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NBA Finals records: Leading scorers, top performances, highest single-game scoring, triple doubles

The 2024 NBA Finals feature plenty of star talent between the Dallas MavericksLuka Doncic and Kyrie Irving as well as the Boston CelticsJayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, among other big names. Given the stakes, the finals have always been a setting where elite performances become iconic, and this year’s stars have their work cut out for them if they are to match the achievements of legends past.

Read on to learn more about the players who have left the greatest mark on the NBA’s biggest stage – the greatest winners, performers and record-holders in the league's history.

Which player has the most titles in NBA history?

Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell boasts the most NBA championships of any player in the league’s history with a staggering 11 titles. He racked up so many rings that two had to go on the same finger.

Bill Russell...
Bill Russell...

Russell was the leader of the Celtics’ dynasty in the 1950s and 1960s, which saw Boston win 11 of 13 titles between 1957 and 1969. Naturally, his teammates make up much of the top of the list for most NBA titles; Sam Jones ranks second all-time with 10, and then four more Celtics – John Havlicek, Tom Heinsohn, K.C. Jones and Tom Sanders – are tied at eight.

The first non-Celtic on the list is Robert Horry, who won seven titles during his years with the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in the 1990s and 2000s. Naturally, he is tied with another member of Boston’s golden era in Frank Ramsey.

Which players have been to the NBA Finals the most times?

The story for NBA Finals appearances is similar, at least at the very top. Russell leads the way with 12, with Sam Jones right behind at 11.

This is where the influx of Los Angeles Lakers comes in. LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – not so coincidentally, the league’s two all-time leading scorers – have both made 10 finals appearances. Magic Johnson and Jerry West, along with Heinsohn, are up next with nine.

What’s the most points ever scored in an NBA Finals game?

Lakers great Elgin Baylor holds the record for highest-scoring finals game after he scored 61 in Game 5 of the 1962 NBA Finals against the Celtics. Los Angeles needed just about every point, too, as it defeated Boston 126-121 at the Boston Garden to take a 3-2 series lead. The Celtics would win the final two games of the series, though, to earn their fifth championship.

Michael Jordan and Rick Barry each scored 55 to slot in for second. Jordan’s came in the Chicago Bulls’ 111-105 win over the Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals, giving Chicago a 3-1 lead it would not relinquish. Barry hit his number in the San Francisco Warriors’ 130-124 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3 of the 1967 NBA Finals, but Wilt Chamberlain and the 76ers ultimately won that series.

Only four other players have reached 50 or more points in an NBA Finals game: West (53 in Game 1 of the 1969 NBA Finals); James (51 in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals); Giannis Antetokounmpo (50 in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals); and Bob Pettit (50 in Game 6 of the 1958 NBA Finals).

Who has the highest scoring average in the NBA Finals?

The aforementioned Barry holds the highest career NBA Finals scoring average; he put up 36.3 points per game over that 1967 loss to the 76ers and the Warriors’ 1975 sweep of the Washington Bullets.

Allen Iverson and Antetokounmpo are not far behind, with averages of 35.6 and 35.2, respectively, in their lone finals appearances. Antetokounmpo was the only one of the two to take a trophy from his finals run, though.

Only four other players average 30-plus points per game in their finals career. Jordan (33.6 points per game in 35 finals games) and West (30.5 points per game in 55 finals games) are the players with the longest sustained scoring success of the group. Kevin Durant and Nikola Jokic just top the 30-point mark at 30.3 and 30.2, respectively.

Most points scored in Game 7 of the NBA Finals

In a strange twist of fate, none of the top three player scoring performances in Game 7 of an NBA Finals have resulted in victory. It does make a bit more sense when you hear all three came against Russell’s Celtics.

West holds the high-water mark with 42 in Game 7 of the 1969 NBA Finals, which Boston won 108-106 for Russell’s 11th and final championship. Baylor put the finishing touches on a stunning 1962 finals performance with 41 in Game 7, but the Celtics escaped with a 110-107 victory. Pettit’s 39 in the final matchup of the 1957 finals were not enough, as the Celtics escaped 125-123 for Russell’s first ring.

That 1957 series conclusion also saw Heinsohn go for 37 in the win, tied with James’ performance in 2013 for fourth-highest Game 7 scoring output by a player and the most in a victory.

Most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history

The raw totals here are dominated by two legends who wore purple and gold. James has 11 triple-doubles in 55 finals games to top the list. Johnson is not too far behind at eight in 50 finals games.

Draymond Green is up next with three in 33 finals games. Also of note: Jokic had two over the five games of the 2023 NBA Finals, giving him easily the best ratio of triple-doubles to finals games.