Tag Archives: Kevin Durant

Stats Potpourri: A look back at Game One of the NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors took Game One of the 2017 NBA Finals, a 113-91 win over Cleveland. There were several storylines that punctuated this victory, but here’s a few stats you might find interesting.

  • Golden State’s 22-point win in Game One was the eighth time in NBA Finals history that a team won the first game of the finals by a margin of 20 points or more. In the previous seven times, the team that won Game One by 20 points or more won the series five times. The two series losses: The Knicks defeated the Lakers 114-92 in Game One of the 1972 NBA Finals, but the Lakers won the series, four games to one; in 1985, the Celtics defeated the Lakers 148-114 (the largest margin of victory in a NBA Finals Game One, 34 points), but the Lakers won the series, four games to two.
  • The Warriors had 31 assists and only four turnovers in Game One. Since 1984, it was the first time in an NBA Finals that a team had more than 30 assists and less than five turnovers in the same contest. It was only the fourth playoff game since 1984 that a team had 30 or more assists and less than five turnovers in the same game.
  • It was the 17th time since 1984 that a team had four or fewer turnovers in an NBA playoff game. Teams are 11-6 in those games.
  • Golden State is now 28-3 in playoff games since 2013 when they score 110 or more points in a post-season game. They are also now 8-1 in the NBA Finals since 2013 when they score 100 or more points and 7-3 in the NBA Finals since 2013 when they hold their opponents (the Cavs) under 100 points.
  • LeBron James had eight turnovers in the game. It was the fourth time since 1984 that a player had eight or more turnovers in an NBA Finals game. The last player to accomplish this feat was Manu Ginobli in 2013 when he had eight turnovers in a finals game versus the Miami Heat.
  • Kevin Durant had 38 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the game. The last player to have 30 or more points and eight or more rebounds and assists in an NBA Finals game was last year when Draymon Green has 32 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists in a finals series game.
  • Durant had zero turnovers to go with his 38 points. It was the 13th time since 1984 that a player had 30 or more points in an NBA Finals game with no turnovers. The last player to do this was Klay Thompson on June 7, 2015 when he had 34 points and no turnovers in the finals series versus the Cavs.
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NBA Finals Game 5 history not necessarily a good omen for OKC Thunder

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

Logo of the NBA Finals.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s all pretty simple: If the Heat win tonight, the series is over and they win the NBA title. If the Thunder win, we head back to Oklahoma City for Game 6 and the series continues for the Thunder on their home court. Yes, game 5 is important.

Now that I’ve stated the obvious, how about a little insight to what we can expect tonight. If you take a look at the history of the NBA Finals, there is good news and bad news for the Thunder. First, a little backstory. In the previous 65 NBA Finals, 30 of those series had one team with a 3-1 lead after four games. In 27 of those 65 series, the series was tied at 2-2; there was a four-game sweep in eight of the NBA Finals.

So the Thunder are the 31st team that will try to wipe out a 3-1 deficit in the finals. (The last NBA Finals that was 3-1 after four games was in 2009 when the Lakers had a 3-1 lead over Orlando. They won the series in five games.) Here’s a little good news for OKC:

* In the previous 30 Game 5s where the series was at 3-1, the away team won Game 5 14 times. The Thunder are the away team tonight.

* In the previous 30 Game 5s where the series was at 3-1, the team that was behind in the series was able to win Game 5 and send the series to a sixth game in 14 of those games.

* There have been 12 finals series where the team with the 3-1 lead in the series has the opportunity to win the series in Game 5 (similar to tonight’s scenario for the Heat). In those 12 series, the team with the 3-1 lead has won Game 5 and the title in seven of those series. In five of these series, the road team that was behind in the series won Game 5 extending the series to a Game 6. Here’s a look at those five series where the road team won Game 5 sending it to a Game 6… something the Thunder hope to accomplish:

1998: Utah, down 3-1, defeated the Bulls in Chicago in Game 5.

1967: San Francisco, down 3-1, defeated the 76ers in Philadelphia in Game 5.

1966: Los Angeles, down 3-1, defeated the Celtics in Boston in Game 5.

1963: Los Angeles, down 3-1, defeated the Celtics in Boston in Game 5.

1951: New York, down 3-1, defeated the Royals in Rochester in Game 5.

