The 2021 NBA Playoffs are finally here, kicking off with the new Play-In Tournament on May 18.
Among the East's play-in battles, Bradley Beal returned from a hamstring injury to lead the Wizards to a win on Sunday and the No. 8 spot, setting up a game with the fading Celtics.
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 Chicago Bulls.
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.
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.
Dennis Rodman set the Bulls’ record for most rebounds in a postseason game … twice. Rodman first tallied 21 rebounds on May 19, 1996 in a win over the Orlando Magic, and did it again on May 13, 1998 against the Charlotte Hornets.
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.
Four Bulls players are tied for the franchise playoff assists record. Sam Vincent tallied 14 assists in 1988, Jordan did it 1993, Kirk Hinrich in 2013, and Rajon Rondo joined the club during the 2017 postseason.
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.
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.
On April 25, 2014, Mike Dunleavy set the Bulls’ playoff record. Dunleavy netted 8 3-pointers in a win over the Wizards.
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.
Jordan also holds the Bulls’ record for most free throws made in a playoff game. On May 14, 1989, he netted a fitting 23 free throws against the New York Knicks.
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.
Joakim Noah is the Bulls’ record-holder for most blocks in a playoff game. On May 4, 2013, he blocked 6 shots against the Brooklyn Nets.
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.
Scottie Pippen etched his name in the Bulls’ record books on May 19, 1991 with the most steals in a single playoff game. He recorded 6 steals against the Detroit Pistons.
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.
The Bulls’ record of 60 minutes in a playoff game is tied between John Salmons and Kirk Hinrich. Salmons did it first during Game 6 of the first round of the 2009 NBA Eastern Conference -- a triple overtime win over the Celtics. Hinrich then recorded 60 minutes of playing time during Game 4 of the first round of the 2013 NBA Eastern Conference -- another triple overtime win for the Bulls, this one over the Nets.
James Best and Kelley Ekert contributed to this story.