The top 5 all time greatest scorers in NBA playoff history

Who scored the most points ever in an NBA playoff? They are all professional aces. In the postseason, they all scored more than 25 points per game on average. Everyone has the potential to enter the Hall of Fame. But before you decide on the solution, there are some clear surprises. Richard Russell? Lou Foster? Robert Cousy? Nope. In spite of the team’s league-leading 17 championships, not a single Boston Celtic appears on the list. Wizard Johnson? It’s Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. William Chamberlain? O’Neal Shaquille? Try again. This is not a flashback to the past. You have already seen history in the making this year. 

You can probably predict some of the postseason ballers who scored the most points. Of course, there is the G.O.A.T., but wherein does he stand? Along with two other Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant is a representative. You’d never guess who occupies position two.

5. LeBron James 28.0 PPG, 137 Games

Only during LeBron James’ seven-year stay with the Cleveland Cavaliers did the team reach the playoffs five times over the 15 seasons between 1998–1999 and 2012–2013. In 2003, the Cavaliers were the first to select him out of Saint Vincent-Saint Mary High School in Ohio. Even though James was named Rookie of the Year, it took him two more seasons to lead Cleveland into the postseason. 

James had his finest postseason performance in 2009, averaging 35.3 PPG (51 percent) in 14 games, along with 9.1 RPG, 7.3 APG, and 1.6 SPG. That year, in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Orlando Magic, he scored 49 points, his highest-ever playoff total. He is such a fantastic two-way player who excels in all areas; he may be one of the best the sport has ever had.

4. Kevin Durant 28.63 PPG, 54 Games

Kevin Durant spent one year at Texas before being selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draught (after the Portland Trailblazers—ouch). Although Durant won Rookie of the Year, the Sonics under coach P.J. Carlesimo finished 20-62 and were under threat of leaving Seattle.

He began his second season with Oklahoma City. Again, no luck even though Durant increased his assists and rebounds while maintaining a 25.3 PPG average. The team missed the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. The team made the playoffs in 2009–10 thanks to James Harden (fourth overall in the 2009 draught) and Russell Westbrook (third overall in the 2008 draught). 

Along with his three regular-season scoring championships, “Durantula” has won two in the postseason. He posted averages of 30.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG, and 6.3 APG in the 2013 postseason. He scored 28.6 PPG on average in 2011. But last year, when the Thunder won the West, he had his best postseason. Over the course of 20 games, Durant averaged 28.5 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 1.5 SPG. This year’s Round 1, Game 3 victory over the Houston Rockets included his lowest scoring playoff game (only 41 points).

3. Jerry West 29.13 PPG, 153 Games

Jerry West, a Los Angeles Lakers legend who followed a similar career path to his friend Elgin Baylor, was the “Mr. Outside” to Baylor’s “Mr. Inside” on the court. From 1958–1959 to 1971–1972, Baylor spent 14 seasons as a Laker. He was an 11-time All-Star and a member of 13 postseason teams. West had a total of 14 years with the Laker organisation, from 1960–1961 to 1973–1974; he was an All-Star in each of those seasons, and he qualified for the playoffs 13 times.

Together, they only managed to defeat the Boston Celtics wall six times in the 1972 championship game. West, one of the all-time greats at making clutch shots, was also known by the nicknames “Mr. Clutch” and “Zeke from Cabin Creek.” He was the second West Virginian selected by the Lakers in 1960, behind Oscar Robertson. West scored the most points in the postseason four times, including a 40.6 average in 1965, and averaged over 30 points per playoff game seven times.

In the course of his playoff career, he recorded 40 or more points 16 times, with his highest total coming against the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the 1969 NBA Finals at 53. West is the first player from a losing team to ever win Finals MVP, despite the fact that the Celtics won the series.

2. Allen Iverson 29.73, 71 Games

The 1996 first-round choice out of Georgetown, the 1997 Rookie of the Year, the 2001 MVP, the 11-time All-Star, and the four-time scoring champion merit entry. What else must a player accomplish besides claim a championship? Consider quitting during the postseason. Over eight postseasons, Iverson averaged just under 30 points per game (six with the Philadelphia 76ers and two with Carmelo Anthony’s Denver Nuggets).

Iverson led the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 2001 with a stat line of 32.9 points per game, 6.1 assists per game, over five rebounds per game, and a game-high 2.4 steals. In the playoffs, he averaged over 30 points four times and twice was the team’s top scorer. Iverson’s top performance was a 55-point explosion against the New Orleans Hornets in Game 1 of 2003’s First Round.

1. Michael Jordan 33.45, 179 Games

The best postseason scorer of any generation is also the greatest of all time. He leads in both average (33.45) and overall playoff points (5,987). The only NBA player to average at least 30 PPG in the postseason is Michael Jordan, and he does so by a margin of over three and a half points.  The discrepancy in postseason scoring averages between Allen Iverson and Michael Jordan is 3.72. There are 3.72 places between third and thirteenth on this list. 

He appeared six times in the top 10 postseason games with the most points ever, scoring 40 or more an incredible 38 times in playoff games. Jordan recorded 63 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the 1986 Eastern Conference Finals, which is a record for a player in the postseason. The Bulls shockingly fell 135-131.

1Michael Jordan33.4
2Allen Iverson29.7
3Jerry West29.1
4Kevin Durant28.6
5LeBron James28.0

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