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9 Memorable NBA Playoff Blowouts

by: Esteban On  Wednesday, May 15, 2013

nba playoff blowouts - most lopsided playoff games

When the NBA playoffs roll around, you expect games to be a little closer than they might be in the regular season. Every game matters more, and every player should be playing like there’s no tomorrow. However, so far the 2013 NBA Playoffs have featured what seems like an inordinate number of blowouts. The Hawks beat the Pacers by 21, but then the Pacers turned around and beat the Hawks by 23. The Clippers beat the Grizzlies by 21, but then the Grizzlies turned around and beat the Clippers by 21. And of course, the Thunder beat the Rockets by 29, and then Spurs topped that by beating the Lakers by a whopping 31. And that was just the first round. In any case, in honor of all these playoff blowouts in this year’s NBA Playoffs, today we’re going to take a look at some of the most notable lopsided playoff games of all-time. Now, I say “most notable” because this isn’t just a list of the biggest margins of victory. That would actually be pretty boring, because you’d have a bunch of six-way ties and what not. Instead this list is just a glimpse at the playoff blowouts that were more memorable for one reason or another. Ready to get started? Good. Let’s get to it.

9. Bullets over Sonics by 35 (1978)

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1978 NBA Finals, Game 6

Washington Bullets 117, Seattle Supersonics 82

Coming in at number nine we have the third-most lopsided game in the history of the NBA Finals. And what’s really interesting here is that, except for this one game, this series was really close. Through the first five games, the point differential was just five points, and the Bullets would win Game 7 by just six. Game 6, however, was a different story. Apparently Seattle forgot to eat their Wheaties that day or something, because Washington crushed them by 35 points.

 

8. Wizards over Cavaliers by 36 (2008)

8 wizards cavaliers 2008 - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

2008 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game 3

Washington Wizards 108, Cleveland Cavaliers 72

Who would have imagined that this list would start off with two blowouts by the Washington Bullets/Wizards? Certainly not LeBron James and the 2008 Cleveland Cavaliers, that’s for sure. The Cavs wouldn’t become an elite 60-win team until the 2008-09 season, but in 2008 they were still pretty good. However, after losing Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland, the Wizards responded in a big way by blowing out LeBron and company in Game 3 back in DC…before eventually losing the series in six games.

 

7. Heat over Bulls by 37 (2013)

7 miami heat chicago bulls game 2 2013 - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 2

Miami Heat 115, Chicago Bulls 78

Nobody expected the Derrick Rose-less Bulls to do much this postseason, but they managed to get by the Brooklyn Nets in the first round and then, almost unbelievably, they beat the Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Miami. However, the defending champs responded to that shocking loss by absolutely crushing the Bulls in Game 2—the first of three straight victories.

 

6. Celtics over Lakers by 39 (2008)

6 2008 nba finals celtics lakers - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

2008 NBA Finals, Game 6

Boston Celtics 131, Los Angeles Lakers 92

The second biggest blowout in the history of the NBA Finals belongs to the 2008 Boston Celtics. After a pretty close series against their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Celtics ended their 21-year championship drought with a thunderous 39-point embarrassment courtesy of 90 combined points from Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo…and three from Glen “Big Baby” Davis.

 

5. Bulls over Jazz by 42 (1998)

5 1998 nba finals - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

1998 NBA Finals, Game 3

Chicago Bulls 96, Utah Jazz 54

Who else but Jordan could be responsible for the biggest blowout in the history of the NBA Finals? Of course, this series will forever be remembered for MJ’s Game 6-winning jumper (pictured here) with 6.8 seconds left on the clock—the shot that gave the Bulls their second three-peat. However, if it had been, say, Scottie Pippen or Toni Kukoc who made that shot, then chances are what we’d really remember from that series would have been the way the Bulls suffocated the Jazz in Game 3, holding them to a measly 54 points—22 of them by Karl Malone—en route to a 42-point victory.

 

4. Magic over Hawks by 43 (2010)

4 magic hawks blowout 2010 - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

2010 Eastern Conference Semifinals, Game 1

Orlando Magic 114, Atlanta Hawks 71

Dwight Howard, Rashard Lewis, and the Orlando Magic made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2009 only to get smoked by Kobe and the Lakers in five games. In 2010, however, they added Vince Carter and saw Jameer Nelson step forward into the starting lineup, and come playoff time this team was hungry. They swept the Bobcats in the first round, then swept the Hawks in the second round—a sweep started off with a massive 43-point smackdown in Game 1.

Unfortunately, the Magic might have worn themselves out beating up on their opponents in the first two rounds, as they were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games.

 

3. Lakers over Spurs by 47 (1986)

3 1986 lakers - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

1986 Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 1

Los Angeles Lakers 135, San Antonio Spurs 88

Back in 1986, the first round of the NBA playoffs was just a best-of-five series. In some cases, that led to upsets…but not in this one. Magic, Kareem, and the rest of the Lakers smashed the Spurs by 47 points in the first game en route to a three-game sweep in which they outscored San Antonio by a combined 95 points (371-276).

Now that is a beatdown.

 

2. Lakers over Hawks by 58 (1956)

2 lakers hawks 1956 - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

1956 Western Division Semifinals, Game 2

Minneapolis Lakers 133, St. Louis Hawks 75

In 1956, the Western Division Semifinals were just three-game series. The Lakers and Hawks had identical sub-.500 records that year, so there really was no favorite coming in. Nevertheless, the Lakers set the record for most lopsided NBA playoff victory in Game 2—a record that would go unmatched for 53 years and which is still unbeaten.

Unfortunately for the ’56 Lakers, they lost Game 1 and Game 3 by one point each. So despite outscoring the Hawks by 56 points for the series, the Lakers got sent home early.

 

1. Nuggets over Hornets by 58 (2009)

1 nuggets hornets blowout 2009 - lopsided nba playoff losses biggest margins of victory

2009 Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game 4

Denver Nuggets 121, New Orleans Hornets 63

In 2009, Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets came just one lousy free-throw shy of breaking the all-time record for most lopsided victory in an NBA playoff game. Denver had seven players reach double-digits in scoring, led by Anthony’s 27. New Orleans, meanwhile, had just three players reach double-digits, and somehow Chris Paul, who averaged a career-best 22.8 points per game that season, was held to just four points.

If you happened to be checking basketball scores on your phone that night, you probably saw this one and thought it was some kind of mistake. Unfortunately for the Hornets, it wasn’t.

 




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