Tag Archives: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Today’s Sportstat: December 7, 2019

A big scoring night on your birthday in the NBA

Trivia question: Can you name the only NBA player to ever score 60 or more points in a regular season game on his birthday? (Answer in the article.)

Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo celebrated his 25th birthday last night with 27 points and the Bucks won their 14th straight game with a lopsided win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Giannis became the fourth player this season in the league to score 25 or more points in a game on their birthday. The other three this season:

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota, 36 points on 11-15-19
Eric Paschell, Golden State, 34 points on 11-4-19
Devin Booker, Phoenix, 31 points on 10-30-19

While Giannis tallied 27 on his 25th birthday, his effort on his birthday falls a little short of the most epic scoring nights on a birthday. Shaquille O’Neal holds the NBA record for most points in a regular season game on a birthday with 61. He accomplished this feat on March 6, 2000, his 28th birthday.

There have been six players who have scored 45 or more points in a regular season NBA game on their birthdays:

Shaquille O’Neal, 61 points on 3-6-2000
Dominique Wilkins, 53 points on 1-2-87
LeBron James, 48 points on 12-30-2009
Anthony Davis, 46 points on 3-11-2017
Michael Jordan, 46 points on 2-17-92
Neil Johnston, 45 points on 2-4-55

In case you were wondering, Kevin Garnett holds the mark for most points in a playoff game on a birthday with 32. He did it on his 28th birthday in a playoff game on May 19, 2004.

The most amazing scoring-on-your-birthday story in the playoffs belongs to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. KAJ had 31 points in a playoff game three times on his birthday… on his 24th, 25th and 31st birthdays.

Two others players tallied 30 or more points in a playoffs game on their birthdays: George Gervin did it twice with 31 points on April 27, 1982 and then with 30 points the following year in a playoff contest in 1983 on his birthday. Isiah Thomas had 30 points in a playoff game on his birthday, April 30, 1988.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: June 27, 2019

Giannis and Coach Bud lift NBA hardware

For the 14th time in NBA history, the NBA MVP and the Coach of the Year were from the same team. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Mike Budenholzer were recently selected as the league’s best player and coach.

Unfortunately for the Bucks, success in the form of a championship did not materialize. In fact, of the now 14 times that a player and coach from the same team won POY and Coach honors in a season, only four times has that player and coach hoisted a championship trophy at the end of the season.

The last time it happened was in 2003 when Tim Duncan won the league MVP and his coach, Gregg Popovich, was selected as the Coach of the Year. Their team, the San Antonio Spurs, also won the title that season.

Here’s a look at the 14 times when a team had the league MVP and Coach of the Year (also noted is how well the team did in the playoffs that season).

1965: Boston, MVP-Bill Russell, Coach-Red Auerbach (won NBA title)

1966: Philadelphia, MVP-Wilt Chamberlain, Coach-Dolph Schayes (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

1969: Baltimore, MVP-Wes Unseld, Coach-Gene Shue (lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals)

1970: New York Knicks, MVP-Willis Reed, Coach-Red Holzman (won NBA title)

1973: Boston, MVP-Dave Cowens, Coach-Tom Heinsohn (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

1990: Los Angeles Lakers, MVP-Magic Johnson, Coach-Pat Riley (lost in the Western Conference Semifinals)

1996: Chicago, MVP-Michael Jordan, Coach-Phil Jackson (won NBA title)

2001: Philadelphia, MVP-Allen Iverson, Coach-Larry Brown (lost in the NBA Finals)

2003: San Antonio, MVP-Tim Duncan, Coach-Gregg Popovich (won NBA title)

2005: Phoenix, MVP-Steve Nash, Coach-Mike D’Antoni (lost in the Western Conference Finals)

2009: Cleveland, MVP-LeBron James, Coach-Mike Brown (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

2011: Chicago, MVP-Derrick Rose, Coach-Tom Thibodeau (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

2016: Golden State, MVP-Steph Curry, Coach-Steve Kerr (lost in the NBA Finals)

2019: Milwaukee, MVP-Giannis Antetokounmpo, Coach-Mike Budenholzer (lost in the Eastern Conference Finals)

 

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Today’s Sportstat: May 9, 2019

Giannis doing all this before the age of 25!

