Kelly Tripucka of the Detroit Pistons, sick only four hours before game time, scored 56 points and set a club single-game record last night in helping the Pistons defeat the Chicago Bulls, 128-126, in Pontiac, Mich.
"I was all pumped up for this one," Tripucka said after surpassing the record of 54 points set in February 1971 by Dave Bing, also against Chicago. "I would have played Friday night, but I thought we could beat Cleveland. I knew we had to have this one.
"In a way I'm sorry to have broken Bing's record because I always admired him and his accomplishments when I was a kid."
Pistons Coach Scotty Robertson said he apologized to Tripucka during the second half "because I had to play him so much and have everything directed his way, even though I knew he wasn't in top shape physically. But he was the only thing we had going for us offensively until Isiah (Thomas) finally got going in the fourth period to help us come from behind. Kelly's performance truly was incredible."
Tripucka made 18 of 26 field-goal attempts and 20 of 22 free throws. He had 28 points in each half.
Detroit trailed by eight with 7:10 to play, but went ahead to stay, 122-120, on a 15-foot jumper by Tripucka.