Scoring at a tremendous rate in the NBA Playoffs is surely reserved for some superstars whose performances on the biggest stage turn them into NBA legends. The NBA has seen some of its greatest players put up scoring shows that surpassed the 50-point mark on unforgettable playoff nights, and some highly talented stars were able to do so more than once in the big moments.
With the 2021 NBA Playoffs already going and providing NBA fans with great moments and efforts from star players such as Luka Doncic, we might expect 50-point nights in the upcoming series.
Six players have had more than one 50-point effort in the NBA Playoffs. Here, we will give you five of those. In terms of players with the same number of 50-point playoff outings, we will rank higher the player who achieved it first. Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray was the sixth player to join the list, so he will not be part of this piece.
There have been 42 games in which an NBA player put up 50 points or more, and 27 players did it in their playoff careers.
Without further ado, let us take a look at the five players with the most 50-point efforts in the NBA Playoffs.
#5 Donovan Mitchell
Donovan Mitchell had a great scoring run in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Even though the Utah Jazz fell in the first round against the Denver Nuggets, Mitchell put up a stunning scoring effort that included two 50-point games.
With 57 points in the first game and 51 in the fourth duel of that series against Denver, Mitchell became the third player in NBA Playoffs history to record multiple 50-point games in a single series. Jamal Murray later joined the list, alongside Mitchell, Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson.
#4 Jerry West
A Hall-of-Famer, 14-time All-Star and the NBA logo, Jerry West is simply a basketball legend. Also known as Mr. Clutch, West was an extraordinary performer in the NBA Playoffs. Though his LA Lakers often ran into Bill Russell's Boston Celtics in the 1960s, he won an NBA championship in 1972 and also won the 1969 Finals MVP award, the only player to earn it on the losing side.
West averaged 29.1 points per game in his NBA Playoffs career, and though his teams had a 1-8 record in the NBA Finals, West was great in the postseason.
West is fourth on our list with two 50-point games in his playoff career. His first came in Game 2 of the 1965 Western Division Finals against the Baltimore Bullets, with 52. West's other 50-point games in the NBA Playoffs came in the 1969 NBA Finals, with 53 points in Game 1 against the Boston Celtics.
#3 Allen Iverson
Though Allen Iverson is easily among the greatest players to never win an NBA championship, he was a great performer in the postseason, and put up some iconic scoring nights on the league's biggest stage.
Iverson, a Hall-of-Famer, 11-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion, was usually big in the postseason. He guided the Philadelphia 76ers to the 2001 Finals after his stunning MVP season, and also had three 50-point outings in the postseason.
The first two came in the 2001 playoffs, against the Toronto Raptors in the East semis. Iverson had a 54-point outing in Game 2, and then scored 52 points in Game 5, guiding the 76ers to a 33-point victory.
His third and final 50-point game in the NBA Playoffs came against the New Orleans Hornets in 2003, when Iverson scored a playoff career-high 55 points after making 21 of his 32 shots.
#2 Wilt Chamberlain
Scoring and Wilt Chamberlain will always go hand in hand when reviewing NBA history. This time, Wilt is among the leaders for the most 50-point games in the NBA Playoffs, as he had four such games throughout his postseason career.
A two-time NBA champion, four-time MVP winner, Finals MVP winner and 10-time All-NBA player, Wilt Chamberlain is the owner of most scoring records in league history.
In the NBA Playoffs, he was not able to translate his dominance into collective success as often as his rival Bill Russell did with the Celtics. Still, Chamberlain won a couple of titles and also had four playoff games with at least 50 points.
Wilt's 50-point games in the playoffs came between 1960 and 1964. His first playoff game with at least 50 points came on March 14th, 1960, against the Syracuse Nationals (53 points) in the Eastern Division Semis.
Chamberlain scored 50 against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Division Finals, eight days after his first 50-point effort in the NBA Playoffs. Chamberlain's career-high in the NBA Playoffs came on March 22nd, 1962, with 56 points versus Syracuse in the East semis' Game 1.
The fourth playoff game of Wilt's career with at least 50 points happened on April 10th, 1964, when he scored 50 points for the San Francisco Warriors against the St. Louis Hawks.
#1 Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest player in NBA history, had a record eight games with at least 50 points throughout his career in the NBA Playoffs. The six-time champion and six-time Finals MVP with the Chicago Bulls was often a glorious performer in the postseason.
Jordan's first game of at least 50 points in the NBA Playoffs was his legendary 63-point effort at the Boston Garden in 1986, which remains a record in the postseason.
His eighth and final 50-point outing in the NBA Playoffs came in 1997 against the Washington Bullets, with 55 points in Game 2 of the first round.
Jordan, the all-time leader in career average of points per game in the regular season with 30.1, averaged a record 33.4 in the NBA Playoffs to lead both scoring tables.