The NBA Finals is the most high-profile contest in basketball, in which players receive the opportunity to win the coveted NBA championship. Over the years, we have been treated to jaw-dropping performances in the Finals from some of the league’s superstars.
Points win games, and several players who are adept at getting on the scoreboard have graced the sport since its inception. With the NBA Finals acting as a showdown between two champions from the Eastern and Western Conferences, witnessing 40-point games on occasion should hardly come as a surprise.
The 2021 NBA Finals have been spectacular so far, as players from both teams have had record-breaking outings. Giannis Antetokounmpo registered back-to-back 40+ points in Games 2 and 3, joining the players mentioned on this list. However, what is more notable was him joining Shaquille O’Neal on a more exclusive list of back-to-back 40+ points and 10+ rebounds games in the NBA Finals.
Meanwhile, Devin Booker and Khris Middleton took center stage in Game 4 to sign their names into the record books. Both players registered 40+ points to join superstars like Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant on the list.
While several players have managed to register one or two of their 40-point games in the NBA Finals, only a handful have done the same consistently.
Here are the top five players with the most 40-point games in the NBA Finals.
#5 Elgin Baylor, 4
Elgin Baylor played for the LA Lakers for 14 seasons from 1958-1971. In that time, he made the NBA Finals eight times but failed to win the championship.
Baylor holds the record for the most points scored in an NBA Finals. During a 126-121 Game 5 win against the Boston Celtics in 1962, he registered 61 points and 22 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes of the game. His four 40+ point games were all against the Boston Celtics.
Elgin Baylor scored an NBA Finals record 61 points in Game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Celtics. He added 22 rebounds while playing all 48 minutes.https://t.co/MP4P7pKc2q— NBA (@NBA) March 23, 2021
Baylor’s retirement was forced through injury, causing him to miss the Lakers’ 1972 championship run. The Lakers awarded him a ring regardless, even though he did not feature in any of the NBA Finals games.
#4 Shaquille O’Neal, 5
Shaquille O’Neal recorded five 40-point games during his 19-year career. Despite winning a championship with the Miami Heat, his greatest run in the NBA Finals came with the LA Lakers from 2000 to 2002.
O’Neal’s partnership with Kobe Bryant created a superteam in the NBA, one that was the NBA Finalist from 2000 to 2002. Not only did he deliver the trophy to the Lakers, he also incredibly won the Finals MVP on all three occasions.
As mentioned earlier, O’Neal was the first player to record back-to-back 40+ points and 10+ rebounds. He achieved this in Games 1 and 2 of the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers.