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The other day I hooked up with a fellow sports handicapper, who happens to be a huge National Basketball Association fan. Being as we hadn’t touched base since the 2012 NBA Playoffs had ended, the conversation quickly turned to the Miami Heat finally crowning their King by getting a ring on LeBron James’ finger. After briefly chatting about the NBA Finals series being kind of anticlimactic, the conversation quickly turned into a rather heated debate over which contests could be included in the discussion of the greatest games in NBA history.
There are a ton of games that qualify, most of which have kept hoops fans who had bets tied up at sports betting sites on the web, up until the wee hours of the morning, fingers crossed. After we each rolled out several games that were tattooed to our collective memories, here are some of the more memorable NBA games that received a common nod. Thoughts?
Indianapolis Olympians vs. Rochester Royals – Longest NBA Game in History
Back when sportsbooks were just beginning to dot the Nevada desert landscape – they were called Turf Clubs back then – Indianapolis and Rochester played in what is still the longest game in NBA history. The date was January 6, 1951, and the Olympians edged the Royals 75-73 in six overtime periods. While both teams would later fold, this contest stands the test of time not only for its length, but for its influence on the NBA as well. While games often reach the 75-73 point range by the third quarter today, this match-up was played before the shot clock was introduced in the NBA. With both teams seemingly playing keep-away from each other, the 23 total combined shots in overtime helped usher in the 24-second clock era in 1954.
Detroit Pistons vs. Denver Nuggets – 1983 NBA Contest Pays OVER Bettors Big Time
If you need proof that the implementation of the shot clock helped raise scoring in the NBA, look no further than the Pistons versus Nuggets gem that was played at the McNichols Sports Arena back on December 13, 1983. Though only watched in person by some 9,655 fans, this contest was a shootout from the get-go as the teams were tied 74-74 at halftime. The assault on the rims continued in the second half and the fourth quarter ended with the scored tied 145-145. Three overtime periods later, the Motor City Bad Boys finally pulled down a 186-184 victory. The 370 total points scored was, and still is, the NBA record for most points in a single game.
Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan vs. Phoenix Suns Charles Barkley – 1993 NBA Finals
Considered by many hoops fans to be one of the greatest games in NBA Finals history, the matchup between Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley back on June 13, 1993, is easily in the conversation. This Game 3 Finals contest is known as much for Jordan’s 44-points scored in a losing effort as it is for Bulls guard Scottie Pippen shooting a horrendous 13 of 33 from the field – in a game played in his own backyard. Charles was in charge in this one as Barkley pulled down 19 rebounds, helping the Suns to a 129-121 triple overtime win. This was after Chicago had taken the first two games of the series in Phoenix against the Suns, who had an NBA best record of 62-20 that season. In the end, the marathon loss was just a blip on the map for the Bulls as Chicago captured their third straight Larry O’Brien Trophy with a 4-2 series win.
OKC Thunder Leave the Grizzlies Singing the Memphis Blues in Triple Overtime
Oklahoma City and Memphis waged an epic Game 4 battle in the NBA Conference Semi-Finals back on May 9, 2011. In that contest the Thunder rolled the Grizzlies 133-123 in triple overtime from the Home of the Blues. As the sixth-longest contest in NBA history, this was a game changer for the Thunder as they tied the series at two games apiece heading back to OKC. After leading for most of the game, Memphis was down 96-93 with three seconds to play. Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley then drained a 26-foot three-point jumper to send the contest into overtime with the scored tied at 96-96. Another 26-foot Memphis three-pointer, this time by guard Greivis Vasquez, sent the game to a second OT with the game tied at 109-109. The second OT saw each team score ten points before the Thunder outscored the Grizzlies 14-4 in the third OT period to capture the victory.
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