Special Report

Longest Games in Sports History

Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

5. Chicago Bulls vs. Atlanta Hawks
> Length: 68 minutes (4OT)
> Date: Mar. 1, 2019
> Score, winner: 168-161, Chicago

The March 2019 game between Chicago and Atlanta was a shootout in regulation, as both teams racked up 124 points in the first 48 minutes. Zach LaVine paced the Bulls with 47 points, while Atlanta’s Trae Young led all scorers with 49. Chicago finally got the edge in the fourth overtime, winning 168-161. The game is one of the highest scoring contests of all time.

Source: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

4. Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks
> Length: 68 minutes (4OT)
> Date: Jan. 29, 2017
> Score, winner: 142-139, Atlanta

This Hawks-Knicks matchup from 2017 was an all-time nail-biter that kept going thanks to some late-game heroics. Carmelo Anthony laid it in with three seconds left in regulation to tie the game and send it to overtime. Melo did it again in the first OT, nailing a fadeaway jumper with seven seconds left to tie the game at 113. The Knicks relied on a Courtney Lee 3-pointer with two seconds left to survive 2OT but ran out of gas in the fourth overtime. Atlanta was able to hold New York scoreless for most of the final overtime period, edging them out 142-139.

Source: Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

3. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Seattle SuperSonics
> Length: 73 minutes (5OT)
> Date: Nov. 9, 1989
> Score, winner: 155-154, Milwaukee

This early season matchup between the Bucks and SuperSonics may have been one of the most exhausting games in sports history. Three different players played over a full hour of game time — the typical NBA game lasts just 48 minutes. Dale Ellis was the game’s best player, scoring 53 points, including 14-17 shooting from the free throw line. By the time it was over, this contest became one of just 14 games in NBA history in which both teams scored at least 150 points.

Source: Dave Payton / Wikimedia Commons

2. Syracuse Nationals vs. Anderson Packers
> Length: 73 minutes (5OT)
> Date: Nov. 24, 1949
> Score, winner: 125-123, Syracuse

The first quintuple-overtime game in NBA history had a very balanced scoring attack from both teams. The Anderson Packers, from Indiana, had seven players in double figures, while the Nationals had six. The Nationals would finally gain the edge in the fifth extra period, winning 125-123. The Packers franchise folded after the season, while the Nationals became the Philadelphia 76ers in 1963.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

1. Indianapolis Olympians vs. Rochester Royals
> Length: 78 minutes (6OT)
> Date: Jan. 6, 1951
> Score, winner: 75-73, Indianapolis

The longest game in NBA history was a defensive struggle, to say the least. The Indianapolis Olympians and Rochester Royals were tied at 65 at the end of regulation, but they struggled to score any points in overtime. Both teams were shut out in the second and fourth overtime periods and could manage just two points apiece in the first and third, and four points each in the fifth OT. Finally, in the sixth overtime, the Royals were totally shut out, while the Olympians scored two — enough to secure the victory in the longest NBA game ever.

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