A Quick Guide to Essential NBA Finals Records

UPDATED 2015

Welcome back to Peculiar Side of Sports.  Every so often something in sports perplexes me, and I just hate not knowing something.  So, I do what any normal, sane sports fan does – I search ad nauseam for the answer by any means necessary.  The good news is that I take all my hard work and relay the results to you.  If you are a fan of Sports History, check out the other articles I have written – “Sports History” covering virtually all major sports.

With the NBA Championships well underway, I thought it would be the perfect to have a look at some records.  This is not to be considered a definitive guide to every Championships record, it will reflect the 13 I feel are special in some way, whether having legendary status or because they have flown under the radar.

Without further ado, I give you today’s Peculiar Side of Sports.

Danny Green – Spurs – Most 3-pointers in one series:  It took San Antonio Spurs’ Danny Green just five games to surpass Ray Allen’s 2010 mark of 22 3-pointers in a series (set in 7 games), as he finished the series with 27.

Ray Allen – Most 3-pointers in one game:  In game 2 of the 2010 series mentioned above, Ray Allen made eight 3-pointers.

San Antonio Spurs – Most 3-pointers in one game by a team:  In addition to Green’s records of most 3’s in a series and in one game, his Spurs broke the record by hitting a combined 16 3-pointers against the Heat.

Elgin Baylor – Lakers – Most points in one game:  In 1962, the Lakers travelled to Beantown to battle the Celtics.  It was a night where the phenomenal Elgin Baylor sunk more than 20 field goals en route to leading his Lakers to the win.  He tallied 61 points and is the only player to break the 60-point mark – Michael Jordan and Rick Barry came closest with 55 a-piece.  Surprisingly, only two player have even broken the 40-point threshold since 2000 – Allen Iverson and Shaquille O’Neal (the latter did it three times).

Michael Jordan – Bulls – Highest points per game in a series: In 1993 Michael Jordan was at the height of his glory.  He averaged 41.0 points per game over the 6 game series with the Phoenix Suns, leading his Bulls to a three peat of NBA Championships.  Jordan was brilliant in the series, never scoring under 30 points in any game.  Jordan, of course, would take home the NBA Finals MVP trophy, but more on that later.

Bill Russell – Celtics – Most rebounds in one game:  In the 1960 finals, Bill Russell owned the glass – big time.  In a game against St. Louis, one of the game’s legends stole 40 rebounds in one game on March 29.  While he repeated the 40-rebound performance against the Lakers two years later, he needed overtime to do so, whereas against St. Louis it was accomplished in regular time.  I believe this record is virtually untouchable.

Magic Johnson – Lakers – Most assists in one game: The date was June 3rd, 1984, the site was Los Angeles at the Great Western Forum, the opponent was Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics.  Johnson vs Bird, the Lakers vs the Celtics, this was the matchup that defined the NBA in the 1980s.  In 1984 the two players were meeting for the first time in the NBA final.  In game 3 Magic had a night for the ages, with 21 assists, added to 14 points and 11 rebounds for a triple double.  It was nights like this that showed what Magic and the Showtime Lakers were all about, quick ball movement leading to easy baskets.  Johnson would lead the Lakers to a game 3 win, but Bird would have his revenge, winning the series in 7.

LA Lakers and Boston Celtics – Most assists in one game combined:  On June 4, 1987, two of the NBA’s heavyweights clashed, as Boston travelled to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.  In what was an offensive war, the two teams combined for an astounding 79 assists.  The Lakers had 44, while the Celtics added 35.

Robert Horry – Houston – Most steals in one game:  Only two days after Kenny Smith set the record for 3-pointers in a game for Houston, his teammate, Robert Horry, broke the record the most steals in one game with 7.  The Rockets would dismantle the Orlando Magic in the series, and win the NBA title.

Dwight Howard – Orlando – Most blocked shots in one game:  In game 4 of the 2009 finals Dwight Howard became a blocking machine, picking up 9 against the Lakers.  Unfortunately the Lakers would win the game 99-91 in OT, giving them a 3-1 series lead.  They would take the series in 5 games.

 Elgin Baylor – LA and Rick Barry – SF – Most field goals in one game:   On April 14, 1962, LA’s Elgin Baylor set the mark for most field goals in one game with 22, as his team went into Boston and won.  Rick Barry, who played for San Francisco at the time, equalled the mark at home against Philadelphia only 5 years later on April 18, 1967.

Michael Jordan – Chicago Bulls – Most Finals MVP Awards: Six trips to the finals, 6 NBA Championships, and 6 Finals MVPs.  This was the dominance of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls of the 1990s.  Yes, guys like Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, Steve Kerr, John Paxson, Horace Grant and a host of others each contributed to those championships along the way, but Michael was special, and the undisputed best player in the NBA in the 90s.  Is he the GOAT? The case can and has certainly been made many times, and will be again.  His NBA Finals record, and all the MVPs he won is certainly a check in his favour.

Chicago Bulls – Largest margin of victory in one game:  As nice a team as the Utah Jazz were, they were completely dominated by the Chicago Bulls in 1998.  In a game on June 7 of that year, the Jordan-led Bulls crushed the Jazz by 42 points, a mark that still stands today as the most lob-sided victory in NBA Championships history.

 

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