The 3 Greatest Comebacks in NBA History

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

On Sunday night, the Golden State Warriors found themselves down by 26 points on the road against the Boston Celtics. It didn’t seem like the odds were good for the league’s best team. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s that you can never count out the Warriors.

Led by 37 points from superstar Stephen Curry, Golden State overcame this massive deficit to pull off a thrilling 106-101 comeback victory. In doing so, the Warriors showcased the type of resolve that you need if you’re going to contend for an NBA championship. We already knew that this Western Conference power was talented, but now we know they have the ability to dig themselves out of a major hole if they need to. But despite how impressive this come-from-behind performance was, where does it stand among the best ever?

With that, here are the three greatest comebacks in NBA history.

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Brian Bahr/Getty Images

3. Utah Jazz vs. Chicago Bulls

Date: February 4, 1998
Final Score: 101-93
Points overcome: 31

On this night in the 1997-98 NBA Season, the Chicago Bulls would visit the Utah Jazz in what would turn out to be an NBA Finals preview. While we all know how that series turned out, this game ended up going the Jazz’s way. But they had to earn it.

Despite being at the Delta Center, Utah found themselves in quite the hole. Not only were they down by 22 points after the first quarter, but that deficit would increase to as high as 31. But there was no quit in the Jazz. They would scrape and claw their way back into the ball game, and outscore Chicago in the final three periods. Even with Michael Jordan dropping 40 points on the night, Utah would get 30 from superstar Karl Malone and an additional 17 points from John Stockton, on their way to an impressive 101-93 victory.


2. Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls

Date: December 21, 2009
Final Score: 102-98
Points overcome: 35

For most of the night, this game was all Chicago. The Bulls were completely dominating the Sacramento Kings at the United Center. They doubled up the Kings in the first quarter, and had a commanding 67-43 lead at the break. The lead would grow to 35 points in the third quarter, but that’s the most it would get. After that, it was all Sacramento.

Led by Tyreke Evan‘s team-high 23 points, the Kings blitzkrieged the Bulls in the second half and would outscore them by 23 points in the fourth quarter. Despite 26 points from Luol Deng and 24 from Derrick Rose, Chicago was unable to hold off the furious Sacramento comeback. When the final buzzer sounded, it was the away team who would come out on top by a final score of 102-98.


1. Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets

Date: November 27, 1996
Final Score: 107-103
Points overcome: 36

The greatest comeback in NBA history once again involved the Utah Jazz, and they also did it in front of their home crowd at the Delta Center. Although Utah was riding a seven-game winning streak, that did not stop them from coming out sluggish against the Denver Nuggets. The Jazz gave up 70 points in the first half, and found themselves in a 34-point hole. This lead would increase to 36 in the third quarter, and it appeared that all hope was lost of extending the streak to eight games. And then the momentum swung in Utah’s favor.

The second half ended up being all Utah, as they managed to slowly get back into the game. The Jazz would outscore the Nuggets 36-15 in the third quarter, and 35-18 in the fourth. Karl Malone would drop 31 points on the night, and sharpshooter Jeff Hornacek would contribute 29 of his own. The Jazz had the Nuggets on the ropes. And they knew it. They would finish this monumental comeback by a final score of 107-103.

All statistics are courtesy of NBA Hoops Online and Basketball-Reference.com.