5 Best NBA Comebacks In 21st Century

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There is nothing like a good comeback in NBA games. After going through a tight spot, seeing your favorite team make a remarkable comeback is the sweetest satisfaction you can get as an NBA fan.

Over the years, there have been numerous great games, and we have also seen some great comebacks. So it begs the question, which is the best NBA comeback in the 21st Century?

To answer the question, we have come up with this list.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (Source: Mavmoneyball.com)

The game is not over until the last buzzer rings. It is undoubtedly true in the case of NBA games. One moment you might think a team is getting the head start before the other team makes a comeback which completely changes the game’s tide.

Here we look at five of the best NBA comebacks of the 21st Century. Let’s take a look at these five epic moments of comebacks in NBA history. Now without further delay, let us get into the details!

Quick Overview

Before we get into the intricate details, let us peek at the overall ranking of the list.

Game Year
5. Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: 29 points 2008
4. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks: 29 points 1977
3. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks: 30 points 2002
2. Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls: 35 points 2009
1. Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets: 36 points 1996

5 Best NBA Comebacks In 21stCenturyy

We have prepared the list with the help of references from sites like Sportskeeda

5. Dallas Mavericks vs. Minnesota Timberwolves: 29 points

The first game we are looking back on is the 2008 faceoff between the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves. While Mavericks were looking to make a return to center stage, Timberwolves were recovering from the departure of Kevin Garnett.

The Timberwolves led the game early in the third quarter by 70-41. However, the Mavericks started making their comeback. Jason Terry scored 12 points as the Mavericks opened the fourth period by outscoring the Timberwolves 22-7.

Similarly, AJ Jefferson scored 21, Ryan Gomes 19, and Randy Foye scored 18 for the Timberwolves. The team led 27-20 after the first quarter and quickly built their lead into double digits.

Minnesota Timberwolves
Minnesota Timberwolves (Source: Twin Cities)

The Mavericks managed to make a remarkable comeback. With five more minutes left, they were able to outdo the Timberwolves led by Jason Terry. Jefferson hit two free throws that extended the team’s lead to 60-35, capping a 20-5 run.

The Dallas Mavericks, who were on the verge of losing the game on their home court, made a remarkable comeback against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

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4. Milwaukee Bucks vs. Atlanta Hawks: 29 points

Our 4th best NBA comeback goes to one of the least documented games held in 1977 between the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. With 29 points on the road in Atlanta, it was about nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks had quite a rock season post-Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era. They had their first head coach changed and were in and out of the playoffs. It was not going great for Atlanta, as they were suffering from even more inconsistencies.

Atlanta Hawks, 1977
Atlanta Hawks, 1977 (Source: Fadeawayworld)

Atlanta had a solid third-quarter run and had outscored the Bucks by 40-21. And just when they thought the game was in the back, the Bucks did something impossible.

Led by Junior Bridgeman with 24 points, the Bucks went on to post a 35-4 run to end the game and get a two-point victory. 

3. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Dallas Mavericks: 30 points

Our third-best NBA comeback of the 21st Century goes to the 2002 game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks.

The Lakers had the Black Mamba on their roster but had a tough start to the 2002-2003 season. Meanwhile, Shaquille O’Neal was suffering from an injured toe.

The Mavericks, on the other hand, had a terrific start to the season. They had only lost one game in their 18 games, and Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were the team’s star players.

As expected, the Mavericks were able to get an early lead in the first quarter. But as the game progressed, Black Mamba struck and took control of the game before the fourth quarter.

Shaq Kobe 2002 Lakers Vs.
Shaq & Kobe 2002 Lakers Vs. Mavericks Comeback (Source: Twitter)

The Lakers managed to cut the lead from 30 to 27 before the fourth quarter. Similarly, Bryant recorded a perfect quarter and made all his shots. Furthermore, he pulled off the game-winning shot with 8.4 seconds left on the clock.

The star of the game was undoubtedly Kobe Bryant. He outscored all the Dallas players with his 21 points. It is one of the greatest comebacks, and the Lakers pulled 105-103 to the Mavericks.

2. Sacramento Kings vs. Chicago Bulls: 35 points

The 2009 game between the Sacramento Kings and the Chicago Bulls take our second pick for the best NBA comeback. The Sacramento Kings had a mediocre start, but this game was the turning point of their season.

The Chicago Bulls had led the game by 79-44 with 8:50 left in the third quarter. However, the Kings managed to get the 52-17 run, and the score was tied with less than two minutes to go.

Tyreke Evans from the Kings outscored the Bulls 9-3 over the final 2:13 and finished with 23 points for the King. It was the first two-game winning streak since late in the 2007-08 season.

Sacramento Kings celebrating
Sacramento Kings Celebrating (Source: Brightspotcdn)

The Kings, after finishing the third quarter with a 19-5 run to make it 88-69, Ime Udoka scored 15 of the team’s following 22 points in the fourth quarter. Thanks to Evan, he pulled off an incredible comeback in the game.

The game went to the Sacramento Kings and ended with a 102-98. The game is, therefore, considered one of the best NBA comebacks of the 21st Century.

NBA has a history of 75 years, and currently, there are 30 teams in the league. Click here to read about the 12 best teams in NBA history post-1970 era!

1. Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets: 36 points

The number 1 best NBA comebacks of the 21st Century goes to the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets game in 1996. The game was held at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Nuggets had just hired a new coach, Dick Motta, a day before and parted ways with Dikembe Mutombo and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf.

Despite the difficult situation, the Nuggets had taken over the lead with 70-34 with 20 seconds left in the first half. But soon enough, the recent changes in the team had taken its toll.

Utah Jazz, 1996
Utah Jazz, 1996 (Source: Deseret News)

Led by Karl Malone and Jeff Hornacek, the Jazz turned the game’s tide. Malone scored 19 points and tied the game by the 4:41 mark in the fourth quarter. Additionally, Malone led all scorers with 31 scores.

With 29 seconds to go and down two points, a bad pass from Nuggets’ Mark Jackson helped the Jazz make their most remarkable comeback and win the game. The Jazz won the game 107-103.

There has been no other match that has matched the Utah Jazz’s best comeback of 1996. It is undoubtedly the biggest comeback of the 21st Century.


There are times when the NBA teams have pulled off fantastic comeback games. These are the moments that give a thrill to the audience and make for a great match.

Since there have been many great NBA game moments, which moment do you think is the best comeback of the 21st Century? Do you know of any other great comeback games? Do let us know!

Also, Read About the 12 Best Teams in NBA History

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Boby Rai
Boby Raihttps://playersbio.com/

Boby Rai

Boby Rai is a dedicated writer who specializes in capturing the essence of sporting excellence through his unique lens. As the creative mind behind numerous sports-centric projects, he brings a fresh perspective to the world of athletics, blending insightful commentary with captivating narratives.


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Armed with a passion for sports and a gift for storytelling, Boby has honed his craft through years of immersive experiences in the field. With a keen eye for detail and an unwavering commitment to authenticity, he continues to inspire and inform readers through his thought-provoking work.

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