Top 10 Lowest Points NBA Games in League History ▷

Basketball ranks as the most popular sport with the most points, with most NBA teams exceeding 100 points in a single game. However, some games have had very low scores, well below expectations. You may be wondering how many points were scored in the lowest-scoring NBA games in history. Scroll down to find out.

Chicago Bulls guard Jimmy Butler (21) blocks the final shot from Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) on November 16, 2015 at the United Center in Chicago. Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo
Source: Getty Images

One of the reasons for low scoring in certain basketball games is a low percentage of throwing shots. Additionally, slow and overly physical games also tend to result in poor performance. Discover more below.

Top 10 Lowest Scoring NBA Games

Has there ever been a 0-point NBA game? Although it is possible to score zero points in basketball, there has never been a league game without a point. Also, no team has ever scored zero points in the history of the league. So what is the lowest scoring basketball game?

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Game total score date
Minneapolis Lakers 18-19 Fort Wayne Pistons 37 Nov. 22, 1950
Detroit Falcons 33-50 Washington Capitols 83 Nov. 2, 1946
Boston Celtics 47-38 Washington Capitols 85 January 16, 1947
Washington Capitols 49-40 Pittsburgh Ironmen 89 November 30, 1946
Pittsburgh Ironmen 44-46 Boston Celtics 90 December 2, 1946
Boston Celtics 48-43 Pittsburgh Ironmen 91 January 23, 1946
St Louis Bombers 46-50 Toronto Huskies 96 December 15, 1946
Cleveland Rebels 49-47 Detroit Falcons 96 December 1, 1946
Boston Celtics 49-48 New York Knicks 97 February 6, 1947
New York Knicks 46-52 Boston Celtics 98 January 25, 1947

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Lowest scoring NBA game of all time

Lowest scoring NBA game of all time
The Minneapolis Lakers and Fort Wayne Pistons players during their NBA game at the Minneapolis Auditorium in Minneapolis, Minnesota, circa 1954. Photo: Hy Peskin
Source: Getty Images

On November 22, 1950, the NBA’s lowest-scoring match in history took place between the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Minneapolis Lakers. The Pistons defeated their opponents 19-18 with 37 points overall. It’s also the lowest-scoring NBA game by a team (Minneapolis Lakers, 18).

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The Lakers, as the defending champions, were the pre-game favorites. However, the Pistons developed a strategy of possessing the ball long enough to deny the Lakers a chance to score.

“If this is basketball, I don’t want to be a part of that game anymore. Playing like that will kill professional basketball,” said a frustrated Minneapolis Lakers coach John Kundla.

Lowest scoring NBA game in the shot clock era

Lowest scoring NBA game in the shot clock era
A portable 24 second watch used during the New York Knicks vs. Houston Rockets game at the Toyota Center on February 24, 2020 in Houston, Texas. Photo: Bob Levey
Source: Getty Images

In April 1954, the National Basketball Association invented the 24-second clock to prevent teams from possessing the ball for long without attempting to score. It ushered in the modern era of professional basketball, where teams have 24 seconds to fire a legal shot after gaining possession of the ball. The new regulations helped increase the game’s average score.

On February 27, 1955, the Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks (62-57) game recorded its fewest points since the shot clock was introduced. The game with the lowest overtime points of the new era was the Charlotte Hornets’ game against the Indiana Pacers on January 17, 2015. The Hornets defeated the Indiana Pacers 80-71 in overtime, with 151 points overall. It’s also one of the lowest-scoring NBA games since 1970.

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Fewest goals scored by a team in an NBA game since 1970

Lowest scoring NBA games since 1970
Bill Wellington (L) and Ron Harper (R) of the Chicago Bulls defend against Miami Heat’s Jamal Mashburn during their game April 13, 1999 at the Miami Arena in Miami, Florida. Photo: Rhona Wise
Source: Getty Images

The Chicago Bulls scored the fewest points by a team in a game during their April 10, 1999 encounter with the Miami Heat (49). As a result, the Bulls lost 49-82.

Lowest scoring NBA game in the playoffs

The record belongs to the Philadelphia Warriors and St. Louis Bombers (51-56) with 107 points combined. The two teams met in the 1948 Eastern Conference Semifinals, with the Bombers emerging victorious. The low score in the playoff fight was due to poor conversion rates on both sides. The bombers scored only 20 shots out of 76 (26.3%), while their opponents scored 20 shots out of 113 (17.7%).

The playoff match with the fewest points of the shot-clock era was the 2002 Eastern Conference Semifinals between the Boston Celtics and the Detroit Pistons. The Bostons won 66-64 in a relatively competitive match. Paul Pierce and Jerry Stackhouse each scored 19 points for the Celtics and the Pistons.

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What is the lowest scoring NBA Finals game?

Game of the NBA Finals total score date
Syracuse Nationals vs. Minneapolis Lakers (62-20) 122 April 3, 1954
Syracuse Nationals vs. Minneapolis Lakers (65-63) 128 April 11, 1954
Baltimore Bullets vs. Philadelphia Warriors (66-63) 129 April 13, 1948
Philadelphia Warriors vs. Baltimore Bullets (71-60) 131 April 10, 1948
Minneapolis Lakers vs. Washington Capitols (77-56) 133 April 13, 1949

The Syracuse Nationals-Minneapolis Lakers Finals, played in Minneapolis on April 3, 1954, is considered the lowest-scoring final in North American league history. Syracuse won 62-60 with a total of 122 points.

Meanwhile, the Utah Jazz holds the record for a team’s lowest points in an NBA Finals game. The Jazz scored 54 points in a final loss to the Bulls (96) on June 7, 1998.

What is the NBA game with the lowest points in the 2000s?

Since 1999-00, the Denver Nuggets have the fewest points by a team in a game on November 16, 2002 (53) against the Detroit Pistons. Miami Heat almost broke the record in their 54-96 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

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Lowest Scoring NBA Game of 2022

The Sacramento Kings and New York Knicks recorded the fewest points in the 2021-22 NBA season. Both teams managed just 75 points in their respective losses to the Boston Celtics in 2022.

Since the introduction of the 24-second clock, even the lowest-scoring NBA games are still relatively higher than in the past. The intensity of the games and the level of competition have also improved, making the games more enjoyable.

ALSO READ: Ranking of the top 20 players with the most points in an NBA game recently published a list of the top 20 players with the most points in a single NBA game. According to research, over 20 basketball players have scored 60+ points in a game.

Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant and David Thompson are the top scorers in a match with 100, 81 and 71 points respectively. Follow the link above for details on other players on the list.

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