The 15 biggest NBA blowouts and largest margins of victory all-time (regular season)

Every week of the NBA regular season, there are a handful of close contests where the game comes down to one shot. However, wins usually come down to which team can string together the most runs during the game where the outcome of the game isn’t as dramatic. Then there are games that are decided way earlier.

The Anatomy of an NBA Blowout

What’s underrated and difficult to gauge is that the game is very much guided by a team’s rhythm. Its rhythm is critical not just on the offensive side, but rhythm is just as crucial defensively as well. Even at the highest level, there are games where one team is running on all cylinders; hitting every shot, grabbing every loose ball while the other team can’t hit the broad side of the barn and are playing defense like they just for the first time. At the NBA level, all it takes is a combination of being a step slow defensively, a string of turnovers, slight hesitation and a few missed shots to quickly find yourself in a 15 point deficit.

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The Largest Margins of Victory in NBA History

It’s not uncommon to see a point differential in the mid to high-20s — that’s just a difference in talent level. If it’s an off night, a team can easily lose by 30 points or more. When the confluence of two teams going in exactly different directions, a margin of 40 points occurs and this happens a few times every season. What’s rare is when the point differential gits the half-century mark.

So when the Golden State Warriors won by 50 over the Memphis Grizzlies, we wondered what NBA games had the largest point differential — the biggest margin of victory. We’re talking the blowouts of all blowouts. We combed the internet and came up with the five biggest point margins during the regular season in NBA history.

The Biggest Margins of Victory in NBA History
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
1 68 Cleveland Cavaliers 148 Miami Heat 80 12/17/1991
2 65 Indiana Pacers 124 Portland Trail Blazers 59 02/02/1998
3 63 Los Angeles Lakers 162 Golden State Warriors 99 03/19/1972
4 62 Golden State Warriors 153 Sacramento Kings 91 11/02/1991
4 62 Syracuse Nationals 162 New York Knicks 100 12/25/1960
6 61 Charlotte Hornets 140 Memphis Grizzlies 79 03/22/2018
7 58 Milwaukee Bucks 140 Sacramento Kings 82 12/15/1985
7 58 Sacramento Kings 139 Dallas Mavericks 81 12/29/1992
9 56 Boston Celtics 133 Chicago Bulls 77 12/08/2018
9 56 Seattle Supersonics 149 Philadelphia 76ers 93 03/06/1993
9 56 Sacramento Kings 154 Philadelphia 76ers 98 01/02/1993
9 56 Seattle Supersonics 136 Houston Rockets 80 12/06/1986
9 56 Milwaukee Bucks 158 New Orleans Jazz 102 03/14/1979
9 56 Chicago Bulls 130 Portland Trail Blazers 74 02/20/1976
9 56 Los Angeles Lakers 144 Detroit Pistons 88 11/12/1966

These are all for the NBA regular season. For the hugest, largest, biggest, most-ginormous blowouts in the NBA playoffs, click here.

The Biggest Blowouts in NBA Regular Season History

Moncrief was inspirational in the Milwaukee Bucks franchise in largest margin win

Tie: 7th Biggest NBA Blowout Ever
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
7 58 Milwaukee Bucks 140 Sacramento Kings 82 12/15/1985
7 58 Sacramento Kings 139 Dallas Mavericks 81 12/29/1992

#7 (58 points): Before the Milwaukee Bucks were a struggling franchise in the Eastern Conference, they secured one of the most convincing wins in NBA history. This result came in the middle of the Sidney Moncrief era that saw the Bucks win seven division titles over 11 seasons.

At their peak, this Bucks team was trampling on their opposition and managing to hit a shots-to-points ratio of 66%. That was two in every three shots was dropping into the basket. It is no surprise they notched up some big wins which included a 58-point margin against the Kings in 1985 — good for fifth biggest blowout of all-time. The Bucks were only stopped from going all the way to the NBA Championship that season by an in-form Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Semi Finals.

5th Largest Point Margin
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
6 61 Charlotte Hornets 140 Memphis Grizzlies 79 03/22/2018

#6 (61 points): Kemba Walker goes for 46 points and 10 three-pointers in 28 minutes as the Hornets demolished the Grizzlies by 61 points. Walker’s performance comes short of his career high of 52 points.  I don’t know about you, but I’m curious to hear what Marc Gasol (who didn’t play in the game) had to say about this after decimating his teammates earlier in the season.

“They were out there just laughing,” Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans said. “It was embarrassing. The whole thing. We’ve got to just wash this one away and just come back next game and be ready to play.”

The 61-point difference is the largest win in Charlotte’s history and the biggest loss in Grizzlies history.

Fourth Largest Point Margin
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
4 62 Golden State Warriors 153 Sacramento Kings 91 11/02/1991
4 62 Syracuse Nationals 162 New York Knicks 100 12/25/1960

#4 (62 points): It was a game that attracted attention for all the wrong reasons before the first whistle. The morning of the game saw Golden State Warriors head coach Don Nelson trade key player guard Mitch Richmond for Sacramento Kings number three draft pick Billy Owens. It was one of the most controversial trades in State Warriors history with Richmond being an integral part of their Run TMC Warriors Squad alongside point guard Tim Hardaway and forward Chris Mullin.

Despite the criticism surrounding the departure of Richmond, the Golden State Warriors came out firing on all cylinders. Richmond was unavailable to play for his new side and help them avoid the 62 point defeat. It would also be a short term fix with the trade of Richmond ultimately spelling the end for a State Warriors side that had promised so much under the Run TMC link-up that was to only remain together for two seasons and never fulfill its true potential.

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Third Largest Point Margin in NBA Regular Season
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
3 63 Los Angeles Lakers 162 Golden State Warriors 99 03/19/1972

#3 (63 points): The 1971-72 L.A. Lakers team is widely regarded as one of the best sides that the NBA has ever seen. Owner Jack Kent Cooke hired Bill Sharman as the team’s head coach and, spear headed by the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, the Lakers were to go on and create history over the course of the season. This included the team winning a record-breaking 33 games in a row.

Wilt of the Lakers in largest margin game

The Lakers would also go on to win a record 69 games that season and it was a record that would remain untouched until the great side of the Chicago Bulls beat it in 1995/96. They failed to score 100 points or more on just one occasion and this epic win over the Golden State Warriors was the Lakers in full steam. Unsurprisingly, the season ended in success for the Lakers who defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the best-of-seven series.

Second Biggest Blowout in NBA History (regular season)
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
2 65 Indiana Pacers 124 Portland Trail Blazers 59 02/02/1998

#2 (65 Points): One of the great teams of the NBA were the Larry Bird-led Indiana Pacers team that enjoyed huge success between 1997 and 2000. This included the 1997/98 season where the Pacers set a new franchise record ending the season with 58-24 which was a 19 match improvement on the season before.

The recruitment of Chris Mullin along with the work carried out by assistant coaches Rick Carlisle and Dick Harter saw them become a big force in the NBA. They managed to get the best out of the Pacers players such as Derrick McKey, Dale Davis, and Antonio Davisto pull off some stunning wins including this emphatic win over a Trail Blazers side that was not entirely dreadful. The only reason this Pacers side didn’t achieve more was because of the Chicago Bulls competing at the same time and dominating the Eastern Conference.

Biggest Blowout in NBA History (regular season)
Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
1 68 Cleveland Cavaliers 148 Miami Heat 80 12/17/1991

#1 (68 Points): The first match on our list is from a time when Cleveland Cavaliers had not yet entered their decade of struggles and Miami Heat were in their infancy before the takeover by Micky Arison in 1995. In fact, this was a Cavaliers team that was one of the finest of its generation. In 1989, they had gone toe-to-toe with a Michael Jordan-inspired Chicago Bulls.

This game summed up the gap between these two sides in an age entirely different to the one modern day basketball fans will be familiar with. It was towards the end of the Cavaliers forgotten dynasty of the Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, and Mark Price era (sprinkled in with a little Ron Harper, Hot Rod Williams and Craig Ehlo) and was one of the last times they could claim such dominance over a Heat team that would go on to achieve greater things over the next 20 years.

Unusual results like these can be a bookie’s nightmare and a punter’s paradise. Back in the days of these classic matches, sports betting was restricted to laying down your bets live. Nowadays, basketball fans can bet on their teams anytime they want, even mid-game. And it’s even possible in the US.

The Biggest Blowouts in NBA History

And we’re not talking hair, here. Here’s the seven largest margins of victories and biggest blowouts in NBA history:

Rank Margin Winner Loser Date
1 68 Cleveland Cavaliers 148 Miami Heat 80 12/17/1991
2 65 Indiana Pacers 124 Portland Trail Blazers 59 02/02/1998
3 63 Los Angeles Lakers 162 Golden State Warriors 99 03/19/1972
4 62 Syracuse Nationals 162 New York Knicks 100 12/25/1960
4 62 Golden State Warriors 153 Sacramento Kings 91 11/02/1991
6 61 Charlotte Hornets 140 Memphis Grizzlies 79 03/22/2018
7 58 Milwaukee Bucks 140 Sacramento Kings 82 12/15/1985
7 58 Sacramento Kings 139 Dallas Mavericks 81 12/29/1992

These highly unusual results must eat away at a player and coach’s soul, completely frustrate fans and the stations televising the games. Not to mention those being a bookie’s nightmare (but a punter’s paradise).

As far as predicting and betting on a 65 point blowout happening anytime soon?  I wouldn’t hold my breath. Even though the games are interesting from a “can’t look away” aspect, these games are rarely good for anyone except the team (and that team’s fans) that’s putting on the ass-whooping.

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