Tag Archives: NBA Finals

SIX STATS you might not know about… Players who scored forty or more points in an NBA Final loss

LeBron

LeBron James scored 44 points in Game One of the NBA Finals last Thursday in his team’s 108-100 loss to Golden State. Here’s six stats you may not know about players who scored 40 or more points in an NBA Finals game that their team lost.

1. James’ 44 points were the second most for a player in the NBA Finals in a game his team lost. Jerry West twice had 45 points in an NBA Finals game that his Lakers lost. He did it April 19, 1965 in a loss to the Celtics; he also did it one year later on April 22, 1966 in a title series game loss to those same Celtics.

2. The last player to score 40-plus points in an NBA Finals game loss was on June 19, 2012 when Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook had 43 against Miami in a thunder defeat.

3. A player from the losing team in an NBA Finals game has scored 40-plus points 16 times since 1964 (records from basketball-reference.com). Three players did it multiple times: Jerry West did it four times; Rick Barry and Michael Jordan each did it twice. These three players each did it twice in the same series; Barry in 1967, West in 1969 and Jordan in 1993.

4. Youngest player to accomplish this feat was Barry (23 years and 23 days)… oldest was West (30 years and 342 days).

5. Of the 16 times a player scored 40+points in an NBA Finals game loss, nine happened at home, seven in an away game.

6. The Boston Celtics were the opponent that won in four of these 16 games; Philadelphia was the opponent three times.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

Advertisements

Are Cavs, Warriors ready to make NBA history?

2015NBAFinals

With their overtime win last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Final series against the Atlanta Hawks. The Golden State Warriors have a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference Final series against Houston and will try for the four-game sweep tonight.

Since 1958 when the NBA went to a seven-game series for their conference finals, the NBA has never had two teams reach the NBA Finals with both winning their conference finals series via a sweep. Should the Cavs and Warriors both sweep their foes in the conference finals, it would be the first time in NBA history.

In 1958 the two teams that met in the NBA finals, the Boston Celtics and St. Louis Hawks, both won their conference finals series with a 3-0 sweep of their opponents. That was the last time NBA finals opponents each won their previous series with a sweep.

The last time a team won a conference title with a 4-0 sweep was in 2013 when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs went on to lose the NBA finals to Miami. In fact, of the 15 teams that swept their conference finals to reach the NBA Finals, only eight of those teams won the title that year.

Here’s a look at the 15 teams that have swept their conference finals series to reach the championship series and how well they did in the NBA Finals that year.

2013: San Antonio (lost NBA finals)
2003: New Jersey Nets (lost NBA finals)
2001: L.A. Lakers (won NBA title)
1999: San Antonio (won NBA title)
1998: Utah (lost NBA finals)
1996: Chicago (won NBA title)
1991: Chicago (won NBA title)
1989: L.A. Lakers (lost NBA finals)
1987: L.A. Lakers (won NBA title)
1986: Boston (won NBA title)
1982: L.A. Lakers (won NBA title)
1977: Portland (won NBA title)
1974: Milwaukee (lost NBA finals)
1970: L.A. Lakers (lost NBA finals)
1968: L.A. Lakers (lost NBA finals)

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

 

Game Sevens: Will the NHL finals series match the NBA and go 7 games?

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

English: Game 3 of the 2006 NBA Finals at the ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs took their NBA Finals series to a Game Seven with the Heat winning their second straight title. Now the question is: Can (or will) the Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins take their Stanley Cup series to a seventh and deciding game?

Here’s a trivia question for you: When was the last time the NBA and NHL saw their finals series both go to a deciding seventh game in the same season? Answer to follow…

For the record, this was the 18th Game Seven in NBA Finals history and the first since 2010 when the Lakers beat the Celtics in seven games. If you compare the three professional leagues that have a seven-game finals playoff (major league baseball, the NBA and the NHL), the NHL has had the fewest Game Sevens since 1947 (when all three leagues were in existence at the same time) with 14. Major League Baseball has had the most Game Sevens with 26 since ’47.

Only once since 1947 have all three sports had a Game Seven decide their champion. That happened in 1955. The Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in seven games to win the ’55 World Series; Syracuse won the NBA title in 1955 winning the championship in a seventh game victory over Ft. Wayne; and Detroit won the ’55 Stanley Cup playoffs over Montreal by winning Game Seven.

Other than 1955, there have been a handful of times when two of the three sports saw their title series go the distance with seven games. Major League Baseball and the NBA have gone seven games in the finals in four seasons (1952, 1957, 1960 and 1962… note it hasn’t happened in over 50 years); the NHL and MLB have gone seven games in the finals in six season (1964, 1965, 1971, 1987, 2001 and 2011).

Trivia answer: The last time the NBA and NHL final series both went seven games in the same year was in 1994. The Houston Rockets won the NBA title with a Game Seven win over the New York Knicks, and the New York Rangers won the NHL title in 1994 by defeating Vancouver four games to three. That’s the only other time other than 1955 that the NBA and NHL have seen their championship series decided in seven games in the same year.

One more stat: Although the NHL has had the fewest Game Seven final series since 1947, they have had the most since 2000. Since 2000 the NHL has had six finals series go the distance with seven games (it could be seven years if this year’s Chicago-Boston finals goes to a seventh game). Both the NBA and Major League Baseball have seen a seventh game finals series in three years.

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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

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