Overlooked in all the attention the Golden State Warriors received for their record 51-point first quarter in a game against the Denver Nuggets last Sunday, is the fact the NBA record for points in a quarter still belongs to the Buffalo Braves.
The Braves scored 58 points in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in old Boston Garden on Oct. 20, 1972. It's not only an NBA record for points in a quarter, but also, naturally, for fewest points in a fourth quarter. The Braves also tied the NBA record for field goals in a quarter with 23. The record now is 24 by the Phoenix Suns in a 1990 game.
All that was done before the 3-point field goal came to the NBA.
The Braves lost the Boston game, 126-118. In fact they were never in it. Boston led 39-19, 65-33 and 103-60 at the quarter breaks. Then play loosened up. Buffalo, which had never won a regular season game against the Celtics at the time, outscored the Celtics, 58-23 in the final quarter.
Randy Smith, in his second season with the Braves, led the charge. He had 23 points in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 29 even though he played only 24 minutes. The 23-point stood as a franchise record until well after the Braves had left Buffalo. Randy made 10 of 18 field goal attempts and 9 of 16 free throws.
The game was on a Friday night. The next night the Milwaukee Bucks came to Buffalo to face the Braves in Memorial Auditorium. The Bucks were without star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who stayed home because an attack of migraine headaches.
Even without Abdul-Jabbar, the Bucks outscored Buffalo, 20-7, in the opening quarter. It was 43-31 at halftime, but the Braves' futility got even worse in the third quarter. Buffalo scored only four points and trailed trailed, 68-35, after three. At the time the four points was the NBA record for fewest points in a quarter in the 24-second clock era. It still stands as the second-fewest points by a team in the third quarter of an NBA game.
Milwaukee won 91-63, led by Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who had 27 points. Randy Smith had only six points for Buffalo and Bob McAdoo had five points. John Hummer was Buffalo's high scorer with 12.#