Top 7 Biggest NBA Playoff In-Game Comebacks

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From left to right, Nick Young, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Randy Foye, Kenyon Martin during an NBA game against the Sacramento Kings.
(Wikimedia Commons/Fido)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Dec 11, 2023, 12:26 AM
  • The Los Angeles Clippers recorded the biggest NBA playoff in-game comeback with 31 points.
  • All teams on the list came back from a 26-point deficit.
  • Four teams are tied for the fourth place in this category.

As exciting as the NBA playoffs could be, in-game comebacks during this stretch have made NBA odds more electrifying, especially when the underdog teams mount a resurgence against the higher-seeded teams. Throughout the history of the NBA playoffs, huge comebacks have been witnessed, but which among them is the biggest?

There is something in the air of Hollywood as Los Angeles’ two teams — the Clippers and Lakers — have the three biggest NBA Playoff in-game comebacks. First, the Clippers uncorked a 31-point comeback against Golden State in the first round of the 2019 playoffs to steal Game 2 of the series. Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Danilo Gallirnari showed the way for the Clippers.

Meanwhile, their city rivals, the Lakers, also had a huge in-game comeback during the 1989 Western Conference semifinals series with the Seattle SuperSonics. Down by as many as 29 points in Game 4, James Worthy and Magic Johnson spearheaded the comeback to erase the deficit and sweep Seattle to advance in the West finals.

Another incredible in-game Clippers comeback happened on April 30, 2012, when they came back from a 27-point deficit against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 1 of their first-round series. Nick Young and Blake Griffin were the offensive leaders for the team with their 19-point and 17-point totals.

Four teams that recovered from 26 points down and eked out the victory are tied in the fourth spot. Boston turned back the Nets in May 2002, and Cleveland beat Indiana in April 2017. The two latest additions on this list were the come-from-behind victories of the Atlanta Hawks over the Philadelphia 76ers in 2021 and the Memphis Grizzlies’ triumph against the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2022.

Below is a table of the top seven biggest NBA playoff in-game comebacks. Note that these numbers are as of the 2021-22 season.

Top 7 Biggest NBA Playoff In-Game Comebacks

RankTeams and ScoreComeback Win MarginDate
1Los Angeles Clippers (135) vs. Golden State Warriors (131)31 pointsApril 15, 2019
2Los Angeles Lakers (97) vs. Seattle SuperSonics (95)29 pointsMay 14, 1989
3Los Angeles Clippers (99) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (98)27 pointsApril 30, 2012
T-4Boston Celtics (94) vs. New Jersey Nets (90)26 pointsMay 25, 2002
T-4Cleveland Cavaliers (119) vs. Indiana Pacers (114)26 pointsApril 20, 2017
T-4Atlanta Hawks (109) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (106)26 pointsJune 16, 2021
T-4Memphis Grizzlies (104) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (95)26 pointsApril 21, 2022

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.