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What is the highest score of all-time in an NBA Finals game?

When it comes to high-scoring games in the NBA Finals, there are a few games in history where two teams involved simply forgot how to miss and it was epic.

When it comes to high-scoring games in the NBA Finals, there are a few games in history where two teams involved simply forgot how to miss and it was epic.
Dick RaphaelNBAE/Getty Images

You don’t normally expect games during the NBA Playoffs to be extremely high-scoring, with defenses being tighter and players more focused. Yet, every now and then you get two teams who basically trade blows all night and the results can be eye opening.

What is the highest-scoring NBA Finals game of all time?

If we’re going to go down this road, then the first on the list is without doubt Game 1 of the 1967 NBA Finals. A veritable ‘basketfest,’ in which the Philadelphia 76ers and the then San Francisco Warriors put up a combined total of 276 points. In the end, the Warriors came out on top in overtime to win the game 141-135. Played at Convention Hall in Philadelphia, the teams put 73 points on the board in the very first quarter if you can believe it. For perspective, six of the players who participated in the series are now Hall of Famers: Wilt Chamberlain, Billy Cunningham, Hal Greer and Chet Walker for the Sixers, and Rick Barry and Nate Thurmond for the Warriors.

Yet, the best part in all of this is that neither team shot over 50% from the field AND this was actually before the 3-point line was introduced - that happened in the 1979-80 season. Think about that for a moment, we’ll wait. So, basically there was a whole lot of shooting. The 76ers for their part took 140, while the Warriors attempted 116. Surprisingly, perennial high-scorer Wilt Chamberlain actually had a quiet night with just 16 points on eight attempts. On the other hand, he had 33 rebounds - that’s just silly. The highest scorer for Philly was actually Greer who got himself 32 points on the night. For the Warriors, it was Barry who scored 37 points on the back of 14-of-43 shots. Below you can see - in order - the games which have stood out in NBA Finals history:

RankNBA Finals WinnerLoserCombined Score
1Game 1, 196776ers (141)Warriors (135)276 (overtime)
2Game 2, 1987Lakers (141)Celtics (122)263
3Game 1, 1985Celtics (148)Lakers (114)262
4Game 1, 1966Lakers (133)Celtics (129)262 (overtime)
5Game 1, 1960Celtics (140)Hawks (122)262

What’s the highest-scoring NBA game in the modern era?

The modern game has seen the improvement of defense, the addition of new rules and regulations and a whole host of tweaks, which have resulted in games generally ending with lower scores. That said, we have seen a few games where teams simply couldn’t stop scoring. One in particular comes to mind and that’s Game 4 of the 2017 Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors in which they scored a combined 253 points. In the first quarter alone, the Cavs would put 49 on the board which in turn led to a Finals-record 86 points in the first half. With LeBron James and Kyrie Irving on the floor, you’d expect no less. Indeed, it was actually Irving that night who was the star of the show, as he posted 40 points on 15-of-26 shooting. Yet, it actually wasn’t enough in the end. Despite that epic game, the Warriors with Steph Curry and Kevin Durant leading the way, won the series in five games.