What was the NBA like the last time a playoff game went to quadruple overtime?

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports

The Denver Nuggets and Portland Trial Blazers made history on Friday night, becoming just the second playoff game in NBA history to go to four overtimes.

The Blazers beat the Nuggets 140-137 in the seemingly never-ending game at the Moda Center, thanks to a go-ahead 3-pointer from Rodney Hood in the final seconds. It was a game that stole the attention of the NBA world — at least those who were awake to see it, and rightfully so.

After all, it had been 65 years since an NBA playoff game went to four overtimes. The first and only other occurrence was in 1953, when the Boston Celtics beat the Syracuse Nationals 111-105.

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At that time, the NBA — and the world — was a very different place.

The NBA had just 10 teams

The NBA had just 10 teams in the 1952-53 season, and only two of those teams are still in existence in the same city.

The Nuggets and Blazers became the first NBA playoff game in 65 years to go to quadruple overtime. Back in 1953, the NBA was a totally different place. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
The Nuggets and Blazers became the first NBA playoff game in 65 years to go to quadruple overtime. Back in 1953, the NBA was a totally different place. (Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

The New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Syracuse Nationals, Baltimore Bullets and Philadelphia Warriors made up the Eastern Division. The Minneapolis Lakers, Rochester Royals, Fort Wayne Pistons, Indianapolis Olympians and Milwaukee Hawks made up the Western Division.

Minneapolis beat the Knicks 4-1 in the NBA Finals that season for their second straight title, and were led by center George Mikan.

The NBA had yet to introduce the shot clock to its game in 1953, and didn’t add the 3-point line until 1979. The number of teams in the league fluctuated for more than a decade after the 1953 season, and didn’t hit 12 teams until the 1967-68 season.

Philadelphia’s Neil Johnston led the league in scoring with 22.3 points per game. Bob Cousy of the Celtics led the league in assists at 7.7 per game, and Mikan led in rebounding with 14.4 per game. Monk Meineke of the Fort Wayne Pistons was the Rookie of the Year.

George Mikan, right, six-foot, ten-inch center for the Minneapolis Lakers, goes way up to make a goal as New York Knickerbockers' six-foot, seven-inch center Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (8) makes an unsuccessful attempt to defend on April 8, 1953 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. (AP Photo)
George Mikan, right, six-foot, ten-inch center for the Minneapolis Lakers, goes way up to make a goal as New York Knickerbockers' six-foot, seven-inch center Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (8) makes an unsuccessful attempt to defend on April 8, 1953 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. (AP Photo)

President Eisenhower became the 34th President

Just like the NBA, the United States looked very different in 1953.

Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as the 34th President of the United States in January that year. Gas cost roughly $0.29 per gallon in 1953, via USA Today. The top song on the Billboard Top 100 chart that year was “Percy Faith” from Moulin Rouge. The country was nearing the end of the Korean War as the NBA season was wrapping up that year, and both Alaska and Hawaii had yet to become official states.

The rest of the sports world was a totally different place, too. There were 12 teams in the National Football League that year, though the first Super Bowl wasn’t held until more than a decade later. The Detroit Lions beat the Cleveland Browns 17-16 in the championship that year.

The New York Yankees beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series that year, too, though there were just 16 teams in Major League Baseball at that time.

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