Psychologists can spend hours and write hundreds of pages discussing what it is that draws us to a particular sport. But surely one of the most compelling factors is the element of surprise. Just when you think you know what’s going to happen or that a given result is inevitable, you can have the rug pulled from under your feet.
Expecting the unexpected has become an increasingly important aspect of being a sports fan with the growing popularity of sports betting. That applies to the NFL, MLB and NHL as much as to the NBA. But if you are a devotee of basketball betting, then you’ll always be on the lookout for a potential upset. The following examples, though, are games where even the biggest gambler might have thought twice before laying down a dollar or two. Let’s countdown the three most astonishing comebacks in league history
3Third place: Utah Jazz 101 – 93 Chicago Bulls
Home advantage didn’t seem to be counting for much. The Jazz found themselves with a 22 point deficit at the end of the first quarter, and this escalated to 31 in the second, thanks to an on-fire Michael Jordan who contributed 40 points. However, the home team showed no sign of even considering letting their heads drop. Karl Malone scored 30 and John Stockton chipped in with 17 more, as the Jazz clawed their way back to ultimately win by eight.
2Second place: Chicago Bulls 102 – 98 Sacramento Kings
On February 04 1998, the Bulls visited the Jazz in what transpired to be a preview of that season’s NBA Finals. Of course, that ended up going the way of the Bulls, and this game appeared to be going in the same direction.
The Bulls are known as many things, but chokers is surely not one of them. However, just 10 months after their bizarre game against the Jazz, they were on the wrong side of another astonishing turnaround. Leading 67-43 at the break, the advantage was stretched to a full 35 points in the third.
However, for the fourth quarter, it was Sacramento all the way, and Bulls fans could only look on in horror as Tyreke Evan led a fightback that nobody could possibly have predicted, and the visitors left the Bulls shell shocked and the losers by four points
1First place: Utah Jazz 107 – 103 Denver Nuggets
The biggest ever comeback in the history of the NBA? Once again it took place at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, back in 1996 when it was known as the Delta Center. The Jazz got off to the worst possible start, finding themselves 70-36 behind at the break. That deficit stretched to 36 points before the most remarkable momentum swing in basketball history.
The Jazz steadily found their feet, outscoring the Nuggets by 36 to 15 in the third and by 35 to 18 in the fourth. Karl Malone and Jeff Hornacek contributed a combined 60 points on a magical night that saw them steal the game by just four points.