Throwback to When Denver Nuggets Handed the Worst Playoff Defeat to New Orleans Hornets

On April 27, 2009, the Denver Nuggets showed no mercy against the New Orleans Hornets as they pulled off one of the most Dominant Playoff Victories in the history of the NBA.

Published on May 15, 2024  |  07:49 PM IST |  35.4K
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

The NBA Playoffs are where the most deserving teams from the regular season fight it out to determine who advances to the next round with their heads held high. 

It is that time of the year that elicits fond memories of some of the most memorable games with clutch heroics. Whether Reggie Miller’s eight points in nine seconds or Robert Horry’s last-second clutch three, the Playoffs compel players and teams to exceed expectations and create history.

But in 2009, fans witnessed a playoff game that went completely against the competitive spirit of basketball and can be best described as an embarrassment to the sport. It was a playoff game so bad that if the NBA decided to erase it from history, the basketball community wouldn’t even bat an eye. 

Of course, we are going to talk about the Denver Nuggets’ historic one-sided dominance of the New Orleans Hornets in Game 4 of the 2009 WC first round. 

A ‘Mismatch’ made in Playoff Heaven

The stage was set; the Hornets, led by star point guard Chris Paul, went up against the visiting Denver Nuggets, featuring the dynamic Carmelo Anthony and former champion Chauncy Billups. 


Trailing 2-1 in the series, the Hornets entered Game 4 with newfound confidence after beating the Nuggets 95-93 in their previous matchup. Though coach Byron Scott expected his team to defy the odds and tie the series, his expectations took an embarrassing hit much before the final whistle went off. 


The Nuggets dominated from the opening tip. Their fast-paced offensive scoring slowly overwhelmed the Hornets, who struggled to find much-needed momentum. With a 21-point lead in hand after the first quarter, the Nuggets starters, led by Melo and Billups, began pouring in points at will.   

By Halftime, the situation was dire for New Orleans as Denver held a commanding lead. They needed to pull off one of the most memorable comebacks in playoff history to even come close to winning the one-sided slugfest. But as the second half went about, that hope also died down.

A 58-point Blowout    

The crowd at New Orleans Arena witnessed offensive execution as the Nuggets scored freely in the paint from the perimeter and shared the ball unselfishly. The humiliation was unavoidable with the final game buzzer as they walked off the court both mentally exhausted and conquered, with the final score being 121-63.  

This near-60-point defeat tied the Atlanta Hawks (then St. Louis Hawks) 58-point loss to the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1956 Division Semifinals for the biggest blowout. 

Adding insult to injury, in the thirty-five years preceding this game, no team lost a home playoff game by even 40 points. Between 1955 and 2009, the 17 field goals scored tied with the Miami Heat for the fewest buckets scored in a regular season or playoff game. 

In retrospect, this loss serves as a lesson on how NOT to play competitive basketball. The demolition of the New Orleans Hornets by the Denver Nuggets remains a not-so-remarkable chapter in NBA history, a throwback to when one team’s brilliance met another team’s despair. 

ALSO READ: Alex Rodriguez Praises Nuggets Before Revealing Why Timberwolves Are Successful

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