Russell Westbrook is the favorite to win the NBA’s MVP Award this season. He is averaging a triple-double this season (31.8 points per game to go along with 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest). He could become only the second player (since Oscar Robertson) to average a triple-double in a season, and could overtake the Big “O” for most triple-doubles in a season.
Here’s another stat about Westbrook: With four games remaining, Westbrook has attempted 1,874 shots, or about 24 per game. He would need to fire up 116 shots in his final four contests to become the 11th player in NBA history to attempt 2,000 or more shots in a regular season. He’s on a pace for 1,970, so he’ll have to take closer to 30 shots per game in those last four games to reach 2,000.
Here’s a look at some other stats re: players to have attempted 2,000 or more shots in a season:
- The last player to attempt 2,000 shots in an NBA season was Kobe Bryant in 2005-06. He took 2,173 shots that year.
- There have been 21 seasons where a player took 2,000 shots. That was accomplished by 10 players (Westbrook could become the 11th player). Wilt Chamberlain had the most 2,000-shot seasons with six. Elvin Hayes is next on the list with three campaigns.
With 1,874 shots this season, Westbrook became the 42nd different player to reach 1,750 shots in a season (it has happened 90 times in the history of the NBA). Michael Jordan did it 10 times to top the list, followed by Wilt with seven, Kareem Abdu-Jabbar, Elgin Baylor, Alex English and Dominique Wilkins with five such seasons, and Elvin Hayes and Allen Iverson with four seasons each with 1,750 shot attempts.
Of the 90 occasions/seasons when a player attempted 1,750 shots, Westbrook’s .426 field goal percentage ranks as the 11th lowest of the 90. Kobe Bryant is also the last player to reach 1,750 shots in a season; he did it in 2006-07.
It doesn’t look like any other player this season with join Westbrook in the 1,750-shot club; New Orleans’ Anthony Davis has taken the second most shots this year with 1,499 and DeMar DeRozan follows with 1,498. Nine other players this year have attempted 1,400 or more shots this season.
The most players to reach 1,750 shot attempts in an NBA season is seven. That was done twice… in 1962 and 1973.
On March 7, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook tallied 58 points in a 126-121 loss to the Portland Trailblazers. It was the 10th time this season that a player scored 50 or more points in a game; it was Westbrook’s second time this season and third in his career.
With his third career 50-point game, Westbrook became the 29th player since 1963-64 to have three or more career 50-point games. Here’s a look at the Top 10 for most career 50-point games since 1963.
Michael Jordan, 31
Wilt Chamberlain, 30
Kobe Bryant, 25
Rick Barry, 14
Allen Iverson, 11
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 10
LeBron James, 10
Bernard King, 8
Dominique Wilkins, 7
Adrian Dantley, 6
Pete Maravich, 6
With the Thunder losing the game where Westbrook scored 58, it was the second time in his career that Westbrook’s team lost when he scored 50+. He became the 14th player since 1963 to score 50 or more points in two or more games where his team lost. Jordan tops this list with eight games where his team lost when he scored 50 or more points. Others who saw their teams lose two or more games when they scored 50+ points: Kobe and Wilt (7), Iverson (5), Bernard King (4), Bob McAdoo and Dominique Wilkins (3), and Jabbar, Tiny Archibald, Adrian Dantley, LeBron, Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Redd and Westbrook, each with two.
Since the 1964 playoffs, teams that had a player score 50 or more points in a game have won 22 games and lost 5. Of those 27 games, Jordan, again, tops the list. He had eight 50-point games in the playoffs. Iverson is second with three playoff games, followed by Jerry West with two. Of the five losses, Jordan had two of them, with Ray Allen, Kobe and Billy Cunningham each scoring 50 or more points in a playoff games were their team lost.
When Kevin Durant decided to take his formidable skills to the Golden State Warriors, it didn’t take a genius to figure out that Russell Westbrook would be the focal point of the Oklahoma City Thunder team (and its offense). As the 2016-17 NBA season pushes past the first quarter mark, Westbrook is certainly carrying the Thunder. He is averaging 31 points and 11.3 assists per game, good enough for second place in both stats categories in the league.
