San Diego guard Randy Smith set an NBA record by playing his 845th consecutive game but Moses Malone and the host Philadelphia 76ers won the game, 131-111, last night..
The night was not without celebration for the Clippers. San Diego also came to terms with Terry Cummings, the league's No. 2 pick.
Smith, 33, broke the mark set by Johnny Kerr from 1954-65. Smith, signed by the Clippers hours before the start of the season, began his streak Feb. 18, 1972.
"This is the most memorable night of my life," said Smith after Kerr, now a Chicago television commentator, presented him with a telegram signed by NBA teams around the league and by Commissioner Lawrence O'Brien.
Kerr, whose streak ended at 844 on Nov. 4, 1965, passed on his nickname, and with that came a set of "irons"--golf clubs.
"I've been the iron man for 18 years now," said Kerr. "Now I've passed it on to you and I hope you can keep this streak going until the end of your career."
"To have gotten this far," said Smith, a strict vegetarian who believes hill running has give him endurance, "involved 11 years of perseverance. I've been lucky and fortunate."
Malone, 15 of 15 from the foul line, helped the 76ers take control after the Clippers took a 61-60 lead with 8:34 left in the third period. He converted a three-point play and sank two free throws to enable the 76ers to establish a seven-point margin. Malone finished with 29 points.
Smith last missed a game Feb. 15, 1972, during his rookie year with the Buffalo Braves. He nearly missed his chance at Kerr's feat when he was unemployed last week.
After a year with the New York Knicks, Smith was an unsigned free agent.
"I really thought it was over," said Smith. "I tried to remain optimistic, but no team signed me, and San Diego was about the only team that had even talked to me. I was looking for a miracle."