The NBA regular season is often interesting in the way that teams are competing for draft picks, thinking about getting promising young players, who will lead them to glory. Usually, these are the teams with the worst results in both Conferences. Frequently they lose games by a big margin which is also known in the sports lexicon as the “blowout”. Just like the first hald in Michael Jordan’s Space Jam, it can be “kinda one-sided” sometimes, but just how one sided might surprise you!
What is the biggest blowout in NBA history? The biggest blowout in NBA history was when the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma Thunder 152-79 on 2nd December 2021. The 73 point margin of victory was the biggest win in NBA history, eclipsing the record set in 1991 when the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat by 68 points.
Occasionally there are blowouts in the NBA however, for NBA teams to lose by a huge margin can be rare. Therefore, we have looked at the biggest blowouts in NBA history.
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Number 6 – Charlotte Hornets 140 at Memphis Grizzlies 79 (61 points)
The game took place in the 2017/2018 season. It is really surprising, that the Hornets were not favorites, even given the home-court advantage. In one of the memorable games of all-time, the Hornets defeated the Grizzlies by 61 points. They were playing without center Dwight Howard who game prior had 32 points and 30 rebounds against the Brooklyn Nets but received the 16th technical foul, receiving a suspension.
However, it did not cause any problems for the Hornets. Kemba Walker, Charlotte’s point guard, scored 46 points with 10 three-pointers in a row. After such a dominant win over the Grizzlies, which few people anticipated, the Grizzlies had a hard time recovering.
Number 5 – Golden State Warriors 153 at Sacramento Kings 91 (62 points)
With a similar difference in the 1960/1961 season, the Syracuse Nationals beat the New York Knicks (162-100). But the 1991 match is not only closer chronologically, but also has a very interesting subtext.
On 2 November it was announced that one of the Warriors’ players from the Big 3 (Hardaway- Richmond-Mullin) Mitch Richmond would soon be traded for Billy Owens and the 3rd draft pick to Sacramento. Golden State coach and general manager Don Nelson said the decision was one of the most painful of his life.
Since Richmond was actually the player of the opposing team, he did not take part in the game and watched what was happening from the bench, in civil clothes. Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, and the Warriors decided to show their coach that Richmond’s exchange was complete nonsense. The Warriors too strong for the Kings and they did not know what to do against such a dominant squad. Eventually, they won by 62 points.
The decision’s flaw was proved further when Owens remained in the Warriors until 2001 and is not remembered for anything interesting, while Richmond was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, especially as a Warriors player.
Number 4 – Los Angeles Lakers 162 at Golden State Warriors 99 (63 points)
As you can see, the Warriors are featured in the article several times. However in this case they have to be mentioned negatively, because of the loss against the Lakers. The match occurred in March 1972. Even the most comprehensive statistical websites provide not much information to form an opinion about the course of the game. From the available, it can be concluded that the teams were in different categories.
The Lakers were led by Jerry West and wilt Chamberlain, who were well supported by role-playing players, including Pat Riley. All the Warriors could do was the universalism of Nate Thurmond. In three of the four quarters, the Lakers scored at least 40 points. With such indicators, the Warriors could not do much against dominant Chamberlain and West, losing the match by 63 points.
Number 3 – Indiana Pacers 124 at Portland Trail Blazers 59 (65 points)
The match took place in 1998. Simply having a look at Portland’s statistics by quarter is enough to see what was really going on: 14-15-14-16. The team was simply going at the bottom, without real progress. Damon Stoudamire spat at delivering the ball to his teammates early in the match and instead began throwing it somewhere in the direction of the ring.
Had it not been for Rashid Wallace, it would have ended in a disaster for the Blazers who had made only 24 of 72 shots. Eventually, the Pacers won the game by an astonishing 65 points!
And all this happened in the match against the Pacers, who step by step improved the lineup for the Eastern Conference finals. That season, Michael Jordan and his Chicago Bulls needed seven games to beat the Pacers to reach the finals, and in 1999 Indiana struggled with the Knicks for the trophy.
Number 2 – Cleveland Cavaliers 148 at Miami Heat 80 (68 points)
In 1991 we witnessed a match that is unlikely to be repeated in the future. Before LeBron James even appeared on the NBA horizon, the victory over the Heat was something noteworthy.
The Cavaliers defeated the opponent by 68 points! Mark Price, Craig Ehlo, Winston Bennett, Brad Daugherty, John “Hot Rod” Williams were good but far from outstanding performers, and the most talented of them, Daugherty, prematurely ended his career due to injuries.
There is no need to talk about domination, insidious strategy, or magical transformation. It was basically a game where only one team was showing its best. It’s just that sometimes miracles happen, as something else happens. Even by today’s standards when we see a lot of games with big results it is practically impossible to win a game by such a huge margin.
Number 1 – Oklahoma City Thunder 79 at Memphis Grizzlies 152 (73 points)
In 2021, 30 years after the previous record was set by the Cleveland Cavailers, a young and hungry Memphis Grizzlies team obliterated the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder. While OKC had penned this season in for player development, not cocnerned about piling up losses in the race for the number 1 draft pick, they probably didn’t expect to have their score nearly doubled by a Memphis team missing it’s star guard – Ja Morant.
Of course, OKC werem’t at full strength either. But any professional basketball team should expect to be able to slam on the defensive breaks and limit the damage when needed. Down 72 – 36 at Halftime (36 points) it only got worse in the second half.
Jaren jackson Jnr led Memphis in scoring with 27pts in the absence of Ja Morant. Playing only 20 minutes as the Grizzlies ran out their bench, it makes you wonder what may have happened in Morant had been available and JJJ had played his usual 30+ alongside him!