THE CIRCULAR

NBA: Who is the best scorer in the history of ‘Game 7’?

Picture of a basketball switching a net @Stephen Baker via Unsplash

As the 2022 playoffs put on a great show for basketball fans around the world, we wondered which player finally turned in the most impressive offensive performance in the history of basketball’s most beloved games.

In the world of basketball, the National Basketball Association (NBA) represents the most important basketball scene in the world. The best players from the best teams play all 82 regular season games in order to win as many as possible to reach the most awaited phase every year by basketball fans: the playoffs.

This small annual championship between the most successful NBA franchises of the previous regular season offers every year a huge spectacle, and always more unexpected twists and turns than the others. Each playoff series is played to the best of 7 games, with the first team to 4 wins advancing to the next round. In each series, home-court advantage is awarded to the team with the most wins, regardless of its ranking at the end of the regular season. But in the middle of this show, we find a particular event, a moment where time stops for 48 minutes on the floor. In the event of a 3-3 tie at the end of Game 6, the team with the most games won during the regular season welcomes its opponents on its floor for a final battle in Game 7. A real institution in the basketball world. Called “Win or go Home” on the other side of the Atlantic, these games have always offered the most intense sporting challenge in the NBA.

Because of this format, Game 7s have been the scene of legendary sporting performances. So we wanted to find out which player had the greatest offensive performance in basketball history, while also looking back at a few must-see individual performances.

The angle of the article is based on this tweet, as user generated content

Before looking at the case of the best scorer in the history of the Games 7, how not to return to the 41 points, 22 rebounds and 4 assists recorded by Elgin Baylor in April 1962, under the jersey of the Los Angeles Lakers, all on the floor of their best enemies: the Boston Celtics. Two years later, on April 16, 1964, Wilt Chamberlain, playing for the San Francisco Warriors, scored 39 points, 30 rebounds and delivered 6 assists in a game 7 where he did not leave the court. Many performances would deserve an article by themselves, and the statistical lines of Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Jerry West or Luka Doncic will not be forgotten.

In the middle of all these sports feats, one player managed to score 48 points in a Game 7. Born in Washington in 1988, Kevin Durant is considered as one of the most gifted forwards in the history of basketball and proved it again last season. In a series that was initially dominated by Kevin Durant’s Brooklyn Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks found the chemistry and pushed the right buttons to pull off a Game 7 in Brooklyn. This night, the performances were impressive, Giannis Antetokounmpo led his Bucks perfectly thanks to breathtaking statistics: 40 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists, at more than 62% of field goal percentage. Despite this huge stat line, eyes were turned to a great night’s Kevin Durant. Author of 48 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists, in an overtime game with a crazy scenario, the Nets star player could not finish the job because of only few centimeters. This June 19, 2021, he became the best scorer in history of Games 7. However, a guy like Luka Doncic or Jayson Tatum could break this record tonight.

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