NBA Finals: LeBron, four score 20 and kudos to Mike Miller

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy

NBA Trophy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 2011-2012 NBA season came to a close last night with the Miami Heat winning the title with a 121-106 win over the Thunder. Here’s a look at a few interesting stats from yesterday’s game.

LeBron gets 26: LeBron led the Heat last night with 26 points. It’s not uncommon for one or more players to have a big scoring night when a team clinches their NBA title. Lat year, Dallas’ Jason Terry led the Mavs with 27 points in their title-clinching game against the Heat. Miami had great balance in their scoring last night (more on that in a moment), and James’ 26 was the 55th time in the NBA Finals that a player scored 25 or more points in a title-clinching game. There have, however, been 26 players who scored 30 or more points in the game when a team won their NBA title. That group is led by Bob Pettit, who had 50 points in 1958 when the St. Louis Hawks won their NBA crown. Following are the players who scored the most points in a title-clinching game:

50: Bob Pettit, St. Louis (1958)

45: Michael Jordan, Chicago (1998)

42: Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers (1980)

41: Shaquille O’Neal, L.A. Lakers (2000)

40: John Havlicek, Boston (1968)

40: George Mikan, Minneapolis (1950)

Four score 20: The Heat had four players score 20 or more points in last night’s game… James with 26; Chris Bosh, 24; Mike Miller 23; and Dwyane Wade 20. It was the fourth time since 1985 that a team had four or more players score 20+ points in an NBA Finals game. The other three:

Boston Celtics, June 11, 1987 (vs. the L.A. Lakers): Dennis Johnson, 25; Larry Bird, 23; Kevin McHale, 22; Danny Ainge, 21 and Robert Parrish, 21.

L.A. Lakers, June 4, 1987 (vs. the Boston Celtics): Byron Scott, 24; James Worthy, 23; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 23; Magic Johnson, 22 and Michael Cooper, 21.

Boston Celtics, June 7, 19985 (vs. L.A. Lakers): Robert Parrish, 26; Kevin McHale, 24; Dennis Johnson 22 and Larry Bird, 20.

Kudos to Mike Miller: Miller became the fifth player in NBA Finals history to make seven three-point shots in a game. He fell one short of the record of eight held by Ray Allen, who had eight in 2010. The others with seven three-pointers in an NBA Finals game: Allen in 2008; Scottie Pippen in 1997 and Kenny Smith in 1995.

Not many sports personalities come from South Dakota, where Miller is from. I have always had an interest in following Miller’s career since Miller was born in Mitchell and went to high school in Mitchell… and Mitchell, South Dakota is where I was born and lived for a year (before our family moved to Wisconsin). My father is from Mitchell and I remember back in the mid-1990s when my dad would still get the Mitchell paper sent to our house in Wisconsin that he would take about some high school kid named Miller who was going to be a big star in college and hopefully the pros.

So… congratulations Mike Miller, fellow Mitchell, South Dakotan! I’m sure the Corn Palace is rockin’ today.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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