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Players with the most all-time triple-doubles in the NBA Playoffs
These are the players who have officially recorded the most triple-doubles all-time in the NBA playoffs. The NBA did not start counting blocked shots or steals until the 1973-74 season, so players like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson probably recorded more triple-doubles in the playoffs than they are given credit for.
The second player on this list, Jason Kidd(notes), recorded the vast majority of his playoff triple-doubles while playing for my favorite NBA team, the New Jersey Nets. So I saw most of Kidd's triple-doubles in the playoffs, and it was always a lot of fun to watch him wrack up the stats in the post-season.
Players with Most Triple-doubles All-time in the NBA Playoffs
1. Magic Johnson - 30
Magic Johnson is the all-time leader in triple-doubles in the playoffs with 30. Magic played in 190 total playoff games, so he recorded a triple-double in 15.8% of the playoff games he played in. That is a slightly higher percentage than for the regular season, where Magic had 138 triple-doubles in 906 games played (15.2%).
In the playoffs, Magic averaged 19.5 points, 7.7 rebounds and 12.3 assists per games. In most playoff games he was double figures in points and assists and would record a triple-double when he also got rebounds. Magic is the all-time leader in assists (2,346), 11th in points scored (3,701) and 16th in rebounds (1,465) in NBA playoff history.
Magic Johnson won five NBA Championships, and was the NBA Finals MVP in three of those championships, all with the Los Angeles Lakers.
2. Jason Kidd - 11
To date, Jason Kidd has recorded 11 triple-doubles in the playoffs in 123 games played, so he has recorded a triple-double in 8.9% of his playoff games. Kidd has 107 triple-doubles in the regular season in 1,267 games played, for an average of 8.5%. So, like Magic Johnson, Kidd has a slightly higher triple-double percentage per game played in the playoffs.
Jason Kidd recorded 10 of his triple-doubles playing for my NBA team, the New Jersey Nets. He also recorded one triple-double in the playoffs playing for the Phoenix Suns. Kidd led the Nets to back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals in 2002 and 2003, but he had his best statistical playoff run in 2007.
In 2007, Jason Kidd played in 12 playoff games and averaged 14.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 10.9 assists. He recorded two actual triple-doubles that post-season (the most he had in one post-season is four in 2002). But he became only the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double for an entire post-season. Oscar Robertson averaged a triple-double in the 1962 post-season, but he only played in four games.
3. Larry Bird - 10
Larry Bird had 10 triple-doubles in 164 playoff games, so he recorded a triple-double in 6.1% of his playoff games. Bird had 59 triple-doubles in 897 regular season games for a 6.6% average. So Bird had a slightly lower percentage of triple-doubles in the playoffs than he had during the regular season.
Larry Bird averaged 23.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per playoff game. So he averaged double figures in points and rebounds in most playoff games, and got triple-doubles when he got a lot of assists. Bird is eighth all-time in points, 10th all-time in rebounds and fourth all-time in assists in the playoffs.
4. Wilt Chamberlain - 9
Wilt Chamberlain is officially credited with nine triple-doubles in the playoffs in 160 games. He also had 78 triple-doubles in the regular season in 1,045 games played. But Wilt definitely had more than that since blocked shots were not counted during his career.
In 1967, in a playoff game vs the Boston Celtics, Wilt officially had 24 points, 32 rebounds and 13 assists, but he unofficially also had 12 blocks for a quadruple-double. There must have been other playoff and regular season games where Wilt had 10 or more blocks that would have completed more triple-doubles for him in his career.
5. Oscar Robertson - 8
Oscar Robertson had 8 official triple-doubles in 86 playoff games, and an all-time best 181 regular season triple-doubles in 1,040 regular season games. So the Big O averaged a triple-double 9.3% of the time in playoff games, and 17.4% of the time in regular season games.
Robertson is the only player to average a triple-double for an entire season, 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game in 1961-62. In the 1962 playoffs he also averaged a triple-double, 28.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 11.0 assists. But only in four games. When Jason Kidd, the only other player to average a triple-double for an entire post-season, averaged a triple-double in the 2007 playoffs, he played in 12 games.
LeBron James currently has six triple-doubles in 73 playoff games (8.2%). Lebron also has 32 regular season triple-doubles in 627 games (5.1%). So LeBron is a lot more likely to have a triple-double in a playoff game than a regular season game at this stage of his career.
To date, Rajon Rondo has five triple doubles in 66 playoff games, and 7 triple-doubles in 384 regular season games.
T-7. John Havlicek - 5
John Havlicek had five triple-doubles in 172 playoff games.
T-9. Charles Barkley - 4
Charles Barkley, the Round Mound of Rebound, had four triple-doubles in 123 playoff games.
T-9. Elgin Baylor - 4
Elgin Baylor had four triple-doubles in 134 playoff games.
T-9. Walt Frazier - 4
Clyde Frazier had four smooth triple-doubles in 93 playoff games with the New York Knicks.
T-9. Scottie Pippen - 4
Scottie Pippen had four triple-doubles in 208 playoff games. That is two more triple-doubles than Michael Jordan had in the playoffs.
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