What is the Lowest-Scoring NBA Game? The Top 10

Are you curious to know about what is the lowest-scoring NBA game? 

We’ve witnessed a lot of incredible NBA games each season, in which several records have been broken, a plethora of points were scored, and last-minute drama has occurred. In general, spectators enjoy watching games with a high amount of points scored by both teams and it’s an entertaining show for viewers. There are times though when anti-records occur, such as the lowest-scoring games.

When we speak about the lowest-scoring games, we’re mostly talking about the past. It’s nearly impossible to conceive of a basketball game today where professional teams score less than 100 points.

Despite the fact that we have a long history where NBA teams hardly scored more than 50 points. We’ll take a look at the five lowest-scoring NBA games, and it’s not surprising to learn that they occurred seventy years ago.

There are a lot of similarities among all the matches on our list. These matches were played during the 1946 – 1947 season when the 24-second rule had not come into effect and basketball was considerably different from what we see today.

The usual NBA game is a 48-minute contest between two teams made up of some of the top basketball players from across the globe. Both teams are expected to throw bombs (3 pointers) from outside, resulting in some spectacular drives and layups, enormous dunks, and postulations.  But now let’s look at the teams that failed to do any of these in a 48-minute regulation and earned the lowest score. These records date back to when the 24-second shot clock was introduced, which was in 1954.

Here is the list of the top 10 lowest scores in the NBA.

Utah Jazz – New York Knicks: 62 – 73 Points

The Utah Jazz scored 62 points against the New York Knicks on November 14, 2005. 

Indiana Pacers – Cleveland Cavaliers: 61 – 93 Points

The first 3-peat has been accomplished by 11 different franchises in the NBA. On March 22, 1994, the Indiana Pacers scored 61 and lost to the home team against Cleveland.

Utah Jazz – Indiana Pacers: 60 – 84 Points

In a November 30, 2005 matchup against the Indiana Pacers, Utah Jazz scored just 60 points, the game was held in Utah.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Boston Celtics: 87 – 79 Points

The highest-scoring team with a total of 59 points in 48 minutes of regulation is Cleveland, which has beaten three other teams with similar records.

The Cavaliers were beaten by the Spurs in Game 1 of their Western Conference semi-finals. The encounter occurred on March 25, 1997, when the Sacramento Kings lost to the Charlotte Hornets. On January 10, 1991, the Sacramento Kings were beaten at Charlotte by the Hornets.

Cleveland Cavaliers – LA Lakers: 57 – 112 Points

The Cleveland Cavaliers scored 57 against the LA Lakers on January 11, 2011. 

Pittsburgh Ironmen – Boston Celtics: 44 – 46 Points

On December 2, 1946, this game took place a long time ago. Statistics were not kept at the time and tracking each player’s results was exceedingly difficult. The only statistics available in the box score are points. Al Bright man led the Boston Celtics with 12 points, while Tony Kappen had 7.

It’s unbelievable that the Celtics made 17 field goals in total, which is almost unimaginable today.

Pittsburgh Ironmen – Washington Capitals: 49 – 40 Points

The majority of our games on the list took place during the 1946-1947 seasons. Basketball in the United States was growing in popularity at this time. There is next to nothing known about the match’s course like there was in the previous game. It took place in 1946 in Washington.

We may infer from the facts that the Washington Capital was a strong favorite to win this fight, while the Pittsburgh Ironmen were having difficulties during the season.

Washington Capitals – Boston Celtics: 47 – 38 Points

On January 16, 1947, the two teams met at Palace to create a match that would last for more than six decades. Al Brightman and Fred Scolari, both of whom have been mentioned previously, scored 17 and 14 points for the Capitols and Celtics.

By looking at the score sheet, it appears that no more than 15 points were ever attained. We’re talking about a period when basketball was still in its infancy, so such a score wasn’t unusual.

Both teams scored a combined 32 field goals and made 37 free throws. The Washington Capitals were considered the favorites for this game, but the Celtics prevailed in the end.

Detroit Falcons – Washington Capitals: 50 – 33 Points

The worst game in history took place during the 1946/1947 season, and it was particularly noteworthy on November 2, 1946. We can discuss Bob Feerick and Fred Scolari for the Washington Capitals, both of whom scored 14 points. Bones McKinney complemented with 11.

The Detroit Falcons, on the other hand, had Stan Miasek with 9 points. Such numbers now seem comical. In 4 quarters, the teams were able to score 28 field goals and only 27 free throws. There is no record of steals, rebounds, assists, or blocks on the Internet and it’s not a surprise because the game took place almost 80 years ago.

Minneapolis Lakers – Fort Wayne Pistons: 19 – 18 Points

A few of the games we examined earlier were in the 80-point range, but this particular encounter isn’t even comparable. Spectators saw only 37 points during this game! There are no official statistics available for this game, but on November 22, 1950, more individuals fell asleep in the stands than points were accumulated during the match. The Pistons (formerly the Fort Wayne Pistons) defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 19:18 in what many consider to be the most dismal game in NBA history.

Final Thoughts

Since then, the NBA has changed considerably. It’s quite hard to imagine such anti-records nowadays, as teams are more concerned with offense and nearly every game has a combined score of over 200 points. Fast-paced basketball has evolved into a game of 3-point shots and the 24-second rule, which enables teams to change their game plan.

It is no longer possible to catch the ball and prevent the other team from attacking, which means that such records are no longer relevant. They’re more than likely not to be duplicated in the future.

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