What constitutes a blowout?

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Published: December 5, 2008

I stumbled across the following tidbit in a random blog recently:

11/28/1992:
Scoring 57 points in only 38 minutes, Reggie Miller hits 16 of 29 from the field and 21 of 23 at the foul line as he leads the Indiana Pacers to a 134-122 rout of the Charlotte Hornets at the Hive.

It seemed odd to me that the writer would refer to a 12-point win as a rout. It got me wondering, exactly how many points do you have to beat a team by for it to be considered a rout or a blowout? Is that designation solely dependent on the final score, or should the entire game flow factor into it?

Take the Hornets’ November 15 game in Houston as an example. We were down by as much as 17 in the second quarter, and trailed by the same margin entering the fourth. But we end the game on a 14-7 run, capped by David West’s triple on the final possession. Final score: Hornets 82, Rockets 91. Did we get blown out?

For the other extreme, consider the Hornets’ November 22 win over the visiting Thunder. OKC led for a stretch during the second quarter, never fell behind by more than 10 in the second half, and managed to close within 5 with less than six minutes remaining in the fourth. Final score: Hornets 109, Thunder 97. Did they get blown out?

Is considering a game a rout/blowout entirely subjective, or is there some definition we can all agree on?

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