Is George Gervin a threat to average 35 points a game this season?
The San Antonio guard, who leads his teammates against the Washington Bullets tonight at 8:30 in San Antonio (WDCA-TV-20), already is averaging 32 points and is just starting to hit his stride.
He had 38 in a game this week and seems more comfortable every time out with the new NBA rules, which reduce hand-checking and allow more freedom for quick offensive players.
Gervin won the NBA scoring crown last year with a 27.2 average, the lowest since Elvin Hayes' 28.3 mark in 1968-69 when Hayes was playing for the then San Diego Rockets.
No NBA player has averaged 35 points since Rich Barry in 1968-67. Before then, Wilt Chamberlain want over that barrier every season.
Gervin has been particularly effective against the Bullets, who have problems defending him unless they use Boddy Dandridge at guard, a move Coach Dick Motta does not like to make.
Last Saturday at Capital Centre, Gervin poured in 27 points during the Bullets' 124-119 triumph over San Antonio. But he hardly took a shot in the final period, when guard James Silas dominated the Spurs' offense.
"I hope they want to continue keeping the ball out of his hands like that," said Motta. "Silas can hurt you but Gervin is more dangerous. I'm sure they would rather have him shooting more at the end."
San Antonio already is the league's top run-and-gun team. The Spurs have scored more than 140 points twice this season and are averaging 125 a game.
But they also are giving up 120, likewise the league's top mark. Last season, they were a championship threat on the strength of improved defense but didn't play with much intensity on the defensive end against the Bullets.
"San Antonio has a wonderful way about them," said Hayes. "They go down, fire up a shot and if it doesn't go in, they don't care. They just go down, fire up a shot and if it doesn't back and try again. Nothing seems to bother them."