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NBA Players With The Most 30-Point Games In The NBA Finals

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NBA Players With The Most 30-Point Games In The NBA Finals

On every championship team, you have the guys that play their roles at an elite level. There are your guards whose job it is to orchestrate the team at an efficient level and control the pace of play. You have your defensive specialists whose job it is to either be the first line of defense on the perimeter or to protect the rim at all costs. Of course, there are exceptions that do both. Then, you have your team leaders. These guys are usually the ones you turn to in a game or series’ biggest moments and say go get me a bucket or go get me a stop on defense. They are the ones who, on the game’s biggest stage, will stop at nothing to deliver their team a championship by any means necessary. Those are the types of players we will be discussing today.

The players below are the game’s greatest scorers in the NBA Finals. They are the ones who showed up biggest at the biggest moments and, whether win or lose, can hold their heads high in the effort. From the beginning of the series to its final whistle, these 10 players gave their all to raking up enough points to keep their teams in the hunt for a championship. Some of these guys delivered while others came up short. Either way, the offensive numbers are staggering when you take a deeper look at it. That is exactly the conversation we bring to you with this list.

Here are the 10 NBA players with the most 30-point games in the NBA Finals

10. Kevin Durant - 9 Games (15 Total Games)

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant has made 4 Finals appearances in his career and has an overall record of 2-2 in those series. He made his first Finals appearance in 2013 when he led the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Finals vs. LeBron James and the Miami Heat. The Thunder would fall in 5 games, with Kevin Durant averaging 30.6 PPG on 54.8% shooting. In the 2013 Finals, Durant recorded 3 of his 9 career 30-point games in the Finals.

Durant next appeared in the Finals 3 straight seasons with the Golden State Warriors from 2017 to 2019. He won back-to-back Finals MVP awards for his performances in 2017 and 2018, scoring less than 30 points just 3 times. He appeared in one game for 12 minutes in 2019 before tearing his Achilles. In 10 Finals games with the Warriors, Durant averaged 30.2 PPG on 47.6% shooting from three and 54.5% overall.

9. Kobe Bryant - 13 Games (37 Total Games)

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant played 20 years in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and made 7 Finals appearances along the way. The Lakers were victorious on 5 of those 7 trips, with Bryant grabbing 2 Finals MVP Awards in 2009 and 2010. Bryant and the Lakers made 3 straight trips from 2000 to 2002. In those 14 games, Bryant recorded a 30-point game just 3 times. He would record 2 more of his 30-point Finals games in a 2008 loss vs. the Boston Celtics and one in a 2004 loss vs. the Detroit Pistons as well.

Where Bryant did most of his scoring damage in the NBA Finals was in the 2009 and 2010 Finals vs. the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics. Bryant recorded 4 30-point games in 2009 against the Orlando Magic and was named Finals MVP with an average of 32.4 PPG. He would record his final 3 30-point games in the Finals in a 2010 victory over the Boston Celtics. He would once again be named MVP with a scoring average of 28.6 PPG.

T-7. Bob Pettit - 14 Games (25 Total Games)

Bob Pettit

Bob Pettit appeared in 4 different Finals series in his career with the St. Louis Hawks. Coincidentally, all 25 Finals games that Pettit played came against the Boston Celtics. The Hawks went 1-3 in the Finals during Pettit’s tenure with the team. They appeared in the 1957 Finals, a series that went 7 games and saw Pettit average 30.1 PPG for the series. The Hawks fell short in Game 7, 125-123, despite 39 points and 19 rebounds from Pettit. Their lone championship came in 1958. The series with the Celtics went 6 games and saw Pettit record 4 games of 30 points or more, including a 50-point game to close it out.

The Hawks would again appear in the NBA Finals with Pettit in back-to-back seasons in 1960 and 1961. The series went 7 games for the 2nd time between the Hawks and the Celtics, with the Celtics grabbing the Game 7 win this time, 122-103. Pettit recorded 2 30-point games and averaged 25.7 PPG for the series. The following season in the NBA Finals, the series went just 5 games, this time between the Celtics and Hawks with the Celtics putting away St. Louis. Pettit recorded 3 more 30-point games and averaged 28.4 PPG for the series.

