NBA bubble / 2020 playoffs by the numbers

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A number of NBA playoff records were set or broken and rulers of the the statistical rankings changed during the first round of the NBA 2020 post-season. Without any ado, here are the significant numbers involved:

[This list will be updated upon completion of the 2020 playoff games that resulted to breaking of records or statistical significance]

TEAM PLAYOFF RUN RECORDS

1. The Miami Heat’s participation in the 2020 Eastern Conference finals is the 5th under Erik Spoelstra. That ties with the Warriors and Cavaliers for most conference finals appearances in NBA playoff history since Spoelstra became head coach in 2008-09. (ESPN stats and info)

2. The Heat are also the 3rd team seeded 5th or lower over the last 25 postseasons to reach the Conference Finals, joining the 2013 Grizzlies and 1999 Knicks. (ESPN stats and info)

TEAM SCORING

1. The Los Angeles Clippers’ 154 points in Game 5 of their round series are the third most points by a team in NBA playoff history. That only trails the 157 of the Boston Celtics in 1990 and the 156 of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1970 (Source: StatMuse)
The Toronto Raptors were on the brink of approaching this record as they scored 150 in Game 4 of their own first round series.

2. 100 of the 150 points the Raptors scored in Game 4 of their first round series were contributed by the bench. This is the most ever in NBA history, both in the playoffs and regular season combined, since starters and bench players began to officially be determined in the 1970-71 season. (Source: NBA.com/stats)

TEAM SHOOTING EFFICIENCY

1. The Houston Rockets attempted 56 three point shots in Game 4 of their first round series. That breaks the previous record of 52 most three-point attempts in a playoff game they had previously set. A total of four different Rockets teams have now attempted at least 50 three point shots in a playoff game. (StatMuse)

Update: StatMuse reported the Rockets attempted 58 treys, the new record, during Game 4 of their first round series and 53, the new third most, during Game 2 of the conference semifinals. Here are the new most three pointers attempted in an NBA playoff game: 58- Rockets vs OKC, Game 4 first round; 56-Rockets vs OKC Game 2 first round; 53-Rockets vs Lakers, Game 2 semis; 52 – Rockets vs OKC Game 1 first round; 52-Rockets in 2018.

2. The Rockets hit 17 three point shots in Game 7 of their first round series. That ties the Golden State Warriors for the most ever in a Game 7. The Warriors also hit 17 during the 2016 Western Conference finals where they came back from a 1-3 deficit to advance to the finals. (NBA.com/stats)

3. The Los Angeles Lakers shot 5 of 32 from three in Game 1 against Portland in the first round. That’s the second worst three point shooting percentage in a playoff game by any team with at least 30 three-point attempts in NBA history.
The only lower % belongs to the Oklahoma City Thunder (5-33) in Game 1 of the first round of the 2019 playoffs vs… The Blazers! (StatMuse)

4. By shooting 63.1% from the floor and 62.9% beyond the arc, the Clippers are also the only team to score 150 or more points on 60% or better field goal percentage and 60% or better on treys in a playoff game. (StatMuse)

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MITCHELL VS MURRAY SHOOTOUT

The Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray duel during the Denver-Utah matchup in the Western Conference first round resulted to new records in many aspects:

1. Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell poured 57 points in Game 1 against Denver. This is the third single game high in playoffs history. Only Michael Jordan (63 vs Boston in 1986) and Elgin Baylor (61 vs Boston in 1962) had more. (Source: NBA.com/stats)

2. In Game 4 of the Utah-Denver series, Mitchell scored 51 points while Murray scored 50. They became the first opposing players to score at least 50 points in an NBA playoff game. No other opposing pair had more 45 each in any other instance. (Source: NBA.com/stats)

3. In addition, Mitchell’s 57 points in Game 1 and 51 in Game 4 enabled him to join Allen Iverson (2001) and Michael Jordan (1998) as the only players who scored two 50+ point games in a playoff series (NBA.com/stats).

Jordan did his during the 1988 Eastern Conference First round against Cleveland. He scored 50 in Game 1 and 55 in Game 2. Iverson did his during the 2001 Eastern Conference semifinals against Toronto. He scored 54 in Game 2 and 52 in Game 5.  StatMuse, however, also named Wilt Chamberlain as one of players with multiple 50-point games in a single playoff run.

It didn’t take long for Jamal Murray to join this group. Murray followed his 50 point Game 4 output with another 50 in Game 6. For good measure, he also scored 42 in Game 5.

