Most points by a player in NBA Playoff game is 63 points from Michael Jordan in 1986. Jordan achieved the remarkable feat against Boston Celtics.
In the first-round playoff game between the Bulls and Celtics, Michael produced an unbelievable score of 63 points, setting the new league record for the most points in the NBA playoffs single game.
However, even with Jordan contributing to almost half of the Bulls' points, they could not emerge victorious, falling short by a narrow margin of four points, as the scoreline reflected 131-135.
Scoring 50 points in a single NBA game is an arduous achievement in its own right, but achieving it during a playoff game, which is inherently competitive, elevates the difficulty to a whole new level.
Thus, only a select group of 30 players throughout the league's history have managed to accomplish this impressive feat.
NBA Playoff Scoring Record Single Game Includes:
- Michael Jordan
- Elgin Baylor
- Donovan Mitchell
- Jimmy Butler
- Charles Barkley
- Wilt Chamberlain
- Damian Lillard
- Allen Iverson
- Rick Barry
- John Havlicek
1. Michael Jordan - 63 Points
Michael Jordan 63 points remain unrivaled as the most points in a NBA playoff game by a single player. Jordan made history in the second playoff game against the Celtics.
During his 15 seasons at the top-flight league, the 2009 Hall of Famer has won six NBA championships with the Bulls, being MVP in all six final matches, earning him the tag for the greatest of all time.
Jordan made the list for the most points in NBA playoff game by one player several times, including 56 points in 1992, 55 points three times, and 54 points in 1993.
The 6 and a half feet tall athlete played 13 seasons with Chicago before moving to the Washington Wizards in 2001, where he spent the last two years of his outstanding career.
2. Elgin Baylor - 61 Points
Elgin Baylor is second on the chart of the most playoff points NBA single game with 61 points. Baylor attained the feat against Boston in the 1962 NBA Finals.
He surpassed the previous record of 56 points set by Wilt Chamberlain just a month earlier in March 1962.
In game 5 of the Finals against the Celtics, Baylor had 22 rebounds and an assist helping his team Lakers win by 126-121.
Baylor had an illustrious NBA career spanning 14 seasons, during which he exclusively played for the Los Angeles Lakers from 1958 to 1972.
With 846 games under his belt, the 6-foot-5 small forward scored an average of 27.4 points, along with 13.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
3. Donovan Mitchell - 57 Points
Donovan Mitchell scored 57 points against the Denver Nuggets to climb third in the list of most points in NBA playoffs single game.
Mitchell delivered an exceptional performance showcasing his scoring ability during Game 1 of Playoffs Round One on August 17, 2023.
Likewise, Donovan Mitchell scored the second 51 points in game four of the same playoff on August 23, 2023, which catapulted him into the echelon of legendary players to have scored 50 or more points in more than one game.
The 6 feet and 1-inch tall guard pledges his loyalty to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Drafted by the Utah Jazz in 2017, he played there for four seasons before joining Cleveland in 2022.
4. Jimmy Butler - 56 Points
Jimmy Butler set a record for Miami Heat most points in a playoff game scoring 56 points against Milwaukee Bucks.
The six-time NBA All-Star had a remarkable game against the Bucks on April 24, 2023, in the Game Four of Playoffs Round One. He was instrumental in securing Miami's victory, leading them to a 119-114 triumph and a 3-1 lead in the series.
Drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 2011, Butler is 6 feet and 7 inches in height. He played for three other franchises after leaving the Bulls in 2017.
Jimmy joined Miami Heat via a four-team trade in 2019, where he has taken his game to the next level under head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Besides, Butler is marked with the accolade of being a four-time All-NBA Team Honoree and a five-time NBA All-Defensive Team Honoree.
5. Charles Barkley - 56 Points
Charles Barkley 56 points against the Golden State Warriors in 1994 was a career-high for him. It was also the highest-scoring playoff game NBA of his career.
On May 4, 1994, Barkley had an incredible performance in Game 3 of the Western Conference Round One between his Suns and the Warriors.
Barkley scored 56 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, and had 4 steals in the game. His scoring outburst helped the Suns win the game 140-133, securing a quarter-finals spot with a 3-0 series win over Golden State.
In his 15 years of NBA career, Charles has recorded 23,757 points, 22.1 on average. He is also the 1993 NBA Most Valuable Player and 11 times NBA All-Star inductee.
6. Wilt Chamberlain - 56 Points
Wilt Chamberlain set an NBA playoff scoring record single game of that time with 56 points against Syracuse Nationals in 1962.
He consistently produced more points when matched up against Syracuse resulting in a fruitful outcome for him and Philadelphia.
In the 1962 Division Semifinals, when his team, the Philadelphia Warriors, faced Syracuse, Chamberlain eclipsed his own previous high score of 53 points which he achieved against the same rival, Syracuse Nationals, on March 14, 1960.
The Philadelphia native with a towering height of 7-foot-1 was a two times NBA champion, with the 76ers in 1967 and with the Lakers in 1972.
7. Damian Lillard - 55 Points
Damian Lillard scored 55 points in a game against the Denver Nuggets in 2021. Lillard made 17 of his 24 field goal attempts including 12 of 17 from 3-point range.
