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Will any of Gilbert Arenas’ postseason records be broken in 2021? originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The 2021 NBA Playoffs are finally here, kicking off with the new Play-In Tournament on May 18.
NBA players historically have gone all out when their team’s season is on the line. As we enter this year’s postseason, here are some of the current playoff records held around the league and on the Washington Wizards.
Who has scored the most points in a single NBA playoff game?
On April 20, 1986, Michael Jordan scored 63 points for the Chicago Bulls during a playoff game versus the Celtics. In an eventual loss for the Bulls, 23-year-old Jordan put up a monster Game 2 against Larry Bird and Co. to etch his name in the history books. Jordan’s record-breaking scoring came in double overtime, though -- in regulation, Elgin Baylor scored 61 points for the Los Angeles Lakers on April 14, 1962.
In Washington’s franchise history, Elvin Hayes holds the record for his 46-point performance (back when they were the Bullets) on April 20, 1975 against the Buffalo Braves.
Which player holds the NBA record for most rebounds in one playoff game?
Wilt Chamberlain tallied 41 rebounds in one playoff game during his performance for the Philadelphia Sixers against the Celtics on April 5, 1967. The Sixers went on to win the NBA Finals that season -- defeating Chamberlain’s former team, the Warriors, 4-2. Chamberlain still holds the NBA record for most career rebounds with 23,924.
Wes Unseld holds the record for the most rebounds in a Washington playoff game. He tallied 23 rebounds in a Bullets game against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 28, 1971. And then, Unseld did it again the next game on April 30.
Who holds the NBA playoff record for most assists in a single game?
There is a tie between Magic Johnson and John Stockton for most assists in a single NBA playoff game. On May 15, 1984, Johnson tallied 24 assists for the Lakers against the Phoenix Suns. Stockton did the same on May 17, 1988 for the Utah Jazz in a game against the Lakers, giving Johnson a taste of his own medicine.
John Wall set the Wizards’ record for most assists in a playoff game on April 21, 2015 when he made 17 in Game 2 of a 4-0 series sweep against the Toronto Raptors.
Who holds the NBA playoff record for most field goals in a single game?
On May 1, 1988, Jordan set another NBA playoff record for most field goals in a single game. Jordan shot 24-for-45, finishing the Bulls’ Game 2 against the Cleveland Cavaliers with 55 points. It was in this historic match that Jordan also became the first player to score 50+ points in consecutive playoff games after putting up 50 points in Game 1.
During the same 1975 game when Hayes made Washington playoff history for most points scored, he did so with the franchise’s most field goals scored in a single postseason game. In his 46-point performance against the Braves, Hayes went 19-for-26 and finished the game with a .731 FG%.
Which player has made the most 3-pointers in one NBA playoff game?
Klay Thompson holds the NBA record for most 3s in a playoff game. On May 28, 2016, Thompson made 11 3-pointers for the Warriors to force a Western Conference Finals Game 7 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Though he won’t be able to participate in this year’s postseason, his teammate Steph Curry has over 300 3-pointers on the season (again), and would be just the person to break Thompson’s single-game record.
The most 3-pointers that a Wizard has scored in one playoff game is 6, and three players have done it in their careers. Gilbert Arenas first did it in 2006, Trevor Ariza did it twice during the 2014 playoffs, and Bradley Beal did it a final time in 2018.
Who has made the most free throws during a single NBA playoff game?
Before the Blazers’ epic Game 3 victory over the Denver Nuggets in 2019, the last NBA playoff game to go to quadruple overtime was back in 1953. On March 21, the Celtics took four overtimes to defeat the Syracuse Nationals 111-105 in Game 2 of the Eastern Division Semifinals. It was during this intense match -- which set a record for the most personal fouls in a playoff game with 106 -- that Bob Cousy set the NBA record for most free throws made in a single playoff game. Cousy’s 30-for-32 performance from the line helped him accumulate 50 points in the Celtics’ win.
Washington’s record belongs to Jeff Ruland. He went 15-for-17 on free throws for the Bullets in a loss to the Celtics on May 5, 1982.
Who holds the NBA record for most blocks in a playoff game?
The league record for most blocks in a single playoff game is tied between three players. Mark Eaton first tallied 10 blocks for the Utah Jazz against the Houston Rockets on April 26, 1985. Then, Hakeem Olajuwon blocked 10 shots for the Rockets against the Lakers on April 29, 1990. Most recently, Andrew Bynum finished a playoff game with 10 blocks for the Lakers against the Nuggets on April 29, 2012.
Manute Bol is Washington’s record-holder for most blocks in a playoff game. On April 18, 1986, he blocked 9 shots for the Bullets in a one-point win over the Sixers.
Which player holds the NBA playoff record for most steals in one game?
On May 13, 1999, Iverson became the first and only player to ever record 10 steals in a playoff game. Iverson stole the ball 10 times from the Orlando Magic, and ended his magnificent performance with 33 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for the Sixers.
Arenas is also the Wizards’ record holder for most steals in a playoff game. On May 8, 2005, he recorded 6 steals in a loss against the Miami Heat.
Who has played the most minutes in a single NBA playoff game?
Red Rocha and Paul Seymour are tied for the most minutes played in a single NBA playoff game. During the infamous March 21, 1953 quadruple overtime game against the Boston Celtics, Rocha and Seymour each played 67 minutes for the Syracuse Nationals. In that same game, Cousy cemented himself at No. 2 on the list by playing 66 minutes for the Celtics. It wasn’t until decades later -- during 2019’s 4OT Blazers-Nuggets playoff match -- that another player came close, with Nikola Jokic clocking 65 minutes.
Arenas also holds the Wizards’ record for most minutes in a playoff game … and he did it twice, back-to-back. Games 5 and 6 against the Cavaliers in the first round of the 2006 NBA Eastern Conference went to overtime. In Game 5 on May 3, Arenas tallied 52 minutes and 38 seconds of playing time, and then during Game 6 on May 5, Arenas played for 53 minutes to set the franchise record.
James Best and Kelley Ekert contributed to this story.