In professional basketball, some games go down to the wire, keeping fans on the edge of their seats. Then, there are the blowouts, where one team completely dominates the other, leaving spectators in awe. These one-sided games have etched their place in basketball history, showcasing the immense power and skill of the teams involved.
This comprehensive article delves into the top 10 biggest blowouts in NBA history, breaking down the final scores, key players, contributing factors, and game statistics.
Top 10 Biggest Blowouts in NBA History
Relive the most lopsided games in professional basketball as we dive into the top 10 biggest blowouts in NBA history, exploring the key players and factors behind these astounding victories.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder – December 2, 2021
The Memphis Grizzlies torched the Oklahoma City Thunder by a record-breaking 73-point margin, ending the game at 152-79. The Grizzlies’ balanced attack and Oklahoma’s lackluster defense opened the floodgates. Memphis had nine players scoring double digits, led by Jaren Jackson Jr. with 27 points. What makes this more impressive is that they did it without their best player Ja Morant, who was out with a left knee sprain.
Several factors contributed to the most lopsided NBA game, including the Grizzlies shooting 62.5% from the field and 19/36 from the three-point territory. Memphis scored 82 points in the paint compared to OKC’s 24. The Grizzlies also dominated the rebounding department with 53, compared to Thunder’s 26. The game unfolded as one-sided, with Memphis taking an early lead and never looking back. The Grizzlies’ dominance was evident throughout the game, as they outscored the Thunder every quarter.
In addition to their extraordinary shooting performance, the Grizzlies showcased their depth, with their bench outscoring the Thunder’s reserves by a whopping 93-35. The Thunder also missed key players, including their star guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, which undoubtedly contributed to their struggle against the Grizzlies’ relentless onslaught.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat – December 17, 1991
The Cleveland Cavaliers delivered a crushing blow to the Miami Heat, winning by a 68-point margin (148-80). The Cavaliers’ Mark Price led the team with 18 points and 11 assists, while Miami struggled with turnovers and poor shooting. This was the NBA record for the largest winning margin until the Memphis-Thunder Game on December 2, 2021.
Factors contributing to the blowout included Cleveland’s suffocating defense and Miami’s inability to keep pace with the Cavaliers’ offensive tempo. Cleveland’s relentless attack left the Heat defenseless, leading to the most one-sided game in NBA history during that time. The game quickly spiraled out of control as the Cavaliers established an early lead and maintained dominance.
The Cavaliers’ impressive victory was not solely a product of their offensive prowess, as they also held the Heat to just 35.5% shooting from the field. Furthermore, Cleveland’s defense was particularly effective at forcing turnovers, accumulating 11 steals, and capitalizing on Miami’s mistakes.
Indiana Pacers vs. Portland Trail Blazers – February 2, 1998
The Pacers’ staggering 65-point victory over the Trail Blazers (124-59) can be attributed to Indiana’s incredible defense and efficient shooting. Holding Portland to a mere 30% shooting, Indiana shot an impressive 63.6% from the field and 60% from the three-point country. All starters scored in double figures, with Mark Jackson leading the way with 18 points and seven assists.
The game unfolded with the Pacers taking control from the outset, establishing a sizable lead in the first quarter and never allowing the Blazers to recover. Indiana’s defensive intensity and balanced offensive attack overwhelmed Portland, resulting in one of the most one-sided games in NBA history.
Another noteworthy aspect of this game was the Pacers’ excellent ball movement, which led to 35 assists on 49 made field goals. This unselfish playstyle kept the Trail Blazers’ defense scrambling and facilitated the Pacers’ high shooting percentage throughout the game.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors – March 19, 1972
The Lakers’ 63-point victory over the Warriors (162-99) showcased the unstoppable offense of legends Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain. Eight Lakers scored in double figures, led by 30 points from Gail Goodrich. Jim McMillan added 22, and Jerry West had 17 points and 13 assists.
The game saw the Lakers dominating from the beginning, with West and Chamberlain controlling the tempo and dismantling the Warriors’ defense. The Lakers’ superior offense and tenacious defense contributed to the blowout, as they continued to pile on the points and keep the Warriors at bay.
The Lakers were also dominant on the boards, outrebounding the Warriors 73-54, providing them numerous second-chance opportunities. Pat Riley also played a significant role in this historic victory, contributing 17 off the bench for the Lakers.
Golden State Warriors vs. Sacramento Kings – November 2, 1991
In this 62-point blowout (153-91), the Warriors’ high-octane offense overwhelmed the Kings. Chris Mullin scored 32 points, while Victor Alexander added 28 points and 16 rebounds. Sacramento’s turnovers and poor shooting played a role in their defeat.
Golden State took control early on and never relinquished its lead. Their offensive prowess and relentless pressure on defense left the Kings struggling to keep up, resulting in a massive margin of victory.
The Warriors’ defense was instrumental in this blowout, forcing 28 turnovers and converting them into 47 points. Golden State’s fast-paced playstyle and quick ball movement allowed them to create open shots and catch the Kings off guard.
Syracuse Nationals vs. New York Knicks – December 25, 1960
The Nationals’ 62-point victory (162-100) against the Knicks showcased their unstoppable offense, with nine out of ten players scoring in double figures. Hal Greer and Dave Gambee led the way with 24 points each, while the Knicks could not match the Nationals’ intensity.
