-84 loss at the hands of the Pistons in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Cousy, with 16 points, was the lone Boston player in double-figure scores. Macauley finished with nine points and Cooper had seven. While Cooper was the first African-American to be drafted in the NBA, the rub of the schedule made him only the second Black to play in an NBA game – 24 hours after Earl Francis Lloyd, whose Washington Capitols opened their schedule a day earlier.
Nov. 2, 1990 – The Golden State Warriors beat the Denver Nuggets, 162-158, at the McNichols Arena in Denver, Colorado. Both combined for 320 points to register the highest-scoring regulation game in NBA regular-season history.
Nov. 5, 1946 – Kevin (Chuck) Connors of the Boston Celtics shattered a backboard – the first in NBA history – during the warmup before a game against the Chicago Stags. Connors went on to shatter desperadoes in the television show “The Rifleman.”
Nov. 7, 1991 – Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin (Magic) Johnson retired from the NBA (for the first time) after publicly disclosing he had tested positive for the AIDS-related HIV virus. Johnson retired as the league’s all-time leader in assists (a distinction that Utah’s John Stockton would later surpass). Magic came out of retirement on January 29, 1996, to play 32 games with the Lakers midway through the 1995-96 season.
Nov. 9, 1989 – The Milwaukee Bucks registered a 155-154, five-overtime victory over the visiting Seattle SuperSonics in the longest game ever since the 24-second shot clock was adopted in 1954-55. Sonics mates Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniel played 69 and 68 minutes, respectively, to rank first and second on the all-time list for most minutes played in a regular game in NBA history.
Nov. 10, 1964 – Detroit’s DeBusschere, who at age 24 was made player-coach, recorded his first victory, 119-117, against the Baltimore Bullets. DeBusschere is the youngest person ever to coach in the NBA.
Nov. 20,1993 – Orlando’s Shaquille O’Neal registered his first career triple-double (24 points, a career-high 28 rebounds and a career-high 15 blocked shots) in leading the Magic to an 87-85 decision over the host New Jersey (now Brooklyn) Nets.
Nov. 22, 1950 – The Fort Wayne (now Detroit) Pistons downed the Minneapolis (now Los Angeles) Lakers, 19-18, in the lowest-scoring game in NBA history. The 24-second shot clock was not instituted until the 1954-55 season. John Oldham topped the winners with just five points while George Mikan led all scorers with 15 points for the Lakers. The visiting Pistons were 4-for-13 from the field and 11-for-15 from the free-throw line. Minneapolis finished with a 4-for-18 field goal and 10-for-17 free-throw shooting.
Nov. 24, 1949 – Don Otten of the Tri-Cities Blackhawks made NBA history when he committed eight personal fouls in a 120-113 loss to the Sheboygan Redskins.