Basketball

Players with the most 50-point games in NBA playoff history

Jimmy Butler recently became the first NBA playoff player to reach 50 points. In Game 4 of the Heat vs. Bucks series, “Playoff Jimmy” came out in full force and put on a masterful final-quarter performance to complete an incredible comeback. Butler seized over when it counted most, even with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the mix.  Butler scored 56 points on 19-28 shooting, surpassing his previous playoff record of 47 points, and made all the crucial plays in the closing minutes. Since there were three 50-point games in the playoffs in 2021—two in the first round and one in the NBA Finals—this was the first one.

While Damian Lillard scored 55 points in a Trail Blazers extra-time loss to the Nuggets in the first round, Jayson Tatum scored 50 points to lead the Celtics to their lone victory in a first-round series with the Nets. Most notably, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 50 points in the Bucks’ decisive Game 6 victory over the Suns to claim the NBA title. While Lillard had previously scored 50 points in a playoff game, Antetokounmpo and Tatum had never before reached that mark. Who has scored 50 points the most times in an NBA playoff? And what are the NBA Playoffs’ highest-scoring postseason performances ever?

Highest scoring players in NBA Playoffs history

Jimmy Butler sets a new record. In a playoff game, only three individuals have ever scored more than Butler. 

RankPlayerPoints
1Michael Jordan63
2Elgin Baylor61
3Donovan Mitchell57
T-4.Jimmy Butler56
T-4.Charles Barkley56
T-4.Michael Jordan56
T-4.Wilt Chamberlain56
T-8.Damian Lillard55
T-8.Allen Iverson55
T-8.Michael Jordan55 (3 times)

With 63 points against the Celtics in 1986, Jordan’s playoff game holds the record for most scoring. The maximum number of points ever registered in the NBA Finals was 61, scored by Elgin Baylor, who also holds the record for the highest-scoring playoff game. Against the Celtics in 1962, Baylor accomplished the feat. Most recently, in the 2020 NBA “Bubble” in Disney World, Donovan Mitchell exploded for 57 points against the Utah Jazz.

Players with most 50 or more points in NBA Playoffs history

RankPlayerNo. of 50-point games
1Michael Jordan8
2Wilt Chamberlain4
3Allen Iverson3
T-4.Jamal Murray2
T-4.Donovan Mitchell2
T-4.Damian Lillard2
T-4.Jerry West2
T-8.19 players tied1
T-8.Allen Iverson55
T-8.Michael Jordan55 (3 times)

With eight 50-point playoff games, Michael Jordan has the most of any player in NBA history, two more than Wilt Chamberlain, who is the next closest player. Allen Iverson, Jamal Murray, Donovan Mitchell, Damian Lillard, and Jerry West are the only other players with more than two postseason games with 50 points each, joining that exclusive group of two.

19 players have at least one playoff game with 50 points after that. The list is shown below:

  1. Jimmy Butler
  2. Giannis Antetokounmpo
  3. Jayson Tatum
  4. Kevin Durant
  5. LeBron James
  6. Isaiah Thomas
  7. Russell Westbrook
  8. Ray Allen
  9. Dirk Nowitzki
  10. Kobe Bryant
  11. Vince Carter
  12. Karl Malone
  13. Charles Barkley
  14. Sleepy Floyd
  15. Dominique Wilkins
  16. Bob McAdoo
  17. John Havlicek
  18. Billy Cunningham
  19. Rick Barry.

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