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NBA Playoffs Single-Game Records: Michael Jordan Still Holds The 63-Point Record, Wilt Chamberlain’s 41 Rebounds Won’t Ever Be Repeated

NBA Playoffs Single-Game Records: Michael Jordan Still Holds The 63-Point Record, Wilt Chamberlain’s 41 Rebounds Won’t Ever Be Repeated

The NBA playoffs are starting to ramp up. Officially, the playoffs will start this Saturday once the play-in tournament concludes. The play-in tournament will run from April 12 to April 15 with the seeds to be finalized on April 16. That means that it will be another year of teams looking to make their way to the championship.

Along that way, we could see some records broken. While some records seem out of reach, nothing is impossible if you ask Kevin Garnett. With some great talent in the field, it’s possible we could see some players make a run at putting their name in the record books.

These are the playoff highs in a single game in NBA history.

Points - Michael Jordan - 63 Points

Date: April 20, 1986

On this day, a young Michael Jordan captivated the league in Game 2 of the first-round series against the Boston Celtics. Jordan scored a record of 63 points, a record that still stands today. It was that game that MVP Larry Bird called Jordan the most exciting player in the league, a highlight that still reels today. That season, Jordan became the first player to get 200 steals and 100 blocks in a season. We knew Jordan was destined for greatness despite the Celtics sweeping the Bulls.

In the game, Jordan made 22 of 41 shots from the field and 19 of 21 shots at the free-throw line. Jordan recorded five rebounds, six assists, and three steals. Despite this line, the Bulls were defeated by the Celtics 135-131 in double overtime.

Rebounds - Wilt Chamberlain - 41 Rebounds

Date: April 5, 1967

Chamberlain goes down in history as one of the greatest rebounders in league history. The record for most rebounds in a playoff game came against another great rebounder. Chamberlain recorded 41 rebounds while playing against the great Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics. Chamberlain’s effort helped the Philadelphia 76ers defeat the Celtics to give Philly a 3-0 lead.

Chamberlain recorded 20 points, nine assists, and 41 rebounds. Overall, Chamberlain averaged 29.1 rebounds that postseason when the 76ers won the NBA championship. Unfortunately, offensive and defensive rebounds were not recorded at this time.

Assists - Magic Johnson And John Stockton - 24 Assists

Date: May 17, 1988 (John Stockton)

Date: May 15, 1984 (Magic Johnson)

Recording 24 assists in a game are tough enough. There is a reason that the record has hung around since the 80s. Fans at this time were spoiled because they were lucky enough to see it happen two times in the same decade.

The first time came from Magic Johnson in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals as the Lakers defeated the Phoenix Suns. Johnson scored just six points but was able to help seven other Lakers record double digits. As for Stockton, this happened in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Semifinals. Both Karl Malone and Thurl Bailey teamed up for 58 points, but the Jazz lost 111-109.

Steals - Allen Iverson - 10 Steals

Date: May 13, 1999

Iverson nearly broke the all-time single-game record for steals. That record of 11 was set by Larry Kenon by the Spurs in 1976 and then tied by Kendall Gill with the Nets in 1999. Iverson recorded 33 points to lead the 76ers to a 97-85 victory over the Magic in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Iverson’s overall line of 33 points, 10 steals, five rebounds, five assists, and two blocks helped the 76ers take the Game 3 win.

Iverson was more known for his abundance of scoring, but on this day he was locked in defensively. With that said, Iverson was a fixture among the league leaders in steals. He led the league in steals three times and finished with 1,983 steals in his career, which ranks 15th all-time.

Blocks - Mark Eaton, Hakeem Olajuwon, And Andrew Bynum - 10 Blocks

Date: April 29, 2012 (Andrew Bynum)

Date: April 29, 1990 (Hakeem Olajuwon)

Date: April 26, 1985 (Mark Eaton)

The record is shared by three NBA players. The first person to accomplish this was Mark Eaton. The starting center for the Jazz recorded 10 blocks in a 96-94 loss to the Rockets. It was a record he held by himself for five years. The second player was Hakeem Olajuwon, who is the only player in NBA history to record more than 200 blocks and 200 steals in the same season.

Olajuwon did everything he could defensively but the Rockets came up short to the Lakers 104-100 in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs. Olajuwon had a rare triple-double of points (11), rebounds (11), and blocks (10). As for Bynum, his outing came in the first game of the first round a 103-88 victory against the Denver Nuggets. Bynum had a triple-double of 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks.

Turnovers - James Harden - 12 Turnovers

Date: May 27, 2015

There were two times in Harden’s career that he had a playoff game with at least double-digit turnovers. The time that Harden set the NBA record came at the worst possible time. The Golden State Warriors held a 3-1 lead and could clinch the series in the Western Conference Finals, but Harden had one of the worst games of his career.

