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NBA scoring at highest level in 15 years

Mar 16, 2010, 8:34 AM EDT

The late 1990s sucked. Not just because Smash Mouth and Rickey Martin had hits — although that did suck — but also because NBA basketball became a dirge.

In the 1980s everybody ran — the Larry Bird Celtics of 1985 played at a faster pace than any team in the NBA this season. The average team scored 110.8 points per game that year. NBA basketball was entertaining.

Then in the mid-1990s a breed of coaches came along — emulating the Detroit Bad Boys teams — that slowed the pace, promoted physical defense to see how many fouls they could get away with, how they could control the game. The result was isolation basketball, lots of pick-and-roll late in the shot clock, and less scoring. The 1994-95 season the last season that he average NBA team scored over 100 points per game.

Until this year.

Bradford Doolittle over at Basketball Prospectus ran the numbers and found that so far this season teams are averaging 100.2 points per game. There are a few reasons — some seven-seconds-or-less teams are pushing the pace, and shooting is just flat out better.

But what matters is that scoring is back up. And that’s a good thing for a league that is, in the end, entertainment.

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