The NBA playoffs have been graced by legendary basketball players throughout the years. Fans have witnessed jaw-dropping, high-scoring performances that have left an indelible mark on the sport. In this article, we’ll take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most astounding scoring games in the history of the NBA playoffs.
- Michael Jordan’s 63-point game (1986)
To kick off our list, let’s start with the inimitable Michael Jordan. In 1986, Jordan put on a show for the ages when he scored a staggering 63 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs. This performance still stands as the highest-scoring game in NBA playoff history. While the Chicago Bulls ultimately lost the game, Jordan’s phenomenal display left an indelible mark on the league.
- Elgin Baylor’s 61-point game (1962)
Elgin Baylor, one of the NBA’s early superstars, held the record for the most points scored in a playoff game for 24 years before Jordan broke it. During Game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals, Baylor scored 61 points for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics. His record-setting performance helped the Lakers secure a crucial victory in the series.
- LeBron James’ 51-point game (2018)
LeBron James has had a plethora of memorable playoff performances throughout his storied career. However, one of his most iconic outings came in the 2018 NBA Finals. In Game 1, LeBron scored 51 points against the Golden State Warriors, carrying the Cleveland Cavaliers on his back. Despite his valiant effort, the Cavaliers lost in overtime, but LeBron’s performance remains etched in the annals of NBA playoff history.
- Allen Iverson’s 48-point game (2001)
In the 2001 NBA Finals, Allen Iverson put on a SCINTILLATING performance for the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Iverson, known for his incredible scoring prowess, notched 48 points and led the 76ers to an unexpected victory. Although the Lakers eventually won the series, Iverson’s performance remains an unforgettable moment in NBA playoff history.
- Charles Barkley’s 56-point game (1994)
Charles Barkley, the larger-than-life power forward, had one of the most extraordinary scoring games in NBA playoff history in 1994. Playing for the Phoenix Suns, Barkley erupted for 56 points against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the first round. His dominant performance helped the Suns sweep the series, and Barkley’s legendary status was further cemented in NBA lore.
- Wilt Chamberlain’s 50-point game (1964)
No list of great scoring performances would be complete without mentioning Wilt Chamberlain. In the 1964 NBA playoffs, Chamberlain, playing for the San Francisco Warriors, scored 50 points against the St. Louis Hawks. Although the Warriors eventually lost the series, Chamberlain’s 50-point outing is still remembered as one of the greatest scoring feats in NBA playoff history.
As we look back on these remarkable performances, it’s evident that the NBA playoffs have been home to some of the most memorable high-scoring games ever witnessed. The passion, intensity, and skill displayed by these legendary players have not only entertained millions of fans but also inspired countless young athletes to pursue their dreams on the court. Let’s continue our journey through NBA playoff history by revisiting a few more unforgettable scoring games.
- Dirk Nowitzki’s 50-point game (2006)
Dirk Nowitzki, the iconic power forward from Germany, had an incredible playoff run in 2006 with the Dallas Mavericks. In Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Nowitzki scored 50 points, leading the Mavericks to a crucial victory. This performance helped propel Dallas to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
- Jerry West’s 53-point game (1969)
Jerry West, the NBA logo himself, was known for his exceptional scoring ability. In the 1969 NBA Finals, West scored an incredible 53 points for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Boston Celtics in Game 1. Despite losing the series, West’s legendary performance earned him the unique distinction of being the only player to win the NBA Finals MVP award from a losing team.
- Kevin Durant’s 49-point game (2021)
Kevin Durant, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, had a sensational performance in Game 5 of the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. Playing for the Brooklyn Nets against the Milwaukee Bucks, Durant scored 49 points, grabbed 17 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists, carrying his injury-riddled team to an impressive win. Durant’s heroics showcased his dominance as one of the greatest players in the league.
- Damian Lillard’s 55-point game (2021)
Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers’ superstar point guard, had an unforgettable game in the 2021 NBA playoffs. In Game 5 of the first round against the Denver Nuggets, Lillard erupted for 55 points and hit an NBA playoff record 12 three-pointers. Despite losing the game in double overtime, Lillard’s phenomenal performance will be remembered as one of the most electrifying in NBA playoff history.
These astounding scoring games have helped shape the narrative of the NBA playoffs and solidified the legacies of the players who achieved them. As we continue to watch and enjoy the excitement of the NBA playoffs, we can only wonder who the next player will be to etch their name in the annals of basketball history with an unforgettable high-scoring performance.