Last night the Portland Trail Blazers set the NBA record for highest 3-point percentage in a regular season game with 20 or more attempts (73.9 percent). That “regular season” is an important distinction, because I’m certain that the first analyst to visit basketball-reference.com forgot to tick the playoffs box before the internet caught hold of the story, widely proclaiming the Trail Blazers’ 3-point performance to be the greatest ever.
In 1996, the New York Knicks shot 77.3 percent from the arc in a first round playoff game against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their onslaught was led by John Starks and Hubert Davis, though even Patrick Ewing got in on the action, sinking his solitary 3-point attempt. They were 17-22.
Also in 1996, the Seattle Supersonics shot 74.1 percent from the arc in a second round playoff game against the Houston Rockets. Their onslaught was led by none other than Nate McMillan, who shot a perfect 5-5 to clinch Seattle’s second game of the series sweep. They were 20-27.
So, the Portland Trail Blazers did set a record, but the lens must be focused to respect history. In fact, they set two. The Trail Blazers’ 17 3-pointers made (on 23 attempts) is a franchise record. Setting both records in the same night is what makes the performance so incredible. They were more than on fire, and they annihilated their opponent (Utah) with brutal efficiency.
5-6 from deep
21 points total
4-6 from deep
24 points total
3-3 from deep
13 points total
2-3 from deep
6 points total
2-2 from deep
8 points total
1-1 from deep
7 points total
Each of these players is a part of history, as are the rest of the Trail Blazers by default. It’s especially interesting for rookie Allen Crabbe, who sank the first 3-point attempts of his career in contribution to an NBA record. He made better use of garbage time than Will Barton did, who shot 0-2 from the arc, dropping Portland’s 3-point percentage from an otherworldly 81.0 percent.
While by no means sustainable, this stunning individual performance reflects the Trail Blazers’ new identity. They are designed around the 3-point shot, and are one of the best offensive teams in the NBA. When people talk about what kind of team the 2013-2014 Trail Blazers were, they will point to this game as the shining example of their dominion.
Portland scored 130 points in regulation to defeat Utah, 130-98.