Everybody can score in bunches in the regular season. Well, that's a bit of a reach, but the regular season is far different from the playoffs, as teams have more time to prepare and adjust to try and contain their rivals.
That's why so many great hoopers struggle to make the same impact in the playoffs than the regular season. Add tired legs, bruised bodies and the mental burden of those 82 games and you'll understand what we're talking about.
Still, there are a handful of players that have always saved the best for when it matters the most, guys that thrive when things get difficult and that turn into an untamable beast come playoff time.
Today, we're going to talk about them, letting you know about the top 10 players with the most 40-point games in NBA playoffs history:
Honorable Mention: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (9), James Harden (8)
10. Allen Iverson - 10
Allen Iverson was a fearless scorer. He was always going to try and embarrass the opposing team's best defender with his crafty moves and out-of-this-world handles. He was going to take a beating in the meantime, but he was that tough.
Moreover, Iverson never had much of a second scoring punch on his teams. He did most of his damage on his own, at least in the offensive end. Thus, it's not odd to see him on this list with 10 40+ point games in the playoffs.
9. Hakeem Olajuwon - 11
Hakeem Olajuwon is arguably the most skilled center of all time. He's a big man that would be perfectly suited for modern basketball thanks to his footwork, basketball IQ, and ability to make an impact on both ends of the hardwood.
We all know Hakeem could block shots in bunches, but his offense was way ahead of his time. His dream-shake was just unstoppable and he made it one of the most popular moves in NBA history.
8. Kevin Durant - 11
Kevin Durant is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. He's got the skill set of a shooting guard, the court vision of a point guard and the body of a center, so he's always going to have the upper hand regardless of the matchup.
Moreover, Durant is one of those players that always come huge when their teams need them the most. He's money in the clutch, and he's always been unstoppable in the playoffs. Sadly, he'll always draw heat for leaving the Thunder, despite the fact that he had already outgrown the team.
7. Shaquille O’Neal - 12
Shaquille O'Neal is the most dominant player ever. He could've been the greatest player of all time, but injuries and his careless character reportedly took a toll on his physique towards the final passage of his career.
Shaq could get hot in the blink of an eye. He didn't need much space to operate with, because he was far more skilled than people give him credit for. Yes, he was a physical beast, but also had the smoothest footwork and freakish athleticism.
6. Wilt Chamberlain - 13
Wilt Chamberlain of the Philadelphia Warriors poses in the dressing room after he scored 100 points in a game against the New York Knickerbockers on March 2, 1962.
If we're talking about athletes, Wilt Chamberlain is perhaps the most athletic human being ever. He dominated every single aspect of all games. He did parkour, played volleyball, and the league even had to change some rules to make the game fairer for his rivals.
Still, Chamberlain's lone stain on his legacy could be his lack of playoff success. He dominated all of his opposition in the regular season but doesn't have much silverware to show for it. Actually, 40-points games aren't impressive coming from him. That's how good he was.
5. Kobe Bryant - 13
Kobe Bryant was the greatest competitor ever. He embraced his role as a leader since he became a starter and juts never took the foot of the gas. If he could go for the jugular, you better be sure that he was going to try and finish the job right away.
Kobe was one of the most unstoppable scorers this game has ever seen. Even if he was 0-7, he was going to take seven more shots and make sure his team ended up on top. There will never be another Kobe Bryant.
4. Elgin Baylor - 14
Elgin Baylor has to be one of the most unlucky players in the history of the game. He had one of the most impressive careers in NBA history but was never able to put the cherry on top of the sundae by winning an NBA Championship.
As a matter of fact, the Lakers won the Championship the very next season Baylor was forced to retire due to injury. However, he still went down as one of the most gifted scorers ever, and he made sure to bring his A-game to the playoffs night in and night out.
3. Jerry West - 20
Jerry West was simply unstoppable in the playoffs. As a matter of fact, he's the only player in NBA history to win the Finals MVP award despite being on the losing team, so imagine how incredibly productive he was back in the day.
West averaged 27.0 points and 6.8 assists per game throughout his career but also made it to 5 All-Defensive squads. He was a two-way stud that was going to put his body on the line to lift his Lakers past his rivals. Sadly, he was one of Bill Russell's victims.
2. LeBron James - 27
LeBron James is the chosen one, and he's proven it since day one. He turned the Cleveland Cavaliers into Championship contenders during the early 2000s, led the Miami Heat to a couple of Championships, and then went back home to win the Cavs a ring.
Helpless or not, James hasn't made any excuses come playoff time. He just delivers. And regardless of his losing record in the Finals, you just can't put those losses on him, as he's got one of the highest ppg averages in NBA playoffs history.
1. Michael Jordan - 38
And obviously, there has never been a more unstoppable player than Michael Jordan, the greatest player to ever set foot on an NBA hardwood. That's what's not a surprise to see him once again at the top of one of our lists.
Jordan was a different kind of monster, but he really took it up a notch in the playoffs. That's why he was a perfect 6/6 in the Finals, that's why he's deemed as the best scorer of all time, and that's why no one will ever top him as the best ever.