Klay Thompson scored an NBA record 37 points in a single quarter during a win over the Kings last week, but the previous record-holder believes his mark still stands.
George Gervin, a Hall-of-Famer who played 10 NBA seasons, held the previous record with 33 points in a period, but posted his before the three-point line was implemented. Because of this, he believes that Thompson’s performance — while outstanding in its own right — doesn’t eclipse what Gervin once did.
When Gervin set the NBA record for points in a quarter—in the second quarter of a loss to the New Orleans Jazz, on April 9, 1978—there was no three-point arc. Its adoption was still a year away. Gervin accumulated his 33 points the old-fashioned way: on mid-range jump shots, slashes to the rim and free throws. If he scored three points on a play, it came with the help of a shooting foul—the “and-1.”
The precise number of field goals and free throws Gervin made in that quarter is unclear. Neither the NBA’s statistics database nor Basketball-Reference.com has the breakdown.
We do know how Thompson reached 37: by making all 13 of his field goals, including all nine of his three-pointers, along with two free throws, in the third quarter of a Warriors victory over the Sacramento Kings.
“I don’t feel—and it’s funny, everybody laughs—I don’t feel he broke my record,” Gervin told Bleacher Report in a phone interview. “I feel he set a new record. He set a new record for the new NBA.”
It’s clear in the piece that Gervin is not at all bitter about this, and is coming from a lighthearted place when speaking about it more than anything else.
But he does have a point — had no three-point line existed for Klay’s performance, he would have finished with only 28 in the period, and Gervin would remain the unquestioned leader in the record books.