These are the biggest comebacks in NBA history

Anthony Davis

No lead is safe in the NBA. 

The league’s current pace of play, dependence on the three-point shot and lengthy unanswered runs, can quickly turn a 30-point game into a nailbiter. Teams chip away to make the game interesting, but they rarely go on to complete the comeback. 

Entering Sunday, NBA teams this season were a combined 0-138 when trailing by 27 or more points. That losing streak came to an end thanks to LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. 

They overcame a 27-point deficit against the Dallas Mavericks for a 111-108 win in what was the biggest comeback in the NBA this season and the Lakers’ largest rally in 21 years.

Los Angeles missed its first 14 three-point attempts of the game as they were outscored 30-0 from deep midway through the second quarter. That included a three by Christian Wood that increased the Dallas lead to 48-21 with 7:06 left in the half. Out of a Lakers timeout, Troy Brown Jr. hit the team’s first three of the game, sparking the comeback as the Lakers pulled within 14 at the end of the second quarter. 


A 12-0 run in the third cut the deficit to five, helping Los Angeles make it a one-possession game entering the fourth. James opened the quarter with a game-tying three and, on the Lakers’ next possession, converted a layup to give Los Angeles an 83-81 lead. The final quarter featured 13 lead changes, the last of which was a putback dunk by Davis that put the Lakers up for good.

As large as the Lakers’ rally was, it didn’t quite crack the league’s top 10 comebacks of all-time.   

Here’s a look at all of the 30-plus point comeback wins in NBA history.

What are the biggest comebacks in NBA regular-season history?

Only eight times in NBA history has a team rallied from a 30-plus point deficit to win a game. 

The Utah Jazz’s 36-point turnaround against the Nuggets in November 1996 has never been matched nor bested. Utah trailed the Nuggets 70-34 at home in the final minute of the first half. But, led by Karl Malone and Jeff Hornacek, the Jazz outscored the Nuggets 71-33 in the second half for a 107-103 win.

The Los Angeles Clippers nearly topped that record last season when they orchestrated a 35-point comeback win against the Washington Wizards, erasing what was a 66-31 late second-half deficit. That comeback, which included a late go-ahead four-point play by Luke Kennard, tied for the second-biggest rally for a victory in NBA history with the Sacramento Kings

In a December 2009 game against the Bulls in Chicago, Sacramento overcame a 35-point second-half deficit to win 102-98. The Kings trailed 79-44 a few minutes into the third quarter and were down 19 entering the fourth. But a 33-10 advantage in the final quarter helped Tyreke Evans and Co. stun the Derrick Rose-led Bulls.


There has only been one 30-plus point comeback win in NBA playoff history. The Los Angeles Clippers rallied from a 31-point deficit against the Golden State Warriors in Game 2 of the first round in 2019, erasing what had been a 94-63 lead with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter.

Here’s a complete look at the largest comebacks in NBA history.

1. Utah Jazz: 36 points vs. Denver Nuggets (1996)

T-2. Los Angeles Clippers: 35 points vs. Washington Wizards (2022)

T-2. Sacramento Kings: 35 points vs. Chicago Bulls (2009)

4. Boston Celtics: 32 points vs. San Antonio Spurs (2021)

5. Los Angeles Clippers: 31 points vs. Golden State Warriors (2019 postseason)

T-5. Golden State Warriors: 31 points vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1975)

7. Toronto Raptors: 30 points vs. Dallas Mavericks (2019)

T-7. Los Angeles Lakers: 30 points vs. Dallas Mavericks (2002)