Only two players in NBA history have averaged 30 or more points and 10 or more assists per game for a season: Tiny Archibald was the last to do it in the 1972-73 season when he tallied 34 points per game with 11.4 assists for Kansas City-Omaha. Prior to that, Oscar Robertson did it five times… in 1961-62, 1963-64, 1964-65, 1965-66 and 1966-67.
In addition to Archibald and Robertson getting 30-10 in a season, there have been seven times when a player averaged 30 or more points per game and seven or more assists per game in a season. Those players:
Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati, 1960-61: 30.5/9.7
Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1988-89: 32.5/8.0
Dwyane Wade, Miami, 2008-09: 30.2/7.5
LeBron James, Cleveland, 2007-08: 30.0/7.2
Allen Iverson, Philadelphia, 2005-06: 33.0/7.4
Allen Iverson, Philadelphia, 2004-05: 30.7/7.9
Jerry West, L.A. Lakers, 1969-70: 31.2/7.5
Houston’s James Harden is averaging 28.3 points per game and 11.8 assists per contest, leading the league in assists and placing him fourth in scoring. If we look at the players who have averaged 25 points per games and 10 assists per game in a season, Archibald and Robertson make the list with their 30-10 seasons. In addition, Westbrook would join the group if he stays on pace, as would Harden. The only other player who has reached 25-10 in a season is Michael Adams. In the 1990-91 season with the Denver Nuggets, Adams averaged 26.5 points per game and 10.5 assist per game.
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Last season there were three NBA players who averaged 25 or more points per game (minimum of 50 games played to qualify): LeBron James (Cleveland Cavs), James Harden (Houston Rockets) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder). Only three players averaging 25 points-plus in a season was the fewest number of players since 2004 when only one player averaged 25 points in a season. Since 2000, there have been 95 players who have averaged 25 or more points in a season, an average of just under six per year.
For the Cavs, it was the first time since 2009-10 that a player averaged 25; ironically, it was James who did it that season in his previous stint with the club. For the Rockets, last year was Harden’s third consecutive season averaging 25 points or more. For the Thunder, they have now had a player average 25 points in a season in seven straight years; last year was Westbrook, the previous six seasons was Kevin Durant.
Two franchises, New Orleans and Memphis, have never had a player average 25 points a game in a season. In addition, there are three franchises that have not had one of their players reach the 25.0/points per game mark this century.
Here’s a look at the last time each NBA franchise had a player average 25 or more points per game in a season (the year listed is the when that season ended; 1998 means the 1997-98 NBA season).
Never: Memphis, New Orleans
1980: L.A. Clippers (World B. Free)
1982 Portland (Clyde Drexler)
1997: Charlotte (Glen Rice)
2000: Utah (Karl Malone)
2001: Detroit (Jerry Stackhouse), Sacramento (Chris Webber), Toronto (Vince Carter)
2002: San Antonio (Tim Duncan)
2004: Orlando (Tracy McGrady)
2006: Boston (Paul Pierce), Philadelphia (Allen Iverson)
2007: Atlanta (Joe Johnson), Brooklyn (Vince Carter), Milwaukee (Michael Redd), Washington (Gilbert Arenas)
2008: Phoenix (Amar’e Stoudemire)
2009: Indiana (Danny Granger)
2010: Dallas (Dirk Nowitzki), Golden State (Monta Ellis)
2011: Chicago (Derrick Rose), Denver (Carmelo Anthony)
2013: L.A. Lakers (Kobe Bryant)
2014: Miami (LeBron James), Minnesota (Kevin Love), N.Y. Knicks (Carmelo Anthony)
2015: Cleveland (LeBron James), Houston (James Harden), Oklahoma City (Russell Westbrook)
Last season four players fell just a couple of points short of averaging 25 points per game. The four players that averaged 23 points per game but fell short of the 25-point mark were: Anthony Davis (24.4, New Orleans), DeMarcus Cousins (24.1, Sacramento), Stephen Curry (23.8, Golden State) and LaMarcus Aldridge (23.4, Portland).
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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published daily that focuses on stats that go beyond the numbers.
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.
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