Tag Archives: Russell Westbrook

When was the last time your NBA team had a player average 25 points in a season?

James Harden was one of three players to average 25 points per game in the NBA last season

James Harden was one of three players to average 25 points per game in the NBA last season

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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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: Russell Westbrook, Mario Chalmers and the 2-3-2 series format

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

English: Mario Chalmers playing with the Miami...

Mario Chalmers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Miami Heat have taken a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals with a 104-98 win over Oklahoma City last night. They can wrap up the series at home on Thursday.

Miami got a 25-point effort from guard Mario Chalmers that helped offset the 43-point performance from Thunder guard Russell Westbrook. Here’s a few notes looking to Thursday’s Game 5 and a glance back at Westbrook and Chalmer’s big games last night.

The 2-3-2 format. The NBA went to the 2-3-2 format for the Finals series starting with the 1985 postseason. In the past 27 years of the NBA Finals, the team that hosts the middle three games has won the series only seven times; the Heat are looking to become the eighth. Dallas won last year’s title as the home team in Games 3, 4, 5 defeating Miami in six games. Here’s a few more stats looking back at the finals series since 1985 when the 2-3-2 format was instituted:

* The team that won both Games 3 and 4 has won 10 of 12 titles.

* Losing Game 5 would not be a good omen for the Heat. Since 1985, if the team hosting the middle three games of the series lost one (or more) of those three games, they won the series only four times. The last team to split the first two games on the road and then sweep the next three games at home were the 2004 Detroit Pistons.

* There have been three times when the team hosting Games 6 and 7 won both of those contests to win the title: 1988 (L.A. Lakers), 1994 (Houston) and 2010 (L.A. Lakers).

* If the series goes to a seventh game, the home team has won four and lost none since 1985.

* Of the seven times when the team that hosted the middle three games won the series, in five of those series the champion won Game 6 on the road.

Westbrook’s 43-point performance. Westbrook became the seventh player since 1988 to score 40 or more points in a finals game in a losing cause. The other six: Shaquille O’Neal, 44 (June 6, 2001); Michael Jordan, 44 (June 13, 1993); Isiah Thomas, 43 (June 19, 1988); Charles Barkley, 42 (June 11, 1993); Michael Jordan, 41 (June 18, 1993); James Worthy, 40 (June 13, 1989).

Mario Chalmers scores 25 points. A couple interesting stats about Chalmer’s 25-point game: In the short two-year LeBron James era in Miami, the Heat have now played in 10 NBA Finals games. Dwyane Wade has score 20 or more points in eight of those 10 finals games; James has scored 20+ in seven of those contests; the other member of the Big Three, Chris Bosh, has scored 20+ in one game. With his 25 points last night, Chalmers, became the first Heat player not named James, Wade or Bosh to score 20 or more points in a finals game. In fact, only two players not named James, Wade or Bosh have scored 15 or more points in an NBA Finals game for the Heat: Chalmers has now done it three times, Shane Battier did it twice this series.

In addition, the Heat have played 43 playoff games in the LeBron James era. Only two players other than the Big Three scored 20 or more points in one or more of those 43 playoff games: Chalmers has now done it four times (three times in the 2012 playoffs) and James Jones had 25 in a games last year against Boston.

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NBA Finals: Shane Battier supports Miami’s Big Three with big threes

Basketball player Shane Battier.

Shane Battier (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

A lot of experts figured that the NBA Finals would come down to a battle between the Big Three for each team, Miami’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh vs. the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. In the first three games, each of these players has had their moments.

But one of the biggest surprises of the series has been the play (or should I say, the shooting) of the Heat’s Shane Battier. Through the first three games, Battier is averaging 14.3 PPG and has made 11 of 15 three-point shots. It’s the three-point shooting that has elevated Battier’s game in this series.

For the 2011-12 season, Battier made 62 three-pointers in 65 contests. In the ’12 playoffs, however, Battier has made 38 threes in 21 games, almost doubling his output in that category in the playoffs.

In Sunday’s game, Battier became the 32nd player in NBA history to make 11 or more three-pointers in an NBA Finals series. And with at least two more games on the docket for this series (and maybe more if the Thunder have anything to say about it), Battier could make a run at the NBA record for most threes in a finals series.

Boston’s Ray Allen holds the record with 22 three-pointers made in the 2008 NBA Finals series when his Celtics defeated the L.A. Lakers for the title. The players with the most three-pointers in a finals series:

Three-point shots made in an NBA Finals, Player, Year

22: Ray Allen, 2008

17: Derek Harper, 1994; Dan Majerle, 1993

16: John Starks, 1994; Rashard Lewis, 2009

15: Kobe Bryant, 2010; Reggie Miller, 2000; Robert Horry, 2005; Bryon Russell, 1997

14: Michael Cooper, 1987; Mario Chalmers, 2011

Battier has not only has made 11 threes in this series, but his accuracy has been at an all-time high, for him and in the history of the finals. Battier is 11-for-15 from beyond the three-point, a .733 percentage. Battier currently has the best three-point shooting percentage of any player in the NBA Finals in NBA history (minimum of 11 three-point shots made to qualify for the list). Whether or not he can keep his percentage over .700 for the series will obviously play out over the next few games.

Here are the players with the best three-point shooting percentage in a finals series (minimum of 11 three-point shots made to qualify)

3-point pct, Player, Year

.733 Shane Battier, 2012

.688 Isiah Thomas, 1990

.632 Glen Rice, 2000

.609 Michael Cooper, 1987

.565 DeShawn Stevenson, 2011

.524 Ray Allen, 2008

.500 James Posey, 2008

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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).

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