The NBA regular season is often interesting in the way that teams are competing for draft picks, thinking about getting promising players, who will lead them to glory. Usually, these are the teams with the worst results in both Conferences. Frequently they lose games with a big margin which is also known in the dictionary of the NBA as the “blowout”.
In an NBA game, the match can’t end in a draw. There should be a winner does not matter how many overtimes the game will take. Huge blowouts, such as losing by 50 and more points are not common occurrences in the NBA. Teams put up fights and in the end, they end up losing by fewer points. In the fourth quarter, most of the time leading teams rest their key players and the score is reduced at some point. However, we have seen numerous exceptions. Let’s have a look at the 5 biggest blowouts in the NBA.
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Charlotte Hornets vs Memphis Grizzlies (140-79)
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.
Golden State Warriors – Sacramento Kings (153-91)
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.
Los Angeles Lakers – Golden State Warriors (162-99)
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.
Indiana Pacers – Portland Trail Blazers (124-59)
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.
Cleveland Cavaliers – Miami Heat (148-80)
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.