Robinson’s quadruple-double upstages Elliott’s return with the Pistons
Date: Thursday, February 17, 1994
Place: Alamdome, San Antonio
Score: San Antonio Spurs 115, Detroit Pistons 96
The arrival of Coach John Lucas to the Spurs in 1992 brought a change in offensive philosophy that was unlike anything David Robinson had ever experienced to that point in his career.
Lucas decided to run his offense through Robinson, utilizing him as a point center of sorts because of his athleticism, speed and ball-handling ability.
Robinson gravitated to the new role by producing many key games that utilized his all-around talents. His most impressive was a game where he notched only the second quadruple-double in team history and the most recent one in NBA history.
Robinson produced 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 blocked shots in the victory over Detroit, leaving the court with about four minutes left to chants of “MVP, MVP” from the Alamodome crowd of 19,451.
The big game spoiled the return of Sean Elliott, who made his his first appearance back in San Antonio after being traded earlier in the season to the Pistons.
Terry Cummings missed the game with the flu, forcing Robinson into more of an active offensive role in the game.
Robinson responded by scoring 17 points in the first half as he overmatched Detroit centers Greg Anderson and Charles Jones from the beginning of the game.
He had all of the other statistical categories covered before picking up his decisive 10th block when he swatted Lindsey Hunter’s 10-foot try in the lane with 5:21 left in the game.
Robinson’s monster game was the NBA’s first quadruple-double since Hakeem Olajuwon did it on March 29, 1990. The only other players with quadruple-doubles since the NBA began keeping track were Nate Thurmond in 1974 and the Spurs’ Alvin Robertson in 1986.
The victory in Robinson’s quadruple-double game set a team record at the time with San Antonio’s 11th straight victory and moved them into a virtual tie with Houston for first place in the Midwest Division.
The Spurs seized the game in the third quarter, building a 57-49 lead and extending the margin to 75-59 as the quarter continued.
Dennis Rodman took some of the heat away from Robinson inside by producing 22 rebounds. Rodman also added five assists, matching the total of Detroit’s four guards.
Robinson finished the season 1993-94 season with five triple-doubles to lead the league. But none was as impressive as was his quadruple-double game.
Vinny Del Negro scored 23 points and Dale Ellis added 19 for the Spurs. Lindsey Hunter led the Pistons with 26 points and Terry Mills chipped in with 18 points and 16 rebounds. Detroit lost for the 25th time in their previous 29 games.
Elliott was greeted by a 40-second standing ovation when he was introduced. He scored the Pistons’ first basket and had 20 points in the game.
They said it, Part I: “I’ve been close a number of times, so this is something I wanted to do. I’m excited because it’s one thing you never know if you’re going to get,” Robinson on his quadruple-double.
They said it, part II: “We didn’t even talk about the winning streak. We did talk about David’s quadruple-double. He was just great. But I was mad at him. He missed seven free throws and he should have had 41 points.” Spurs coach John Lucas on Robinson’s big game.
They said it, part III: “How could I not know I was close with the bench and the stat crew. Every rtime I came to the bench, (backup center) Jack (Haley) would tell me how many more blocks I needed,” Robinson on how much he knew about his statistical rarity.
They said it, part IV: “He’s a lot different now. I tried to talk trash with him, but he just stared. He finally cracked a smile at the end of the game, but he’s more focused than I’ve ever seen him,” Elliott on his reception from Robinson before the game.
They said it, part V: “It wasn’t just one guy for us tonight. It was the whole team. Everyone is contributing and that’s why we are winning. Our whole team won this game for us tonight,” Lucas to the Express-News on his team’s big night.
They said it, part VI: “I would have to like have seen him play against our real horses, our guys from the past. We don’t have a center now,” Detroit guard Isiah Thomas, described Robinson’s big night against Detroit’s injury-depleted rotation of big men.
They said it, part VII: “David has really stepped up his play. He played at an All-Star level before and he’s stepped it up a notch. You can see it in his eyes. Right now, he’s playing the best basketball of his career,” Spurs forward J.R. Reid, to the Express-News about Robinson’s playing surge.
They said it, part VIII: “David has always been nice. And their team has always been nice. The question is, do you want a bunch of nice guys who are nice all the time or do you want to win a championship?” Thomas, to the Detroit Free Press about the Spurs’ winning streak.
They said it, part IX: “It’s nice that I’ve convinced the fans in San Antonio (about the MVP). Now, I have to convince the rest of the country. But it’s still just February,” Robinson on fans chanting “MVP, MVP” during his quadruple-double.
The upshot: Robinson led the NBA with five triple-doubles in 1993-94 and also led the league with a career-best 29.8 scoring average. Robinson also averaged a career-best 4.8 assists during the season. He led the league with a 30.7 player efficiency rating, but was chosen as second-team All-NBA and to the All-Defensive teams behind Houston’s Hakeem Olajuwon. The Spurs notched a 55-27 regular season record and were stunned in four games by Utah in the first round of the playoffs.