Tapp-ing into the Numbers: NBA Finals stats potpourri

BY JERRY TAPP

The 2016-17 NBA season ended Monday night with the Golden State Warriors winning their second title in three years. Let’s close the book on this season with a few stats from the Finals:

  1. The Warriors became the 14th team in league history to lose an NBA Finals one season and then win the title the following year, the fifth time it has happened in the last nine years. Here’s a look at the 14 teams:

Team                                     Year lost title         Year won title
Syracuse                               1954                            1955
St. Louis Hawks                  1957                            1958
Boston                                   1958                            1959
New York Knicks                1972                            1973
Seattle                                   1978                            1979
Philadelphia                         1982                           1983
L.A. Lakers                           1984                           1985
Boston                                   1985                            1986
Detroit                                   1988                           1989
L.A. Lakers                           2008                          2009
Miami                                    2011                            2012
San Antonio                         2013                           2014
Cleveland                              2015                            2016
Golden State                         2016                           2017

Of the 13 teams that did this prior to Golden State this year, six made it back to the NBA Finals the next year with four winning the title again and two losing in the finals. Seven of the 13 did not make the NBA Finals the following season.

 

  1. LeBron James had 44 points in the Game Five loss on June 12. It was the third time James scored 40 or more points in an NBA Finals where his team lost. Jerry West holds the record with four games of 40+ points in the NBA Finals in a defeat. Here are the 11 players who have scored 40 or more points in an NBA Finals in a loss:

4: Jerry West
3: LeBron James
2: Rick Barry, Michael Jordan
1: Charles Barkley, Julius Erving, John Havlicek, Shaquille O’Neal, Isiah Thomas, Russell Westbrook, James Worthy

If we drop the points down to 30 in an NBA Finals game, West still leads this category with 12 games. James is now in sole possession of second place on this list with seven games in the NBA Finals where he scored 30 or more points in a loss. Jordan and O’Neal follow with six games each.

Six players have scored 30 or more points in an NBA Finals game (win or loss), led by West with 24. He is followed by Jordan with 23, LeBron with 18, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaq with 16, and Kobe Bryant with 13. Of these six players, James has the worst record in games where he scored 30 or more points in an NBA Finals… his teams are 11-7 (.611 winning percentage) when he scores 30 or more in a finals contest.

 

  1. Golden State rookie Patrick MaCaw did not see a lot of playing time in the NBA Finals this year, but he did score six points in Game Five. By doing so, he became the 13th player under the age of 22 to score six or more points in an NBA Finals game in NBA history. The last player under the age of 22 to score six or more points in an NBA Finals game was San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard in 2013. He had five such games in the 2013 NBA Finals. Here’s the 13 players under the age of 22 who have scored six or more points in an NBA Finals game:

Alvan Adams, Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Darryl Dawkins, Johnny Davis, Jordan Farmar, Daniel Gibson, Richard Jefferson, Magic Johnson, Cory Joseph, Kawhi Leonard, Patrcik MaCaw and Tony Parker

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