In a superlative-filled season, Giannis Antetokounmpo continues leading the Bucks closer to a chance to win an NBA title. The Bucks will be making their first appearance in a conference final since 2001 and hope to get their first finals appearance since losing to the Boston Celtics in 1974.

One thing we might forget about Giannis is that even though he is playing in his sixth NBA season, he is still not yet 25 years of age. He will not turn 25 until December of this year.

With that in mind, it’s interesting to note that Giannis earlier in the playoffs became the third Bucks player under the age of 25 to score 40 or more points in a playoff game. He scored 41 in a first round game against the Detroit Pistons on April 22. The other Bucks to accomplish this feat: Kareem Abdul-Jabber did it twice in his career with Milwaukee (he had 46 in a playoff game in 1970 at the age of 22 years-352 days and did it again two years later with 40 points in a 1972 playoff contest at age 24-362) and Terry Cummings who had 41 points in a 1985 playoff game at the age of 24 years-46 days.

So far in his career, Giannis has had three playoff games where he scored 35 or more points. That makes him one of only 30 NBA players in history to score 35 or more points in three or more playoff games before the age of 25. (He will certainly have a chance to add to that total as the Bucks play in the Eastern Conference Final and beyond this year.)

LeBron James has the most career NBA playoff games with 35+ points before the age of 25 with 15. He is followed by Kevin Durant with 12, Kobe Bryant with 11 and Bob McAdoo with 10. Giannis is one of nine players tied with three games each.

Giannis three 35-point playoff games before the age of 25 ranks second on the Bucks all-time list. Jabbar had six with the Bucks. Cummings had two such games and Marques Johnson and Gary Brokaw each had one game each where they tallied 35 or more points in a playoff game before the age of 25. For the record, Johnson is the youngest Bucks player to have 35 or more points in a playoff game; he had 35 in a 1978 playoff game at the age of 22-74.

Michael Jordan tops the league with the most points scored in a playoff game before the age of 25 with 63. He is followed by Rick Barry (55), Wilt Chamberlain (53), and Vince Carter, Chamberlain, Bob Cousy and Bob McAdoo with 50 points each.

The youngest player to score 35 or more points in a playoff game is Derrick Rose. He was 20 years-196 days when he in 2009 scored 36 in an Eastern Conference first round contest. Magic Johnson is second on this list; he was 20 years-276 days when he scored 42 in Game Six of the 1980 NBA Finals against Philadelphia.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: April 15, 2019

The Greek Freak, The Brodie and The Joker join exclusive clubs

In addition to sharing some interesting, colorful nicknames, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Russell Westbrook and Nikola Jokic each put up some impressive numbers in the 2018-19 NBA season. So impressive, that their stats from this past season have rarely been seen in league history.

Let’s start with Giannis, The Greek Freak. He became the ninth player in NBA history to finish a season averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. His season totals were 27.7 points per game, 12.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per contest.

Here are the nine players with 25-10-5 seasons in league history.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil., 2018-19… 27.7, 12.5, 5.9

DeMarcus Cousins, N.O., 2017-18… 25.2, 12.9, 5.4

Russell Westbrook, OKC, 2017-18… 25.4, 10.1, 10.3
Russell Westbrook, OKC, 2016-17… 31.6, 10.7, 10.4

Charles Barkley, Phoe., 1992-93… 25.6, 12.2, 5.1

Larry Bird, Bost., 1984-85… 28.7, 10.5, 6.6

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, L.A. Lakers, 1975-76… 27.7, 16.9, 5.0

Wilt Chamberlain, Phil., 1965-66… 33.5, 24.6, 5.2
Wilt Chamberlain, S.F., 1963-64… 36.9, 22.3, 5.0

Oscar Robertson, Cin., 1962-63… 28.3, 10.4, 9.5
Oscar Robertson, Cin., 1961-62… 30.8, 12.5, 11.4
Oscar Robertson, Cin., 1960-61… 30.5, 10.1, 9.7

Elgin Baylor, L.A. Lakers, 1960-61… 34.8, 19.8, 5.1

It’s interesting to note that six of the nine players on this list are currently in the Hall of Fame, while the other three, Giannis, Cousins and Westbrook are still active.