Note: In looking at the box scores from the five Game 5s listed above, it’s interesting to note that the teams that won Game 5 each got big games from their superstars. In Utah’s 1998 win, Karl Malone scored 39 of Utah 83 points in their win; in San Francisco’s 1967 win, Rick Barry poured in 36 in the victory; in the Lakers 1966 and 1963 wins, Elgin Baylor and Jerry West had big games (Baylor 41 in ’66 and 43 in ’63; West 31 in ’66 and 32 in ’63.) If the Thunder is to win tonight and send the series back to OKC, they may have to depend on monster games from Kevin Durant and/or Russell Westbrook.

Finally, here is the bad news for the Thunder:

* If OKC is hoping to win the series by winning the next three games, there is a stark reality that looms large. First, no team has won an NBA title after being down 3-1 in the finals series. Secondly, just getting the series to a Game 7 is not an easy task. Of the 17 NBA Finals that went the full seven games, 15 of those series went to a Game 7 after the two teams were tied 2-2 after four games. That means that only two finals series went to a Game 7 when a team faced a 3-1 deficit. The two games:

1966: The Lakers, down 3-1, forced a Game 7 but lost Game 7 95-93 in Boston.

1951: The Knicks, down 3-1, forced a Game 7 but lost Game 7 79-75 in Rochester.

What does all this mean? It’s an uphill battle for the Thunder. First, can they do what hasn’t been done in 45 years… get the series to a Game 7? Then, can they do what has never been done in NBA history… win the championship after being down 3-1 in the final series?

As “Bull Durham’s” Crash Davis would say, “You have to take them one game at a time.” It all starts with Game 5.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

NBA Finals: Thunder’s Durant, Westbrook join legendary duos with Game 1 scoring outburst

Oklahoma City Thunder logo

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook not only outscored the whole Miami Heat team by themselves in the second half of Tuesday’s Game 1 win, but the high-scoring duo from Oklahoma City also joined an elite group of teammates that have scored 27 or more points in an NBA Finals game.

Durant had 36 points and Westbrook had 27 making them the first teammates in eight years to both score 27 or more points in an NBA Finals game. The last duo to accomplish this feat were the Lakers Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal on June 8, 2004.

Miami’s LeBron James had 30 points in last night’s game, making it the first NBA Finals game since the June 8, 2004 game mentioned above that three players scored 27 or more points. (Detroit’s Chauncey Billups had 27 points in the Pistons loss to the Lakers in that game.) Three players scored 27+ in an NBA Finals game eight times since 1986.

Going back to 1986, there have been 17 sets of teammates that scored 27 or more points in a NBA Finals game. The last set of teammates to score 27+ in a finals game and their team lose was in 1998 when the Bulls Toni Kukoc (30) and Michael Jordan (28) lost to Utah.

Following are the teammates that scored 27 or more points in an NBA Finals game since 1986.

Date, Team, teammates with 27+ points

June 12, 2012: Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant (36), Russell Westbrook (27)

June 8, 2004: L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant (33), Shaquille O’Neal (29)

June 9, 2002: L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant (36), Shaquille O’Neal (35)

June 10, 2001: L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant (32), Shaquille O’Neal (30)

June 8, 2001: L.A. Lakers, Kobe Bryant (31), Shaquille O’Neal (28)

June 14, 2000: L.A. Lakers, Shaquille O’Neal 36, Kobe Bryant (28)

June 12, 1998: Chicago, Toni Kukoc (30), Michael Jordan (28)

June 10, 1998: Chicago, Michael Jordan (34), Scottie Pippen (28)

June 1, 1997: Chicago, Michael Jordan (31), Scottie Pippen (27)

June 9, 1995: Orlando, Shaquille O’Neal (33), Penny Hardaway (32)

June 9, 1995: Houston, Hakeem Olajuwon (34), Sam Cassell (31)

June 9, 1993: Chicago, Michael Jordan (31), Scottie Pippen (27)

June 12, 1991: Chicago, Scottie Pippen (32), Michael Jordan (30)

June 12, 1990: Portland, Clyde Drexler (34), Jerome Kersey (33)

June 7, 1987: L.A. Lakers, Magic Johnson (32), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (27)

June 2, 1987: L.A. Lakers, James Worthy (33), Magic Johnson (29)

June 8, 1986: Boston, Larry Bird (29), Kevin McHale (29)

Did you know? The last time two sets of teammates scored 27+ in an NBA Finals game was June 9, 1995 when Orlando’s O’Neal (33) and Hardaway (32) lost to the Rockets Olajuwon (34) and Cassell (31).