4. Mitchell is the first player in NBA history to average at least 35 points while shooting at least 50% from the field, 50% from three point land, and 90% at the free throw line in a single playoff run. (StatMuse) In the seven games Utah played against Denver in first round Western Conference match-up, Mitchell averaged 36.3 points while shooting 52.9% from the floor, 51.6% from trey, and 94.8% from the line. (Basketball Reference)

5. The pair of Murray and Mitchell broke a 50-year old record as they now own the highest combined score by a pair of players in an NBA playoff series.  The pair finished their series scoring a combined for 475 points. The record was previously held by Boston’s John Havlicek and the Lakers Jerry West who combined for 463 points during the 1969 NBA Finals. (NBA.com/stats)

LEBRON JAMES CONTINUES TO FILL THE LONGEVITY STAT SHEET

1. LeBron James finished Game 1 of their first round series with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists. He is the first player in playoffs history to record a 20+ point, 15+ rebound, and 15+ assist triple double. His 16 assists is also his peresonal career-high. This is Lebron’s 24th career playoff triple-double, trailing only Magic Johnson’s 30. (NBA.com/stats)

2. LeBron went for 28 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals, becoming the second player since 1973-74 to reach those thresholds in an NBAplayoff game. Russell Westbrook with the Thunder (29 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks on April 23, 2019) was the first to do it. (NBA.com/stats)

3. LeBron scored 38 points in Game 3 of the Lakers’first round series. He is the third oldest player in NBA history to drop 38+ points in a playoff game behind Karl Malone and Reggie Miller. (StatMuse)

4. It appears LeBron doesn’t seem to mind starting a playoff series in a loss or being down in any point of a playoff series. James has a decent 11-8 record when trailing starting a best-of-7 series 0-1. He increased that to 13 wins when trailing at any point of a best-of-7 series. According to Elias, both figures are the most by any player all-time. (ESPN stats and info)

INDIVIDUAL SCORING

1. After Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals, the Lakers are 16-1 when Anthony Davis and LeBron James combine for 60 points, including the playoffs. That is the 2nd-best record by a duo in NBA history who played at least 15 games. Only Kobe and Shaq in 2000, with 95.2% win percentage, is better. (ESPN stats and info)

INDIVIDUAL SHOOTING EFFICIENCY

1. Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson made 7 of his 8 three point shot attempts in Game 3 of The Heat’s first round series to finish with 24 points. He joins Robert Horry as the only players in NBA history to make 7 or more threes without taking any 2-point attempts in a playoff game. (StatMuse)

2. Houston Rocket James Harden do not want to own this record but his stat sheet in the playoffs shows he has recorded 8 career playoff games where he shot 20% from the floor and 20% from three point land or worse. His 8 are the most by any player in NBA history when at least 10 field goal attempts were taken. (StatMuse)

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FRANCHISE RECORDS

Brooklyn Nets

Caris LeVert had a career-high 15 assists against the Raptors in Game 1 of the first round. That is the second most by a Nets player in franchise history. Only Jason Kidd has more (19). (StatgMuse)

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns have officially claimed the greatest free-throw shooting season by a team in NBA history. Here’s the top 4 free-throws accuracy performances in a season: (1) 83.4% by Suns in 2019-20, (2) 83.2 % by the Celtics in 1989-90, (3) 82.9% by the Dallas Mavericks in 2002-03, (4) 82.8 % by the Thunder in 2012-13. (StatMuse)

Philadelphia

1. The Sixers 0-4 loss to the Celtics in the first round is the 76ers first sweep loss against the Celtics in 14 playoff matches totaling to 81 games. Incidentally, it is the first since 1999 when Reggie Miller and the Indiana Pacers knocked out the Allen Iverson-led Sixers in the Eastern conference semis. (Inside the NBA)

2. The Sixers owned one of the most defining home-away record in the 2020 season. They were 29-2 at home, the best in the NBA this season. They are just 14-32 on the road, including games played in the bubble. (Inside the NBA)

3. Joel Embiid became the fourth player to have four consecutive games with at least 25 points and 15 rebounds in 76ers playoff history. Wilt Chamberlain leads the group by doing it in five game during 1965-66 season . Charles Barkley (1986), and Moses Malone (1983) also did it in four. (Inside the NBA)

4. The Sixers shot 29.8% in Game 3, their worst FG% in a playoff game since the 3-point era (1980). (StatMuse)

By: Armando M. Bolislis

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