I know that it is extremely difficult to find a low-scoring game in the modern NBA, especially after basketball’s “3-point era”. Numerous records are being shattered left and right.
Nowadays, it is rare to find a game that is not scored over 100 points due to the sheer volume of three-pointers made and great offensive prowess of the players today.
However, there will always be recorded games with scores so much lower than you expected with all sports. It will come as a surprise what the lowest-scoring NBA game is.
Read on as I explore the lowest scoring games in the history of the NBA.
5 Lowest Scoring Games in NBA History
These are the five lowest scoring NBA games ever recorded in NBA history.
If the highest-scoring game you can think of equals around 400 points, you will be surprised at how much the lowest-scoring NBA game could be.
1. Fort Wayne Pistons vs. Minneapolis Lakers
The game between the Fort Wayne Pistons and the Minneapolis Lakers is the lowest combined score in NBA history and the lowest score of all time.
Essentially, this game is the lowest scoring game ever in the NBA. The final score and box score was 19-18, with the Fort Wayne Pistons winning over the Minneapolis Lakers.
The 1950s era of the NBA had no shot clock rule yet, hence the low-scoring game. Fort Wayne Players would hold the ball as long as possible to run the clock.
What Happened During This Game?
The Lakers, formerly known as the Minneapolis Lakers during that time, had the dominant George Mikan on their roster, which meant the ring would constantly be attacked.
To win against the Lakers, the opposing team, Fort Wayne Pistons, now known as the Detroit Pistons, would hold the ball for a long time before the game timer ran out.
Many agree that this is the most lackluster game in NBA history because of the strategy that the Pistons utilized. The player with the most points in this game was John Oldham. The Pistons player scored 5 points, 3 of his points coming from free throws.
After the lowest scoring game occurred came the shot-clock era of the NBA, making it a staple and one of the basic rules of basketball.
2. Washington Capitols vs. Detroit Falcons
This game was one of the oldest recorded NBA games in history as this happened during the 1946-1947 season. This was before the shot-clock rule was introduced in basketball.
This game was also one of the low-scoring games I can remember. The final score of 50-33 was indeed one of the lowest scoring NBA games ever.
The two NBA teams had such low statistics that some speculate that they are not accurate since the early years of the NBA did not have the luxury of accurate statistics being recorded.
However, some statistics show that the most points scored in this game was 14 points.
3. Boston Celtics vs. Washington Capitols
This game occurred during the development era of basketball, which means that the sport was still evolving and finding its true potential.
During this era, these two teams, the Boston Celtics and Washington Capitols, played a game against each other, and the game is considered as one of the lowest-scoring games in the NBA.
The final box score recorded was 47-38, with the highest scorers being Fred Scolari (Capitols) and Al Brightman (Celtics). They scored 17 and 14 points, respectively.
4. Milwaukee Hawks vs. Boston Celtics
The introduction of the shot clock increased the scores of these games by a significant margin. This match is evidence of how the shot-clock rule has impacted the game of basketball. However, it is still one of the lowest-scoring matches recorded in the NBA.
The match ended with a score of 62-57, favoring the Celtics over the Milwaukee Hawks.
This matchup catapulted the NBA’s offensive prowess and it has evolved steadily since.
5. Boston Celtics vs. Pittsburgh Ironmen
Although this game was hard for me to research because of the lack of statistics, one thing is for sure – this is one of the lowest scoring matches in NBA history.
The game ended in a 46-44 victory for the Celtics, with Al Brightman being the leading scorer with 12 points.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
I have collated some of the frequently asked questions about the lowest scoring games in the NBA.
1. What Is The Lowest-Scoring NBA Game In The Last Decade?
The Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks hold the distinction of having the lowest scores in the last decade, scoring only 56 points.
2. What Are The Fewest Points Scored In A Quarter?
The fewest points scored in a quarter occurred with the Dallas Mavericks in 1997 and the Golden State Warriors in 2004, both scoring only 2 points in a quarter.
3. What Is the Lowest Score by One Team In An NBA Match?
In 1999, the Chicago Bulls scored only 49 points versus the Miami Heat. The Heat scored 82 points in that game to thrash the Bulls.
4. What Is The Lowest Combined Score In An NBA Playoff Game?
That lowest scoring playoff match belongs to the Celtics and Pistons in the 2002 Eastern Conference Semifinals. In that game, the final score was only 66-64 in favor of the Celtics.
5. What Is The Highest Scoring Game In NBA History?
In 1962, the Philadelphia Warriors won against the New York Knicks in a 169-147 victory. This game sets the NBA record for most points scored by a player, Wilt Chamberlain, with 100 points.
6. What Is The Highest Scoring Quarter By A Single Player In NBA League History?
In 2015, Klay Thompson set an NBA record of 37 points in the third quarter of their match against the Sacramento Kings, where they won 126-101.
The lowest-scoring game in league history is the match between the Fort Wayne Pistons vs. Minneapolis Lakers (19-18).
In recent times, low-scoring games are rare because of the shot-clock rule and the sudden increase of three-pointers being attempted and made.
NBA teams have evolved throughout the game’s history, and it will continue to evolve as the players and coaches strive for improvement.