T-7. Stephen Curry - 14 Games (34 Total Games)

Stephen Curry

Since 2015, Stephen Curry has appeared in 6 Finals appearances out of 8 seasons. He has been the driving force behind 4 championships in 8 years for the Golden State Warriors while becoming the greatest shooter and one of the greatest point guards of all time. In his first Finals appearance in 2015, Curry recorded just one 30-point game in the 6-game series victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers and averaged 26.0 PPG. The following season saw Stephen Curry and the Warriors blow a 3-1 lead to the Cavs and lose the Finals in 7 games. Curry dropped just 2 30-point games and averaged 22.6 PPG for the series. 

The following 3 seasons saw the Warriors make the Finals 3 straight seasons. The first 2 series were victories over the Cleveland Cavaliers, with Kevin Durant grabbing both Finals MVP awards. In 2017, Curry had two more 30-point games and averaged 26.8 PPG for the series. In 2018, he recorded two 30-point games in a 4-game sweep and averaged 27.5 PPG. The 2022 Finals was Curry’s best Finals yet and saw him claim his first Final MVP award with 4 30-point games and an average of 31.2 PPG in the 6-game series win over the Celtics. Overall, Curry averages 27.3 PPG on 39.5% shooting from three and 43.2% overall.

T-5. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 16 Games (56 Total Games)

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

During his long and historic career, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared in 10 different NBA Finals in his career. In his 56 total games, Kareem and his team went 29-27 in those games. Kareem amassed 6 championships and 2 Finals appearances across those 10 Finals series. He won one championship with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971 and the other 5 came as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. In his one championship with the Bucks in 1971, Kareem recorded just one 30-point game and averaged 27.0 PPG and 18.5 RPG. In his one series loss with the Bucks in 1974, he recorded 5 30-point games and averaged 32.6 PPG and 12.1 RPG.

With the Lakers, Kareem appeared in 8 NBA Finals and won 5 championships with a Finals MVP in 1985. In that series, he recorded 2 30-point games and averaged 25.7 PPG. In the 1980 NBA Finals, Kareem and the Lakers met up with Julius Erving and the Philadelphia 76ers. Kareem would go crazy for the Lakers, recording 4 30-point games in the first 5 of the series before going down with an injury. Magic Johnson would fill his shoes admirably and take Finals MVP from Kareem. In those 5 games, Kareem averaged 33.4 PPG, 13.6 RPG, and 4.6 BPG.

T-5. Shaquille O’Neal - 16 Games (30 Total Games)

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal appeared in a total of 6 NBA Finals series during his career. He made those Finals appearances as a member of three different teams and would take home 4 championships and 3 Finals MVP awards in his career. Shaq’s first Finals appearance was a learning experience as the Orlando Magic would be swept by Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets. Shaq would record one 30-point game in the series. The next 3 Finals appearances would be the most dominant stretch of his career.

Shaq would lead the Los Angeles Lakers to 3 straight NBA Finals from 2000-2002. Shaq would appear in a total of 20 Finals games with the Lakers and record 15 30-point games. In 2000, Shaq recorded 6 30-points games with 3 40-point games against the Indiana Pacers. The Lakers would take the series in 6 games with 38.0 PPG and a Finals MVP from Shaq. In 2001, the Lakers met up with the 76ers. The Lakers would win the series in 5 games behind 3 30-point games from Shaq and an average of 33.0 PPG. In 2002, Shaq and the Lakers faced off with the New Jersey Nets. Shaq and the Lakers swept the Nets with O’Neal's 3rd straight Finals MVP performance. He recorded a 30-point game in each of the 4 games of the series and averaged 36.3 PPG.

4. Elgin Baylor - 19 Games (44 Total Games)

Elgin Baylor

Elgin Baylor appeared in 7 different Finals series’ during his career with the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately for Baylor, he was never able to help the Lakers win the championship, going 0-7 in NBA Finals series. In 44 games in the Finals total, Baylor averaged 26.4 PPG and 13.5 RPG. His best stretch of scoring came in both the 1962 and 1963 NBA Finals. Between those 2 series, Baylor played in 13 games and scored 30 points or more in 12 of them.

