Did you see Kevin Durant last night? If you didn’t, go back and watch the tape. Legend status. In one of the biggest games of his career, the MVP overcame a slow start to post one of those statlines (39 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, five three-pointers and two blocks) you can’t turn away from. Yet as great as KD was, that performance probably doesn’t come close to the best we’ve ever seen.
On the cusp of the Western Conference Finals, I broke down ten of the greatest individual games in NBA Playoff history.
Wilt Chamberlain, 1962 Eastern Conference Semifinals
56 points, 35 rebounds
Shaquille O’Neal, 2000 NBA Finals, Game 1
43 points, 21-of-31 FG, 19 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks
Tim Duncan, 2003 NBA Finals, Game 1
32 points, 11-of-17 FG, 20 rebounds, 6 assists, 7 blocks, 3 steals
Dirk Nowitzki, 2011 Western Conference Finals, Game 1
48 points, 12-of-15 FG, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 6 blocks
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 1974 Western Conference Finals, Game 2
44 points, 20-of-29 FG, 21 rebounds
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10. Charles Barkley
1994 Western Conference First Round, Game 3
56 points, 23-of-31 FG, 14 rebounds
Charles Barkley tied one of Michael Jordan’s performances for the second-most points scored in a single playoff game in the modern era when he poured in 56 against the Warriors in the 1994 Playoffs. Chuck shot an insane 74.2 percent from the field while adding four assists, three steals and one block as Phoenix defeated Golden State, 140-133.
9. Elgin Baylor
1962 NBA Finals, Game 5
61 points, 22 rebounds
Elgin Baylor terrorized the Celtics throughout his career, but his most memorable game against the Lakers’ rival may have came early on in his career. In Game 5 of the title round against Boston, the high-flying small forward exploded, scoring an NBA Finals record 61 points and grabbing 22 boards. Baylor was skying for rebounds, knocking down shots and throwing down dunks over the great Bill Russell.
(Check out 7:44)