The biggest win margin in NBA playoff history was originally shown on NBC Sports Boston.
The NBA playoffs should be intense and productive.
But Wednesday night Golden State Warriors suffered an upset loss to the Memphis Grizzlies 134–95 in Game 5.
Memphis did not have star quarterback Ja Morant and faced relegation with a loss, but the Grizzlies instead showed the trick, winning by 39 points, including a one-point 55-point lead in the second half.
While the Warriors avoided the wrong story, this game will be remembered for its crooked score and raises the question of the biggest NBA playoff margins. Here are the five biggest ones:
What is the biggest margin in NBA playoff history?
T-1. 58 – Denver Nuggets to New Orleans Hornets on April 27, 2009
In the first round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs, Denver took on the New Orleans Hornets on the road in Game 5.
Denver won 121–63 in a game in which New Orleans scored 24 points for 24 points. The Hornets didn’t beat 15 points in the other three quarters. David West led the team with 14 points. On the other hand, the Nuggets had seven scorers in double figures, with Carmelo Anthony scoring 26 points.
T-1. 58 – St. Louis Hawks to Minneapolis Lakers, March 19, 1956
Prior to the Nuggets in 2009, the record was held by the Minneapolis Lakers. In Game 2 of the Western Conference Division Semifinals (best-of-three series), the Lakers defeated the Hawks, 133–75. Bob Pettit led St. Louis with 14 points, while Jack Steffens added 13 points to end the team’s double-digit scoring run.
Minneapolis, however, was on a different level. Ten players registered minutes in this game, and each of them scored at least 10 points. Slater Martin’s 19 points were in the lead. However, the Hawks showed incredible resilience, winning Game 3 116–115 to advance to the division finals.
3.56 – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Golden State Warriors, April 21, 1973.
The Warriors’ Game 5 loss to Memphis didn’t make the list, but this one did. In Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, Los Angeles defeated Golden State 126–70. Rick Barry was the Warriors’ only two-figure scorer with 10 points.
The Lakers had five players hit double digits, and Jim McMillan’s 28 players pioneered that breakthrough. Star center forward Wilt Chamberlain scored just 12 points but grabbed 25 rebounds. Los Angeles won the series 4-1 before losing New York Knicks in the final.
It was the last lopsided playoff breakout that occurred in the first round of the Eastern Conference between Bulls and Bax. Chicago won 120-66 in a game in which Milwaukee never scored more than 19 points in a quarter. All of Chicago’s starters scored in double figures, with Mike Dunleavy scoring 20 points, a game-high.
But in the Bucks, not a single player scored at least 10 points. Zaza Pachulia scored eight. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Chris Middleton scored 11 points together, but then they were completely different players. At the very least, these two managed to win the title in order to erase the memory of this defeat.
5.50 – San Francisco Warriors at Milwaukee Bucks, April 4, 1971.
The Warriors and Bucks reappear on this list, but this time around, the Milwaukee were luckier. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals before Milwaukee switched conferences, the Bucks defeated the Warriors 136–86 to advance to the Conference Finals.
San Francisco had four double-digit players, but none of them had more than 13 (Ron Williams). In Milwaukee, John McGlocklin led with 28 points and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar added 23 points. This Bucks team won the title by beating the Baltimore Bullets 4-0. It was definitely an impressive win to add to their playoff resume from that championship.