Can you name the last Bucks player to score 30 or more points in a game when he did not start that game? (Answer at the end of this article.)
Having a player who can come off the bench and score a lot of points is a big weapon for any NBA team. One of the best in today’s NBA game is Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams.
Williams this season has three games where he scored 30 or more points in a game that he did not start. Those three games tops the league in that category (in addition to Williams, Utah’s Rodney Hood has done it twice, while Memphis’ Tyreke Evans and Denver’s Wil Barton have each done it once each).
Williams now has 13 career games where he scored 30+ points when he did not start that game, good enough for a top 10 spot in NBA history. Here are the 10 players with the most career games with 30 or more points coming off the bench in that contest.
28: Ricky Pierce
26: Eddie Johnson
19: Ben Gordon
17: Kevin McHale
16: Manu Ginobili, J.R. Smith
14: Thurl Bailey
13: Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, Lou Williams
The answer to the above question… Caron Butler. The Racine, WI native had 30 points coming off the bench for the bucks in a game on January 22, 2014. Ricky Pierce holds the Bucks’ record for most points scored in a game by a player who didn’t start that game, 45, in a December 5, 1989 contest.
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Spurred (pun intended) by an impassioned plea from their coach for more “nastiness” in their effort, the San Antonio Spurs outscored the Oklahoma City Thunder 39-27 in the fourth quarter and went on to win Game One of their Western Conference Final series, 101-98.
During that same pre-fourth-quarter huddle when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said “I want some nasty” from his team, the 63-year-old and current NBA Coach of the Year also asked his players “Are we having fun yet?” It seems super sub Manu Ginobili decided to heed Popovich’s advice; he scored 11 points in the fourth quarter on his way to a 26-point performance off the Spurs bench.
This was the 10th playoff game in Ginobili’s career where he came off the bench to score 25 or more points in a postseason contest. Not surprisingly, the Spurs are 9-1 when Ginobili comes off the bench in a playoff game to score 25 or more points.
Following are the players (from 1986-2012) who scored 25 or more points in the most playoff games when they did not start.
Games w/25+ points, Player (Team’s record in those games)
10….. Manu Ginobili (9-1)
8….. Eddie Johnson (3-5)
4….. Leandro Barbosa (3-1); Jason Terry (2-2)
This was the second game of these playoffs where a reserve came off the bench to score 25 or more points. OKC’s James Harden came off the bench to score 29 in the Thunder’s Game Four win over the Dallas Mavericks. This was Ginobili’s first 25-point performance off the bench in a playoff games since May 25, 2008.
Ginobili’s 26 points as a sub in a playoff game are far from the most scored by a reserve since 1986. Five different subs have scored 35 or more points in a playoff game since the 1986 playoffs. In fact, Nick Van Exel has three of the seven top performances off the bench in a playoff game since ’86; all three of his games happened in a seven-game series against Sacramento in 2003.
Points, Player, Team (Date)
40: Nick Van Exel, Dallas (May 10, 2003)
39: Thurl Bailey, Utah (May 4, 1988)
36: Nick Van Exel, Dallas (May 8, 2003)
35: Ricky Pierce, Milwaukee (May 2, 1989)
35: Juan Dixon, Washington (May 2, 20005)
35: Eddie Johnson, Phoenix (May 9, 1989)
35: Nick Van Exel, Dallas (May 15, 2003)
Research Source: www.basketball-reference.com
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Your team is down by one and has the ball with 10 seconds left. Who do you want to take the last shot?
Your team is up by two with five seconds remaining. Who do you want to get fouled and sink two free throws to ice the game?
Your team is down by three and needs a three-pointer to tie. Who do you want to shoot the three?
One final question: Who would you rate as the greatest “pure shooters” in the NBA playoffs during the three-point era?
I know, a lot of questions to answer. But here’s a little help. To try to answer the last question of the greatest “pure shooters” in the NBA playoffs in the three-point era, I established a few guidelines. First, a player had to have played in 40 or more playoff games in his career. Secondly, to qualify for the best “pure shooter” label, a player had to have a career playoff shooting percentage of .450 in field goals, .300 in three-point attempts, and a .850 free throw percentage.
Here are the players who qualified for the list (minimum of 40 shots attempted in each category to qualify)
Player, playoff games, FG pct/3-pt pct/FT pct
Larry Bird, 164, .472/.321/.890
Jeff Hornacek, 140, .470/.433/.886
Dirk Nowitzki, 128, .463/.380/.893
John Paxson, 119, .494/.369/.867
Steve Nash, 118, .473/.409/.899
Ray Allen, 113, .453/.415/.893
Joe Dumars, 112, .462/.358/.855
Ricky Pierce, 97, .466/.355/.866
Antonio Daniels, 80/.461/.353/.863
Hersey Hawkins, 74, .455/.396/.907
Chris Mullin, 71, .495/.409/.859
Kiki Vandeweghe, 68, .510/.345/.907
Mark Price, 47, .464/.337/.944
If we use these same criteria for this year’s playoffs, and drop the minimum attempts to 10, we have only two players who qualify as the best “pure shooters” in this year’s playoffs. They are:
Chris Paul, 5 games, .469/.389/.882
James Harden, 4 games, .500/.462/.871
What do you think?
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