With the conference finals yet to start, the 2018 NBA Playoffs are far from over. Yet, we’ve already seen some of the greatest individual performances in league history history.
So far, six out of the top 100 single game performances in NBA history have occurred during this postseason. Considering the 71-year existence of the NBA, all of the great players, and all of the historic performances that have come before, that is really impressive.
To evaluate a player’s overall performance in a game, we will use Game Score, which takes into account almost everything a player does during a game that can be quantified. These statistics are then weighted and added together to get a game score. The formula is: PTS + 0.4 * FG – 0.7 * FGA – 0.4*(FTA – FT) + 0.7 * ORB + 0.3 * DRB + STL + 0.7 * AST + 0.7 * BLK – 0.4 * PF – TOV. To put into perspective, a Game Score of 10 points is considered an average performance, 40 is incredible, etc.
Let us take a look at these six performances. (Spoiler alert: there are quite a few LeBron James performances here.)
6. LeBron James; Round 1, Game 5 vs Indiana Pacers
5. LeBron James; Round 1, Game 7 vs Indiana Pacers
With barely any of his Cavaliers teammates stepping up, LeBron James almost literally had to carry all of them behind his back just to make it through the pesky but unproven Indiana Pacers in seven games. His performance in Game 5 is already one of his most iconic games because of his game-saving block and subsequent game-winning three-pointer to take a 3-2 series lead. Game 7, on the other hand, was perhaps his most important non-Finals game of his career. Had the Cavs lost that game, it would’ve been the first time in LeBron’s career that he would’ve been eliminated in the first round. Many also felt like it would’ve been his last game as a Cavalier. Fortunately for Cavs fans, ‘The King’ had other plans.
4. Anthony Davis; Round 1, Game 4 vs Portland Trailblazers
No one on the Trailblazers’ roster could match-up with Davis as he led the New Orleans Pelicans to a surprising sweep over the Portland Trailblazers in their first round match-up. As an exclamation mark to the Pelicans’ domination in the series, Anthony Davis put up his best career playoff game in Game 4 to complete the sweep. The scary thing is, at only 25 years old, the best is yet to come for ‘The Brow’.
3. Chris Paul; Round 2, Game 5 vs Utah Jazz
There was no stopping Chris Paul from making his first ever conference finals this year. With his backcourt partner and likely MVP winner James Harden struggling from the floor against the Utah Jazz, CP3 took matters into his own hands by scoring 20 points (including 13 straight at one point) in the fourth quarter to clinch the series and silence the haters.
2. LeBron James; Round 1, Game 2 vs Indiana Pacers
Having three of the top six performances in the playoffs so far come from the same series is a testament to how much LeBron James had to do to will his Cavs team past the first round. After Indiana won Game 1 on the Cavs’ home floor, LeBron made sure that his team wouldn’t go down 0-2 going into Games 3 and 4 at Indiana by showing everyone why he is still the best player in the world.
1. LeBron James; Round 2, Game 2 vs Toronto Raptors
LeBron has the Toronto Raptors’ number and he knows it. His Cavs have now eliminated the Toronto Raptors in the playoffs for three straight years and have won 10 straight playoff games against the team from the north. The most amazing aspect of James’ performance in Game 2 was that he didn’t even seem to try that hard to dominate. After mainly being a facilitator in the first half, LeBron decided to practice his turn-around jumpers in the mid-range and ended up having everyone watch the game in awe and disbelief with his improbable shot-making. Here’s to hoping that ‘The King’ has some more incredible games in store for the rest of the playoffs
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