While some NBA records will awe you because they are impressive, there are lesser-known records that will leave you scratching your heads because you wouldn’t think that these statistics would even be possible in the NBA.

For example, who would expect that the NBA’s lowest-scoring game would register a combined score of fewer than 40 points. Or that the biggest winning margin in the NBA is more than 60 points. And would you believe that an NBA player averaged more than 48 minutes per game during an entire NBA season? We’re not kidding. So buckle up and take a look at these NBA records that will surprise you.

Basketball 1. Lowest Scoring NBA Game

The NBA that we know of is one where teams regularly score 30 points in a single quarter. However, during the early years of the league, there was no 24-second shot clock and teams could hold on to the ball for as long as they want. Before the small ball existed, there was stall-ball. Haha.

On November 22, 1950, the Pistons defeated the Lakers in the worst scoring display in the history of the NBA. The Pistons did not have the talent to compete with the Lakers so coach Murray Mendenhall ordered his team to stall the ball by passing the ball around instead of going for baskets. Larry Foust’s basket with six seconds left gave the Pistons a 19-18 win over the Lakers. Check out this ridiculous boxscore.

Basketball 2. Longest NBA Game

The longest NBA game happened on January 6, 1951, when the Rochester Royals played the Indianapolis Olympians. The game took six overtimes to finish and despite playing for a total of 78 minutes of basketball, the final score was 75-73 in favor of the Olympians. The game was an offensive struggle for both squads as they finished regulation time with a score of 65-65. The overtime periods though were worse.

The teams combined to score only four total points in the first four overtimes, and they went scoreless during the second and fourth extra periods. There was an offensive explosion during the fifth overtime when the teams combined to score a total of eight points. Haha. Indianapolis scored the only basket of the sixth overtime to finally end the longest game in NBA history.

Basketball 3. Worst Record to Qualify for the Playoffs

NBA teams who played best during the regular season are rewarded with going to the playoffs and getting a chance to win the NBA title. Well, that’s what usually happens in the league. But during the NBA’s early years, there were only a few teams around and so there were teams that made the postseason despite having very bad records. However, one team stood out from the rest.

The 1952-53 Baltimore Bullets had a 16-54 record and still made the playoffs. That’s right, a team with a winning percentage of 22.9% made it to an NBA postseason. There were only 10 teams in the NBA at that time and the league was split into two divisions with five teams each. Four teams per division advanced to the playoffs so that explains why the Bullets made the playoffs.

Basketball 4. Most Assists in a Single Half

Bob Cousy was the Magic Johnson before Magic arrived. He was the John Stockton before Stockton came. Known as the Houdini of the Hardwood, he was known for his dazzling passes and brilliant plays. In 1959, the Boston Celtics dropped 173 points on the Minneapolis Lakers and set the record for most points scored by a team in a single game. Well, the Celtics scored that much that night because Bob Cousy was dropping dimes.

Cousy scored 31 points in the game but it was his 28 assists that lit up the Boston offense. Although 28 is no longer the single-game assist record, Cousy’s 19 assists in a single half still stands up to this date. He out-assisted the entire Minneapolis team by a total of 13 dimes. That’s ridiculous.

Basketball 5. Most Minutes Played per Game in One Season

An NBA game is composed of four 12-minute quarters or 48 minutes. The best NBA players today play within 30-36 minutes per game. But the NBA record for most minutes played per game in one NBA season is 48.5 minutes per game. What? That’s more than the number of minutes for a regular NBA game.

During the 1961-62 season, Wilt Chamberlain averaged 50.4 points and 27.2 rebounds per game which are his career highs. I mean it was the most productive season of Chamberlain’s career and it was the year when he scored 100 points against the New York Knicks. That season, Wilt played in five overtime games, a double-overtime game against the Knicks, and a triple OT game against the Lakers. When all was said and done, he averaged 48.5 minutes of playing time per game. Incredible!

Basketball 6. Most Minutes Played in a Single Game

One of the longest games in the history of the NBA happened on November 9, 1989, when the Seattle SuperSonics and Milwaukee Bucks needed five extra periods to decide a winner. During that game, sharpshooter Dale Ellis scored 53 points while playing in a total of 69 game minutes, the most by a player in one game in the history of the NBA.

If you do the math, Ellis played in all but four minutes of that long game. Xavier McDaniel tried to help Ellis win the game for the Sonics as he played in a total of 68 minutes. However, their efforts went for naught as the Bucks won the game 155-154 with Jay Humphries playing a total of 62 minutes himself for the winning team.

Basketball 7. Most Games Played in a Single Season

The modern NBA season has a total of 82 games and while there are a handful of players who can play every game during an NBA season, the physical demands of the game have prevented many from playing in all 82 games during one NBA year. Some players miss a huge part of the season due to injury while most suffer minor injuries and miss a game or two. The record for most games played n a single season is 88 games. But how?

When a player is traded to a team that has played a fewer number of games, there is a chance that he will play more than 82 games in a single season. That’s what happened to Walt Bellamy during the 1968-69 season when he played 35 games for the New York Knicks and then he was traded to the Detroit Pistons who had played six fewer games than the Knicks during the trade. Bellamy averaged 18.8 points and 13.5 rebounds per game that year but it was his 88 games played that made it memorable.

Basketball 8. Most Blocks per Game in a Single Season

If you watched the NBA during the 1980s, you know Mark Eaton. Eaton was a 7-4 center who won two Defensive Player of the Year awards because of his shot-blocking ability. Eaton holds the record for most blocks in a single season when he swatted away a total of 456 shots during the 1984-85 season. He played in 82 games that year, giving him a ridiculous average of 5.6 blocks per game.

Sure, you will argue that Bill Russell or Wilt Chamberlain would’ve topped that record if shot blocks were recorded during the NBA’s earlier days. But when it comes to records, no one has ever averaged at least five blocks per game during an NBA season except Eaton. Manute Bol came closest at 4.96 blocks per game during the 1986 season.

Basketball 9. Most Fouls by a Single Team in One Game

You would’ve thought that the most fouls committed by a team in a single game would come from a game where Shaquille O’Neal played for the opposing squad. Shaq was a pretty bad foul shooter that teams employed the hack-a-Shaq strategy during his heyday. However, the record was set by the Utah Jazz in 1990 against the Phoenix Suns.

The Jazz were whistled for a total of 52 fouls during a 115-119 loss to the Suns. John Stockton, Thurl Bailey, Bobby Hansen, and Eric Johnson all fouled out while Karl Malone and Blue Edwards each had five fouls. Mark Eaton, Darrell Griffith, Mike Brown, and Delaney Rudd also had four fouls each, making referees Tommy Nunez, Hue Hollins, and Blane Reichelt earn their paychecks that night.

Basketball 10. Biggest Winning Margin in an NBA Game

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 148-80 in the most lopsided win in the history of the NBA. On December 17, 1991, the Cavs led the Heat by only 10 points at the end of the first quarter and were up by 20 at the half. However, Cleveland outscored Miami by a total of 48 points in the second quarter with the Heat scoring only a total of 27 points in the final two-quarters of action.

Mark Price and John Battle each scored 18 points for the Cavs who had eight players scoring in double digits and another three with at least seven points. Steve Smith led the Heat with 15 points while Kevin Edwards was the only other Heat player to score in double figures for Miami.

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