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Kobe Bryant vs. Kevin Durant: Six stats you might not know

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers drives t...

Kobe Bryant  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Game 1 of the Oklahoma City ThunderLos Angeles Lakers playoff series is in the books and the Thunder made a pretty loud statement with their 119-90 win.

While there are many subplots to this series, the one that has garnered significant attention is the match-up between Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant. ESPN Stats & Information noted that this is the fifth time that the No. 1 and No. 2 regular season scorers are facing off in the playoffs. This Kobe-Durant battle may not have the sexiness of a Magic-Bird matchup, but it’s still worth watching.

Here’s a look at some stats you might not know about when Kobe and Durant have faced off against each other since Durant came into the league in 2007 (includes last night’s game).

1. The Lakers and Thunder (they were the Sonics in Durant’s first year in the league)… and Bryant and Durant… have played against each other 23 times since the start of the 2007 season. The Lakers have won 16 of the 23 games. The Thunder, however, have won four of the last five. They have faced off in the playoffs seven times with the Lakers holding a 4-3 edge. The home team has won all seven games in the playoffs between these two teams.

2. In the 23 games that Bryant and Durant have faced each other, Kobe has scored more points than Durant in 11 games, Durant has scored more points than Kobe in 11 games, and they have had the same number of points in one game. In the last 14 games, however, going back to March 26, 2010, Durant has outscored Kobe in 10 games of those 14 games.

3. Both Bryant and Durant average just under 21 shots per game when their teams play against each other. Bryant averages 20.9 shots per game, Durant 20.5 shots per game.

4. Each player’s points per game (ppg) in home games, away games, wins and losses in the 23 times they’ve faced each other:

* Bryant: Home, 27.1 ppg; Away, 24.6 ppg; Wins, 26.0 ppg; Losses, 25.3 ppg.

* Durant: Home, 25.0 ppg; Away, 25.3 ppg; Wins, 26.7 ppg; Losses, 24.4 ppg.

5. Bryant averages 27.0 ppg in regular season games against the Thunder. His playoff average versus the Thunder is 23.0. Durant averages 25.2 ppg in regular season games against the Lakers; his playoff average is 25.0.

6. Kobe’s high game against the Thunder in the Bryant-Durant era was 48 on January 14, 2008. His low game was 11 on March 26, 2010. Durant’s high game against the Lakers was 35 on April 22, 2012. His low was a 15-point performance on February 24, 2008.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Can Kevin Durant add an NBA title to his scoring title in 2012?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunders at ...

Kevin Durant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant won his third straight NBA scoring title becoming the eighth player in the league to win three or more scoring titles in their career; he joins Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin, Allen Iverson, George Mikan, Neil Johnston and Bob McAdoo. He is also the seventh player to win three straight scoring titles.

With the Thunder still alive in the playoffs, Durant is hoping to join another elite group: those scoring titleholders who won an NBA championship the same season. The last time the scoring leader’s team made it to the NBA Finals was in 2001 when Allen Iverson’s 76ers lost to the L.A. Lakers. The last time the scoring leader’s team won the NBA title was the previous year when Shaquille O’Neal’s Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers.

Only five different players have won a scoring title and championship in the same season (it has, however, happened on 11 different occasions). They are:

Player, Team, Scoring title/championship year

Joe Fulks, Philadelphia, 1947

George Mikan, Minneapolis, 1949

George Mikan, Minneapolis, 1950

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Milwaukee, 1971

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1991

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1992

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1993

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1996

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1997

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1998

Shaquille O’Neal, L.A. Lakers, 2000

Here’s a few additional stats regarding players who won the NBA scoring title.

* Five scoring leaders saw their team lose in the NBA finals: Chamberlain (1964), Rick Barry (1967), Jerry West (1970), O’Neal (1995) and Iverson (2001).

* Fifty-five of the 65 scoring leaders played in the playoffs that same year.

* The ten seasons in which the scoring leader’s team did not play in the playoffs: Neil Johnston, Philadelphia (1953, 1954, 1955); Chamberlain, San Francisco (1963); Nate Archibald, Kansas City-Omaha (1973); Pete Maravich, New Orleans (1977); Adrian Dantley, Utah (1981); Bernard King, N.Y. Knicks (1985); David Robinson, San Antonio (1994); Tracy McGrady, Orlando (2004).

* The scoring titleholder’s team made it to the final four in 31 of the 65 playoffs.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp