Jun 15, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT
Will LeBron James score 46 points and/or lead the Heat to victory in Game 5 on Sunday?
Either task will be difficult, and if LeBron accomplishes neither, Kevin Durant will lead the 2014 playoffs in points.
It would be just the fourth time a player led a postseason in scoring without reaching the Finals. The other three:
- 1990:Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
- 1989:Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls
- 1961:Elgin Baylor, Los Angeles Lakers
Perhaps even more remarkably, LeBron is poised to become the only player in the Finals to rank in the top four of scoring this postseason. Here’s the current leaderboard:
1. Kevin Durant (OKC), 563
2. LeBron James (MIA), 517
3. Russell Westbrook (OKC), 507
4. Paul George (IND), 429
5. Tony Parker (SAS), 384
6. Tim Duncan (SAS), 360
7. Dwyane Wade (MIA), 345
8. Manu Ginobili (SAS), 311
Will Parker score 45 points Sunday? I’d even bet against him scoring 45 in the next two games combined if the series reaches a Game 6.
Here’s how frequently four, three and two Finals players have cracked the top four in postseason scoring:
- Four: 30
- Three: 26
- Two: 11
Only one would be a first.
Here’s a full history of the top four scorers in each postseason.
NBA champions are blue. Finals losers are orange. LeBron – whose fate has yet to be determined – is green. Those who didn’t reach the Finals are white and therefore don’t appear here.
To view a larger version with the ability to mouse over players and see more info, click here.
The Spurs, if they hold on to win the series before one of their players climbs the scoring ranks, would become just fifth NBA champion without a player in the top four of postseason scoring. The four to do it:
- 1990 Detroit Pistons
- 1963 Boston Celtics
- 1961 Boston Celtics
- 1960 Boston Celtics
Maybe this says something about the value of balance and teamwork. Maybe it’s just coincidence.
I’m not sure. I just found it interesting.
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