They say a scored basket makes one person happy but an assist makes two people happy. If this statement is true, Scott Skiles made a lot of people happy on December 30th in 1990.
In a game against the Denver Nuggets, Orlando Magic's Scott Skiles dished out 30 assists in a blowout win that ended with a 155-116 score. It's safe to say people were hitting shots that night, as he accumulated those 30 assists in 44 minutes on the floor. What is also astonishing by his performance is that Skiles himself had a great scoring night finishing the game with 22 points.
Most of the assists dished out by Skiles were scored by players such as Terry Catledge, Dennis Scott and Jerry Reynolds who combined for 79 points that game.
"We had a lot of guys who could run, catch the ball and finish a play, such as Dennis Scott, Nick Anderson and Jerry Reynolds. I just tried to get them the ball at the right time and let them do the rest. When they scored, it made me look very good. And the very best example of that came on December 30, 1990, when we played the Denver Nuggets at the Orlando Arena before a capacity crowd of 15,077."
Skiles broke the current Magic's assists record of 18 in the third quarter and he realized he might be doing something really special. At that time Kevin Porter was the record holder with 29 assists in a game from 1978 when he played for the New Jersey Nets.
"I realized I had a lot of assists, of course, but didn’t know how many. I couldn’t keep track of something like that during a game. With about seven minutes remaining, I threw an alley-oop pass to Reynolds, who scored. It was my 29th assist, tying me with Porter. Coach Matt Guokas called me over and said that if I got one more assist, he would take me out because we were winning big. Time was running out, and my total was still 29. Finally, with 19.6 seconds left, Reynolds scored on a 20-foot jumper off one of my feeds, and I had the record. I was very happy, and the crowd was yelling and cheering loudly for me."
It will be interesting to see if someone will be able to break Skiles record. It hasn't been done in 28 years now and if you observe how the game evolved since then, it seems it might never happen. Skiles brought a lot of excitement for Orlando Magic fans that night, and that type of unselfish play was something that characterized his entire career.
Skiles thinks there will come a time when his record will be broken but the honour to be mentioned alongside some of the most prominent playmaking names in NBA history is what means the most to him.
"Someday, someone will get 31, so I don’t think too much about the assists record. But I am proud to know that of all the great playmakers — guys like Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Tiny Archibald and John Stockton — I have more assists than any of them in one game."