From the opening tip-off, the Nationals established their dominance, taking an early lead and maintaining it throughout the game. The Knicks’ defense failed to contain Syracuse’s potent offense, and their struggles with turnovers only compounded their problems, leading to the lopsided defeat.
Charlotte Hornets vs. Memphis Grizzlies – March 22, 2018
The Charlotte Hornets’ 61-point victory over the Memphis Grizzlies (140-79) was marked by Kemba Walker’s outstanding 46-point performance in just 28 minutes. The Grizzlies, shooting a mere 38.5% from the field, was no match for the Hornets’ defensive pressure and exceptional shooting.
Charlotte took an early lead and built on it throughout the game, with Walker leading the offensive charge with his 10/14 shooting from three. The Hornets’ aggressive defense and consistent scoring contributed to the blowout, as they maintained control and never allowed the Grizzlies to gain any momentum.
Charlotte’s impressive defensive performance included ten steals and forced Memphis to commit 19 turnovers, which converted to 31 points. Additionally, the Hornets’ bench played a crucial role in the blowout, outscoring the Grizzlies’ reserves 53-37 and providing valuable support to the starting lineup.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Sacramento Kings – December 15, 1985
The Bucks used their balanced offensive attack and suffocating defense en route to a 58-point victory (140-82) over the Kings. Terry Cummings scored 21 points. Jerry Reynolds, Craig Hodges, and Charlie Davis added 15 points each while the Kings struggled to contain Milwaukee’s potent offense.
The game unfolded with the Bucks dominating from the start, establishing an early lead and never looking back. Milwaukee’s offensive onslaught and relentless defensive pressure overwhelmed the Kings, who struggled with turnovers and failed to find any rhythm on offense.
The Bucks’ defense was also instrumental in the victory, holding the Kings to a mere 37% shooting from the field. Milwaukee’s bench contributed significantly to the win, outscoring Sacramento’s reserves 79-35 and maintaining a high level of play throughout the game.
Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Mavericks – December 29, 1992
The Kings’ 58-point win (139-81) against the Mavericks showcased Anthony Bonner scoring a career-high 22 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Mitch Richmond contributed 22 points, and Walt Williams added 20 off the bench. The Mavericks shot 37% from the field, contributing to their resounding defeat.
Sacramento took control of the game early on, building a significant lead and maintaining their offensive tempo throughout the contest. The Kings’ strong defense and balanced scoring attack proved too much for the Mavericks, resulting in the blowout.
The Kings’ defense held the Mavericks to 0/4 3-point field goal, contributing to Dallas’ offensive struggles. Sacramento’s excellent ball movement and teamwork were evident, as they tallied 40 assists on 50 made field goals, further solidifying their dominance.
Denver Nuggets vs. Charlotte Hornets – April 27, 2009
Using their suffocating defense, the Nuggets held Charlotte to just 31.5% shooting en route to a 121-63 victory. Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 26 points, propelling the Nuggets to the historic win.
The game saw Denver controlling the tempo and maintaining their defensive intensity from the outset. As the Hornets struggled to find their footing, the Nuggets capitalized on their opponent’s weaknesses, building a commanding lead and never allowing Charlotte to recover.
The Nuggets’ success in this game can also be attributed to their prowess in defense, as they trapped Chris Paul and the Hornets into 27 turnovers. Furthermore, Denver’s bench provided valuable support, outscoring Charlotte’s reserves 47-26 and maintaining a high level of play throughout the contest. The combined score of 183 makes this the lowest-scoring NBA game on this list.
What Can We Learn from These NBA Blowouts?
NBA blowouts provide valuable lessons that can be applied to professional basketball and various aspects of life. One of the key takeaways from these games is the importance of team chemistry and cohesion. Players can achieve extraordinary feats on the court when they work well together, communicate effectively, and trust one another. These lopsided victories exemplify the power of synergy and the significance of putting the team’s needs above individual interests.
Another important lesson from these blowouts is the impact of solid coaching and strategic game plans. It emphasizes the value of thorough preparation, adaptability, and the ability to recognize and seize opportunities. Coaches are critical in preparing their teams for games, analyzing opponents, and making necessary adjustments during the match. In many memorable blowouts, exceptional coaching helped teams exploit their opponent’s weaknesses, leading to significant scoring advantages.
Even the most talented teams can struggle if they fail to maintain their composure or underestimate their opponents. Furthermore, NBA blowouts serve as a reminder of the importance of maintaining focus, intensity, and a competitive mindset throughout the game. These blowouts showcase the significance of mental toughness, resilience, and the necessity to approach each game with a winning attitude.
Wrapping Things Up: Top 10 Biggest Blowouts in NBA History
Through these unforgettable moments in NBA history, we’ve seen the importance of stellar individual performances, tenacious defense, and efficient teamwork in contributing to some of the most lopsided victories.
Analyzing these games sheds light on the remarkable skill and coordination displayed by the winning teams, leaving us with a deeper appreciation for the level of competition and dedication required to achieve such feats.
Looking back on these blowouts, we’re reminded of the unpredictable nature of the game and the potential for extraordinary outcomes, even at the highest level of play.
We hope you enjoyed this post! If you did, be sure to check out our other basketball FAQ articles here.