The Portland Trail Blazers Point Guard also made 9 out of 10 free throw attempts and added 10 assists and 6 rebounds in the Western Conference Playoffs Round One game.
However, the Blazers lost the game 140-147 to the Nuggets, eventually losing the series 2-4, and could not reach the Conference Semifinals.
Damian Lillard, since joining Portland in the 2012 NBA Draft, has won the NBA All-Star seven times and All-NBA First Team one time in 2018.
8. Allen Iverson - 55 Points
Allen Iverson put up an impressive performance scoring 55 points in a game against the New Orleans Hornets. The 76ers won the game 98 to 90.
In addition to his 55 points, Iverson recorded four rebounds, eight assists, and two steals in the game. He shot 21-for-32 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, and made 10-for-11 free throw attempts.
Iverson led Philadelphia to a 4-2 win against the Hornets in April 2003, qualifying for the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Allen won the prestigious NBA Most Valuable Player award in 2001 over the likes of Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tracy Mcgrady.
9. Rick Barry - 55 Points
Most points in a playoff game by a rookie is 55 points by Rick Barry in the 1967 NBA Finals. Rick achieved the feat against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Barry played as a small forward for the San Francisco Warriors (now Golden State Warriors) and led his team to a 130-124 victory over the 76ers in Game 3 of the series.
His 55 points came on 22-of-48 shooting from the field and 11-of-19 shooting from the free-throw line. He also added 12 rebounds and five assists.
His scoring output was the second-highest in NBA Finals history then, trailing only Elgin Baylor's 61-point game in 1962. With Barry's heroics, the Warriors clinched the coveted NBA championship in a 4-2 victory.
10. John Havlicek - 54 Points
John Havlicek netted 54 points in a game against the Atlanta Hawks. This was a career-high for Havlicek which led Celtics to a 134-109 victory.
The legendary NBA player played for the Boston Celtics from 1962 to 1978. He singlehandedly destroyed Atlanta on April 1, 1973 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Havlicek had an exceptional 24 out of 36 field goal attempts and a hundred percent free throw attempts, including 9 REB and 6 assists.
John was an eight-time NBA champion, a 1994 NBA Finals MVP, and a 13-time NBA All-Star. His number 17 jersey was retired by the Celtics in 1978, and he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1984.
11. Isaiah Thomas - 53 Points
Isaiah Thomas scored 53 points against Washington Wizards in May 2017. It is a career-high performance for Isaiah in the playoffs to date.
Thomas also became the second player in Celtics annals to score 50+ points in a playoff game, joining the NBA icon John Havlicek.
Isiah was aggressive from the start of that game, scoring 53 points on 18-of-33 shooting, including 5-of-12 from three-point range. He also made 12-of-13 free throws, grabbed 4 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists.
The two times NBA All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas joined the Charlotte Hornets in March 2022.
12. Jerry West - 53 Points
Jerry West 53 point performance in game one of the 1969 NBA Finals gave the Lakers a 1-0 lead over Celtics.
West put on a scoring clinic, hitting shots from all over the floor. Jerry made 21 shots, including 11 of his 13 free throw attempts. Besides he also contributed 3 rebounds and ten assists in the game.
However, the Lakers would ultimately lose the series and the Larry O'Brien trophy to the Celtics in seven games on May 5, 1969. The formidable Lakers gave away the 2-0 lead and lost the series 3-4 to the aging Boston team.
13. LeBron James - 51 Points
LeBron James 51 points against the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 NBA Finals catapulted him into the list of most playoff points in NBA single game.
James was playing his fourth NBA Finals when he produced one of the greatest individual performances in the history of the playoffs.
However, his 51 points were not enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers to win the game, as they lost 114-124 against the Warriors. Cleveland would then lose the remaining three games, losing the series unexpectedly 4-0 and handing over the NBA title to the Warriors.
Besides, LeBron also popular as King James has cemented his legacy in NBA history books. He broke the record for the highest number of points scored in the league, totaling a staggering 38,652.
14. Russell Westbrook - 51 Points
Russell Westbrook of the Los Angeles Clippers scored 51 points in the 2017 NBA playoffs. It was his first fifty-pointer in a single game.
The 6-foot-3 Point guard recorded an impressive 51 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder against the Houston Rockets on April 19, 2017.
Westbrook was exceptional throughout the game, shooting 17-of-43 from the field, one out of seven from beyond the arc, and 15-of-18 from the free-throw line. He also added 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
What made Russell's performance even more impressive was that he hit a game-winning three-pointer in the game's final seconds to give the Thunder a 115-113 victory.
15. Ray Allen - 51 Points
Ray Allen 51 point performance came while playing for Boston Celtics under head coach Doc Rivers. Ray starred against LA Lakers in game six of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
His remarkable score tally could not help Celtics as they lost the game with a single point. Ray shot 18-of-32 from the field, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out three assists.
His remarkable career in the NBA yielded 10 All-Star game selections and 2 NBA championship victories, earning him a revered place in the Hall of Fame in 2018.
Moreover, as one of the greatest three-point shooters to ever grace the court, Allen held the record for most three-pointers made in a career until Steph Curry overtook him in 2021.