In the 1962 NBA Finals, Baylor and the Lakers faced off against the Boston Celtics. Baylor was incredible in this series as it would go all the way to 7 games to be decided. The biggest performance for Baylor came in Game 5. Baylor went for 61 points and 22 rebounds on 22/46 shooting. In Game 7, he scored 41 points and grabbed another 22 rebounds but the Lakers fell 110-107. In the 1963 Finals, it would be the Lakers and Celtics once again, but this time the Celtics would win in 6 games. Baylor went for 30 points or more in 5 of the 6 games and averaged 33.8 PPG for the series.

3. LeBron James - 22 Games (55 Total Games)

LeBron James

LeBron James has appeared in 10 NBA Finals in his 19-year NBA career and won 4 championships with 3 different teams. He has played a total of 55 Finals games and averaged 28.4 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 7.8 APG in those games. LeBron first appeared in 2007 for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He then led the Miami Heat to 4 straight Finals appearances from 2011-2014. The Heat would win 2 championships while dropping 2 series to the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs. He then led the Cavs back to the Finals every season from 2015-2018 and then led the Lakers to a championship in 2020 as well.

LeBron James recorded zero 30-point games in his first Finals appearance with the Cavs in 2007. He would also record zero 30-point games in 2011 with the Heat against Dallas. LeBron would record his first two 30-point Finals games in 2012 when he led the Heat to the NBA title with James winning Finals MVP with 28.6 PPG. He would record 5 30-point games in his final 12 Finals games with the Heat. LeBron’s most memorable Finals series is the 2016 3-1 comeback over the Golden State Warriors. In that series, LeBron would record 3 30-point performances, including back-to-back 41-point games in Games 5 and 6. In the 2020 Finals, James had 2 games of 30 or more points while winning his 4th ring and 4th Finals MVP.

2. Michael Jordan - 23 Games (35 Finals Games)

Michael Jordan

How fitting is it that Michael Jordan had 23 Finals games with 30 points or more? What is amazing about this stat is that in 6 Finals appearances with 6 wins and 6 Finals MVP awards, Jordan played just 35 total games in the Finals. Not only did Jordan have 23 games with 30 or more points, but he also averaged over 30.0 PPG in 5 of 6 Finals wins. The one series he did not was the 1996 NBA Finals against the Seattle SuperSonics when he averaged 27.3 PPG.

Perhaps Jordan’s most impressive Finals series was in 1993 against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns. MJ took care of the Suns in 6 games behind some of the most relentless scoring the NBA Finals had ever seen. Michael not only had 6 30-point games, but he also had 4 40-point games and a 50-point game in Game 4. He averaged 41.0 PPG for the series. Jordan’s next highest scoring Finals series was the year before in 1992 against the Portland Trail Blazers. Jordan recorded 30 or more points in 5 of the 6 games, including a Game 5 that saw him drop 46 points on 60.9% shooting to turn the series in Chicago’s favor. In 35 total Finals games, Michael Jordan averages 33.6 PPG.

1. Jerry West - 31 Games (55 Total Games)

Jerry West

Jerry West played in 9 total NBA Finals series in his career. West had very little luck when it came to taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the Lakers. West amasses a less than ideal 1-8 record in those 9 series and went 22-33 in his 55 total games. However, West was able to average 30.5 PPG over those 55 games and is one of the greatest Finals performers ever. He is also the only player in NBA history to win an NBA Finals MVP award as a member of the losing team and his scoring had everything to do with his selection.

West took home the inaugural Finals MVP award in 1969 even though his Lakers dropped the series in 7 games. He averaged 37.9 PPG for the series and dropped a 30-point game in 5 of the 7 games. He had 53 points in Game 1 and 40-point games in Games 2, 4, and 7. In 6 of the 9 NBA Finals that Jerry West participated in, he averaged 30.0 PPG or more 6 times. By the time his Lakers were able to claim the NBA championship, he wasn’t the same scorer he once was. He averaged just 19.8 PPG with 0 30-point games in the Finals the Lakers won in 5 games over the New York Knicks. Jerry West Holds the 3rd highest PPG in the NBA Finals for a career with 30.5 PPG. 


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