Way Over Time

Photo by Ken Lawrence on Unsplash

When a hard-fought basketball game comes down to five minutes of overtime, you usually assume the game is going to continue to be hard-fought. The teams have been equal up to this point – why wouldn’t it continue?

But, of course, that doesn’t always happen. In the history of the NBA, there have been four games in which one team outscored the other by 15 points or more in the five-minute overtime session.

Boston Celtics @ San Francisco Warriors (Jan. 2, 1963)

The 62-63 Boston Celtics were in the middle of the most dominant run in NBA history, headed toward their 5th of eight straight NBA championships.  The San Francisco Warriors were in the middle of their first season since moving from Philadelphia, and having a bad time of it, mainly because they lost their second best scorer, Paul Arizin, because he chose to retire rather than move to San Francisco with the team.

But on this day the two teams were equal for four quarters, as they came into overtime locked at 114 each.  Maybe the Celtics were toying with Wilt Chamberlain and the Warriors?  Or maybe they just got their second wind.  Either way the overtime was a blowout, with the Celtics coming out on top 135-120.

Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers (Dec. 12, 1990)

L.A. is never an easy place to play, especially when you are playing against a team that includes Magic Johnson and James Worthy (plus a very young Vlade Divac!) So the Mavericks must have felt pretty good about making it to overtime, tied at 89.

They probably didn’t expect to go into overtime and demolish the Lakers on their home court, scoring an incredible 23 points in the extra session to finish the game 112-97.  Hopefully they savored the feeling of the win.  It would be the last time the Mavericks won a Lakers game in L.A. for exactly 13 years – until they beat the Kobe / Shaq Lakers on Dec. 12, 2003.

New Jersey Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks (Dec. 4, 1977)

The 77-78 Nets were a bad basketball team – really bad.  They came into this game sporting a record of 3-19.  But a trade the month before had brought in Kevin Porter and Howard Porter (no relation), and on this day at least, that made all the difference.  Kevin Porter went wild in this game, scoring 40 points and leading the Nets to a 116-116 tie at the end of regulation.

Unfortunately for the hapless Nets, Porter’s magic must have all run out, as they went on to only score two points in their extra time, losing the game 134-118. The Nets would, later in the year, have a 15-game losing streak. It wasn’t the best time to be a Nets fan.

Portland Trailblazers @ Houston Rockets (Jan. 22, 1983)

Similar to the Nets, the Houston Rockets came into this game at a bad point in their history, with a record of just 6-34.  But they fought hard, with the trio of Allen Leavell, James Bailey and Calvin Murphy all scoring over 20 points, and made it to overtime with the score even at 96.

That’s when it all fell apart, as the Rockets failed to score even a single point in overtime.  The Trailblazers, for their part, scored 17 points and cruised to the win, 113-96.  It’s hard to feel too bad for the Rockets, though, as the next two drafts brought in Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon.  Not a bad tradeoff.

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