George Gervin scored 42 points and Johnny Moore 24 as the San Antonio Spurs routed the Denver Nuggets, 152-133, tonight in the highest-scoring playoff game in National Basketball Association history.
The Spurs lead the Western Conference semifinal series, 1-0. The next game in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in San Antonio.
The Spurs set a playoff record with 82 points in the first half. The combined total of 285 points broke the NBA playoff record of 279 set by St. Louis and San Francisco in a 1967 game. The teams also combined for 78 assists, breaking the old record of 76.
Gervin made 17 of 22 shots from the floor and also had 10 rebounds. Moore made 11 of 16 shots and led the Spurs with 17 assists.
Center Dan Issel, who led Denver with 28 points, said the Nuggets could win if they contain Gervin. "Unfortunately," Issel said, "I don't know how to stop George Gervin."
Denver scored the first four points but never led afterward. The Nuggets pulled close at the end of the first quarter, finally tying at 39 with a dunk by Alex English with 11 seconds left.
But San Antonio moved past the Nuggets in the second quarter and led, 80-63, when Gervin made a five-foot jumper with 1:20 left.
The Spurs held an 82-68 lead at halftime, breaking the playoff record set by Milwaukee of 77 points in the first half of a 156-120 victory over Philadelphia in 1970.
San Antonio led, 116-105, after three quarters.
Mike Dunleavy made two three-pointers in less than a minute in the fourth quarter for San Antonio. Later, the Spurs scored 10 straight points in two minutes as they built their largest lead, 146-123, with 2:51 left.