Harden had 14 points and 12 turnovers in the 104-90 loss to the Warriors. Harden shot 2 of 11 from the field in 43 minutes of action with six assists. Meanwhile, Steph Curry and Harrison Barnes combined for 50 points.

Most Field-Goals Attempted - Wilt Chamberlain And Rick Barry - 48 FGA

Date: April 18, 1967 (Rick Barry)

Date: March 22, 1962 (Wilt Chamberlain)

Chamberlain set the record the same season he was taking all the shots. The same year he scored 100 points, it should come as no surprise that he nearly took 50 shots in Game 5 of the second round against Syracuse. Chamberlain led the Warriors to a 121-104 win where he scored 56 points and made 22 field goals.

There were five times that Barry attempted at least 40 field goals in a playoff game. Barry tied the record in 1967 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. The San Francisco Warriors were taking on Chamberlain’s 76ers and Barry looked to go point for point. Barry scored 55 points, outsourcing Chamberlain’s 26 points as the Warriors won 130-124.

Most Field-Goals Made - Wilt Chamberlain, John Havlicek, And Michael Jordan - 24 FGM

Date: May 1, 1988 (Michael Jordan)

Date: April 1, 1973 (John Havlicek)

Date: March 14, 1960 (Wilt Chamberlain)

Chamberlain made at least 20 field goals in the playoffs five times. Chamberlain led the Warriors to a 132-112 win over the Nationals on route to scoring 53 points. Thirteen years later John Havlicek tied the record with a 54-point performance where he made 24 of 36 shots in a 134-109 win over the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the semifinals.

The last time that a player made 24 field goals in a game was when Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a 106-101 win in Game 2 of the first round against the Cavaliers. Jordan scored 55 points, making 24 of 45 shots and shooting a perfect 7 of 7 at the free-throw line. Six players scored for the Bulls in total.

Most Three-Point Field-Goals Attempted - Russell Westbrook - 19 3PT Attempted

Date: April 27, 2018

When you look at this record, you would think that Steph Curry, Ray Allen, or Reggie Miller would hold this for their history of shooting behind the arc. At one point, Curry and Allen did own the record with 18 attempts, but one faithful day Westbrook stood alone after he took a record of 19 three-point field goals.

The Thunder were trying to stave off elimination but the Jazz came out victorious 96-91 in Game 6 of the first round. Westbrook finished 7 of 19 from outside on a night where Paul George was 0 of 6. Imagine if one or two shots fell. The series might have stretched to seven games.

Most Three-Point Field-Goals Made - Damian Lillard - 12 3PT Made

Date: June 1, 2021

There are two times in Lillard’s career where he recorded at least 10 made three-point field goals in a game. Last year, Lillard set the record in one of the greatest shooting displays we have ever seen. Lillard shot 12 of 17 from outside, good for 70.6% shooting from three-point range, in a 147-140 loss to the Denver Nuggets in double overtime.

Lillard scored 17 of the team’s 19 points in overtime and set the franchise record for points in a game with 55 points. Despite the record night, Lillard shrugged reporters off after the game because the team lost. Regardless, it was the best outside shooting night since Klay Thompson’s previous record of 11 set in 2016.

Most Free Throws Attempted - Shaquille O’Neal - 39 FTA

Date: June 9, 2000

The Indiana Pacers had a plan in Game 2 of the NBA Finals. The idea of “hack a Shaq” was thoroughly on display as O’Neal went to the free-throw line a record 39 times. It’s been 22 years and a lot of free throws have been taken but we have not seen someone take more attempts since this night.

The plan somewhat worked as O’Neal shot 18 of 39 from the free-throw line, good for 46.2%. With that said, the Lakers won the game 111-104 to take a 2-0 lead. O’Neal still finished with 40 points to lead the Lakers by shooting 11 of 18 from the field. He also had 24 rebounds.

Most Free Throws Made - Bob Cousy - 30 FTM

Date: March 21, 1953

There were two times in Bob Cousy’s career that he made at least 20 free throws in a playoff game. It’s been nearly 70 years since Cousy made 30 free throws in a game, but it was also a special night overall. Cousy made 30 free throws out of 32 attempts to make 93.8% of his shots that night. The 30 points helped him record a team-high 50 points in the 111-105 win over the Syracuse Nationals.

As a team, the Celtics shot 57 of 65 at the free-throw line. Four other players shot perfect at the free-throw line as Ed McCauley, John Mahnken, Bill Sharman, and Bob Harris shot a combined 20 for 20 at the free-throw line. Cousy led the way, who was historically an 80% career free-throw shooter in the regular season.


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