Speaking of Westbrook, The Brodie, he had his third straight season with a triple-double in scoring, rebounds and assists. He finished the 2018-19 campaign averaging 22.9 points per games, 11.1 rebounds per game, and 10.7 assists per game. He is now tied with Oscar Robertson with the most triple-double seasons with three.

If we drop the numbers just a bit, The Joker, Denver’s Nikola Jokic, had a historic season. He finished this past season with 20.1 points per game, 10.8 rebounds per contest, and 7.3 assists per game. He became only the fourth NBA player in history to end the season with a 20-10-7 stat line. The others: Westbrook with three 20-10-7 seasons, Oscar Robertson also with three such seasons, and Wilt Chamberlain with two 20-10-7 seasons.

 

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Today’s Sportstat: March 28, 2019

Will having the best record in the NBA help the Greek Freak’s MVP chances?

My esteemed colleague Gery Woelfel recently penned an article where he opined that Houston Rockets guard James Harden would be selected as the 2018-19 NBA MVP at the end of the season. Gery made several solid points in his argument for Harden’s MVP candidacy including his outrageous league-leading points per game average (over 36 points per game) and his improved defensive stats. He admitted that the MVP Award race was basically a two-player race with Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

In discussing his article with him, I told Gery that my only pushback on his opinion was that league MVP voters seem to have a history of voting for a player from the team that ends the season with the most wins/best record. Gery concurred and added that it would be nice if we could find out just how often that has happened in past seasons.

“If only we knew someone who could do the research and run the numbers to see how many MVPs came from teams that had the most wins in a season.”

Well, I just happen to know someone who can get us that info…

Over the past 20 NBA seasons, 12 of those 20 MVPs selected came from a team that had the most (or tied for the most) wins in that season. Ten of the 12 had the best record outright, while two MVPs played for teams that tied for the most wins that season.

Ironically, Harden was a benefactor just last season; he was voted the league MVP for 2017-18 and his Houston Rockets had the most wins last season. Here are the 12 MVPs since the 1998-99 season that played for a team that had the most wins.

2018-James Harden, Houston
2016-Steph Curry, Golden State
2015-Steph Curry, Golden State
2013-LeBron James, Miami
2011-Derrick Rose, Chicago
2010-LeBron James, Cleveland
2009-LeBron James, Cleveland
2007-Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas
2005-Steve Nash, Phoenix
2003-Tim Duncan, San Antonio
2000-Shaquille O’Neal, Los Angeles Lakers
1999-Karl Malone, Utah

Duncan in 2003 and Malone in 1999 played for teams that tied for the most wins in the league that season.

Of the eight MVPs who did not play for the team that won the most games that season, half of them (four players) played for a team that finished with the second most (or tied for the second most wins) in the league that year. Those eight:

2017-Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (10th most wins in the NBA that season

2014-Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City (2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

2012-LeBron James, Miami (4th most wins in the NBA that season)

2008-Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (3rd most wins in the NBA that season)

2006-Steve Nash, Phoenix (4th most wins in the NBA that season)

2004-Kevin Garnett, Minnesota (2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

2002-Tim Duncan, San Antonio (tied for the 2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

2001-Allen Iverson, Philadelphia (tied for the 2nd most wins in the NBA that season)

So, who will the voters choose? If the Bucks end the season with the most wins in the league, is that enough to propel Giannis to the MVP?

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