clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kevin Durant is the most efficient scorer in NBA Finals history

Durant averaged 35.2 points on 50-40-90 club numbers.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Five Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Kevin Durant scored 39 points on 14-of-20 shooting to lead the Warriors to a Game 5 NBA Finals victory over the Cavaliers Monday. In doing so, Golden State went 16-1, with one of the most impressive playoffs runs we have ever seen.

But Durant was on an impressive run, too. On the path to claiming NBA Finals MVP, he pelted the Cavaliers with remarkable precision. Through five games, Durant averaged 35.2 points on 55.5 percent shooting from the field, 47.4 percent shooting from beyond the three-point arc, and 92.7 percent shooting from the foul line.

In doing so, Durant became the most efficient scorer in NBA Finals history.

Only one other player has ever averaged at least 30 points per game on 50 percent shooting from both the field and the three-point line, as well as at least 90 percent from the foul line. That was Magic Johnson in 1987, but he only attempted two three-pointers in his six-game series against the Boston Celtics.

A few other NBA greats were close to Durant’s mark:

  • Michael Jordan in 1992: 35.8 points, 53 percent from the field, 42.9 percent from three, and 89.1 percent from the line
  • Chauncey Billups in 2004: 21 points, 51 percent from the field, 47.1 percent from three, 92.9 percent from the line.
  • Ray Allen in 2008: 20.3 points, 51 percent from the field, 52 percent from three, 87 percent from the line
  • Penny Hardaway (swept by Rockets) in 1995: 25.5 points, 50 percent from the field, 45.8 percent from three, 91.3 percent from the line

This is why Kevin Durant came to Golden State

Durant scoring 30-plus points in the Finals isn’t anything new. He just recorded his seventh 30-point Finals game, a mark that started during his first trip to the Finals in 2012 with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Durant could always get buckets. That was never the issue. It was the quality of those buckets that he wanted to improve.

The numbers don’t do his move to Oakland justice. Durant averaged 30.6 points on borderline 50-40-90 club numbers during the 2012 Finals. His numbers, while improved, were similar this time around.

But Durant looked more comfortable. His shots weren’t rushed. The move didn’t become a competition between two alpha dogs — Durant and Stephen Curry — like many predicted. The Warriors put the team first, and in doing so, they did the unthinkable.

Now, Durant has a championship ring, a Finals MVP, and a spot in the NBA record books with his name on it. That’s gotta feel good. It just has to.