The day Nate Thurmond became first NBA player to complete a quadruple-double
The Chicago Bulls center finished the game with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks
After 12 seasons in the Bay Area, Thurmond joined the Chicago Bulls in the summer of 1974. In the team’s first game of the season Oct. 18 against the Atlanta Hawks, the 33-year-old completed the NBA’s first quadruple-double in the Bulls’ 120-115 overtime win.
The future Hall of Famer played all but three minutes in the game and was 8-of-12 from the field. He finished with 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks.
“I was born in the Midwest, but I haven’t lived here for 11 years,” he said. “I was amazed at the people who came up to me on the street, shook my hand and wished me well. You really feel like playing ball for fans like that.
“The offensive part of my game is the slowest to come. I don’t usually put it together for about 20 games, but the shot was there tonight, so I used it. Blocking shots was easier than usual because they drove right into me and didn’t use picks effectively.”
The Hawks pressed the life out of the Bulls’ game plan and forced the home team into 26 turnovers. Atlanta led for almost the entire game.
But Chicago eventually figured out the press and came back from a 12-point deficit thanks to turnovers and late-game mistakes by the young Atlanta team. The Bulls actually had a chance to win the game in regulation with eight seconds remaining, but Chet Walker’s shot rimmed out and the game remained tied at 108.
That sent the contest to overtime, where the Hawks scored the first two points, but within a few minutes the teams found themselves knotted at 112. Bulls rookie Bob Wilson gave Chicago its first lead, 114-112, with 3:18 left in the overtime, and the Bulls never looked back.
Thurmond bodied the boards to protect the lead and ensure that Chicago came away with the victory. Wilson finished with 20 points, 8 assists and 4 rebounds, while Walker amassed 25 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
“I never saw Nate play better, and I think I know why,” said former Warriors teammate Clyde Lee. “The fans got behind him right from the start, and it gave him a lift. They never appreciated what a great center he was for all those years in San Francisco. When he got that ovation before the game started, you could see it pick him up — and he sure picked up the Bulls.”