The NBA playoffs is where the best players make their name and fame while solidifying themselves as the best to ever do it. It is very rare for players to play at their best in the postseason and only the special elite do this consistently. The reason is that the playoffs bring a unique level of pressure and expectations that the regular season doesn't have.
Looking over at some of the performances of superstar players, there are a handful of playoff records that will stand the test of time. It is very unlikely that these 15 playoff records will ever be broken, and it is time to list them all while the 2021 NBA playoffs are going on.
15. Most Steals In A Single Game
10 by Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic on May 13, 1999
Allen Iverson recorded an unbelievable amount of steals against the Orlando Magic in 1999. Mainly known as an unstoppable scorer, Iverson was also a pest in the passing lanes and the 23-year old guard averaged 2.3 SPG during the regular season.
It is almost a guarantee that no player will put up double-digit steals as the lightning-quick Iverson did in his third NBA season.
14. Most Turnovers In A Single Game
12 by James Harden, Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors on May 27, 2015
James Harden is one of the best shooting guards to have ever played, but the stigma of him not performing in the playoffs during his career doesn't seem to be going away. The Beard's record of 12 turnovers in 2015 against his nemesis the Warriors is quite an astonishing feat.
Even with the high usage rates of the best players in the modern game, it is likely Harden's rather forgettable record won't be broken anytime soon.
13. Most Offensive Rebounds In A Single Game
15 by Moses Malone, Houston Rockets vs. Washington Bullets on April 21, 1977 (OT)
Moses Malone is one of the greatest big men ever and also arguably the best offensive rebounder in history. Moses once grabbed an unbelievable 15 offensive rebounds against the Bullets in 1977, which is unsurprising considering the other records Moses broke. Malone also has the top-2 records of most offensive rebounds in a single regular-season game with 21 and 19 on two separate occasions, so clearly this is his greatest skill.
12. Most Assists In A Quarter
11 by John Stockton, Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs on May 5, 1994
John Stockton is the all-time leader in total assists, so it is no surprise to see him on top of an assist record in the playoffs. Still, dishing out double-digit assists in a single quarter is video game-like and it goes to show the basketball IQ of Stockton to get easy shots for his teammates. Of course, this record is a testament to Karl Malone's greatness because the duo was an unstoppable offensive force together.
11. Most Free Throw Attempts In A Single Half
28 by DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets on May 10, 2015 (10/28)
DeAndre Jordan shoots a career 47.5% from the stripe so clearly, he is an atrocious free-throw shooter. That was the mindset of the Houston Rockets in the 2015 matchup where they employed a "Hack a Jordan" strategy in the first half to slow the game down and encourage missed possessions. It worked on paper as Jordan made 10 out of 28, but the Clippers still won the game in the end.
10. Highest Points Per Game Average
46.3 by Jerry West, Los Angeles Lakers (vs. Baltimore Bullets), 1965
Jerry West is one of the best scorers in NBA history because his lightning-quick jumper was an unstoppable asset to his near-perfect offensive game. West averaged an astonishing 46.3 PPG for the Lakers against the Bullets in 1965, a statistic that will never be broken. West's scoring was the reason the Lakers took down the Bullets in the Division Finals and The Logo will have this unbreakable record etched by his name forever.
9. Most 50 Point Games In Playoffs Career
8 by Michael Jordan
The greatest scorer of all time, Jordan holds the record for most 50-point games with 8. Jordan went 6-2 overall in those games and never shot below 50% in any single performance. It is absolutely astonishing these statistics are real, especially when considering Jordan dropped 63 points and 56 points in 2 out of those 8 games. There will never be another Michael Jordan and he will be appearing on this list again.
8. Most Free Throws Made In A Single Game
30 by Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics vs. Syracuse Nationals on March 21, 1953 (4 OT) (30/32)
The legendary Boston Celtics point guard once made 30 out of 32 free throws in a single game. Cousey shot a career 80.3% from the stripe and was a solid shooter, but nailing 30 foul shots is truly extraordinary. It is nearly impossible for any player to get 30 attempts let alone to make 30 shots, so this record will be Cousey's for the foreseeable future.
7. Most Points In A Half
39 by Sleepy Floyd, Golden State Warriors vs. Los Angeles Lakers on May 10, 1987
Eric Augustus "Sleepy" Floyd holds the most points in a single half in the playoffs with 39. The explosive guard singlehandedly led the Golden State Warriors over the Showtime Lakers with a dominant second-half performance where he made 12 field goals and scored 29 in the fourth quarter.
Even more impressive was that Floyd made 12 out of 13 total shots, claiming the rim looked "wide open" and that he couldn't miss. That kind of scoring performance will most likely never happen again in the playoffs.
6. Most Minutes In A Single Game
67 by Red Rocha and Paul Seymour, Syracuse Nationals at Boston Celtics on March 21, 1953 (4 OT)
We are in the era of extended rest and time off for superstar players opting for load management. But that is not the case when the playoffs arrive and it certainly wasn't the case in the 1950s. Red Rocha and Paul Seymour played a whopping 67 minutes in a single playoff game that went 4 overtimes in 1953. The next most in Philadelphia 76ers history were 58 by Wilt Chamberlain and then 53 by Allen Iverson, which goes to show the City of Brotherly Love's Rocha and Seymour will hold this record forever.
5. Most Points In A Playoff Game
63 by Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls at Boston Celtics on April 20, 1986 (2 OT)
It is not surprising to see the GOAT Michael Jordan appear on this list again, as one of the best postseason performers in the history of the NBA. Jordan once dropped 63 points on Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in stunning fashion, which led to Bird making blasphemous comments about Jordan's humanity.
Even when Jordan shot 22-41 from the field, the Bulls fell to the Celtics in the end in what would be a key defining moment in Jordan's incredible career.
4. Most Free Throw Attempts In A Single Game
39 by Shaquille O'Neal, Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers on June 9, 2000 (18/39)
Shaquille O'Neal was a dominant player but even he will admit his free throw shooting is the most embarrassing part of his game. As great as Shaq was, he could never quite get his free throws to fall that often. That led to opponents constantly hacking him in the paint, because giving away 1 point was always better than a guaranteed 2.
Shaq took 39 free throws against the Indiana Pacers in 2000, making less than 50%. It didn't matter that season because Shaq and the Lakers won the NBA title anyways.
3. Most Rebounds In A Single Game
41 by Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics on April 5, 1967
Wilt Chamberlain is on every single records list that involves basketball because he owns a ton of unbreakable records. Wilt's size, athleticism, and dominance in the paint led him to grab 41 rebounds against the Celtics in 1967. No player will come close to this record, because 25-rebound games are already rare as they come. There will never be anybody like Wilt again and his record will stand the test of time.
2. Most Career Playoff Minutes
10,811 Minutes by LeBron James
There is no way any player will play the number of games and minutes that LeBron has over their career. LeBron is a one-of-a-kind athlete who is arguably the most fortunate player ever to not have experienced any major injuries. LeBron has been a machine since his first year, playing heavy minutes during the regular season and playoffs. With a total of 10,811 minutes and counting, no player comes close to The King (second is Tim Duncan with 9370 minutes) and no one ever will.
1. Total Playoff Points Over A Career
7,509 Points by LeBron James
We will never see a superstar with the longevity and consistency of LeBron James again. We saw how Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can remain healthy and consistent for so long, but James plays the role of a ball-handler and yet is still the best player in the game. James shattered Michael Jordan's record of most playoff points in 2017 (5,987 points) and he hasn't looked back since. There will never be a player like LeBron James again and that means his total playoff scoring record will never be broken.