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Most points scored in a half in NBA Playoffs history by player
These are the players who have scored the most points in an NBA playoff game in one half. The most points ever scored by a player in a playoff game is 63 by Michael Jordan in 1986. But that game went into double OT, and Jordan scored nine of his points in the OT periods. Jordan scored 31 points in the second half of that game, but that falls well short of the record for most points in a playoff game half.
In this year's playoffs (2011), Dwight Howard(notes) of the Orlando Magic also scored 31 points in the first half of the first playoff game in the opening round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs vs the Atlanta Hawks. Despite Howard's heroics, he scored 46 points in the game, the Hawks won the game, and the series, over the Magic.
The player who scored the most points in a playoff half was drafted in the first round of the 1982 NBA Draft by my favorite NBA team, the New Jersey Nets. But he did not set the record while playing for the Nets .
Most Points Scored in a Half in NBA Playoff History by Player
1. Sleepy Floyd - 39
On May 10, 1987, Eric Sleepy Floyd of the Golden State Warriors scored 39 points in the second half of the fourth game of the Western Conference Semifinals vs the Los Angeles Lakers. Sleepy scored 10 points in the third quarter, and then exploded for a record 29 points in the fourth quarter of the game, as the Warriors defeated the Lakers by a score of 129-121.
The Warriors had lost the first three games of that playoff series, and were desperately trying to avoid being swept, when Sleepy Floyd exploded in the second half. He ended up scoring 51 points in the game, making 18 out of 26 shots from the field, including two out of three from three-point range, and 13 out of 14 free throws. The Warriors lost the next game, and the series, to the Lakers.
Sleepy Floyd was drafted by Nets as the 13th overall pick in the 1982 NBA Draft. The Nets traded him during his rookie season to the Warriors for Michael Ray Richardson. He came back to the Nets and played his 13th and final season with us in 1994-95. Sleepy retired with a 12.8 regular season points per game average, and a 13.0 playoff game average in 36 playoff games.
2. Charles Barkley - 38
On May 4, 1994, Charles Barkley of the Phoenix Suns scored 38 points in the first half of the third game of the opening round of the Western Conference Playoffs vs the Golden State Warriors. Barkley poured in 27 points in the first quarter, and added 11 more in the second quarter. The Suns defeated the Warriors 140-133, to complete a three game sweep.
Overall, Charles Barkley, whose nickname was the Round Mound of Rebound, scored 56 points in the game. That is tied (with Wilt Chamberlain and Michael Jordan) for the third highest point total in a playoff game in NBA history.
Barkley was a great playoff performer in his career. He averaged 23.0 points and 12.9 rebounds in 123 playoff games.He never won a championship, but never had the great supporting cast needed to win a championship around him.
3. Michael Jordan - 37
On April 29, 1992, Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls scored 37 points in the second half of the third game of the opening round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs vs the Miami Heat. Jordan only scored two points in the first quarter of the game, but then exploded for 17 points in the second quarter, and 37 in the second half.
Jordan scored 56 points in the game, which is the third highest point total by a player in NBA playoff history (tied with Barkley and Wilt). The Bulls won the game, 119-114, completing a three-game sweep of the Heat. Michael Jordan scored 50 or more points an amazing eight times in the playoffs in his incredible career.
Other Players Who Scored 32 or More Points in a Playoff Half
Here are some more players who scored at least 32 points in a playoff half.
Elgin Baylor - 33
Elgin Baylor poured in 33 points in the first half of an NBA Finals game vs the Boston Celtics in 1962. Baylor scored 61 points in the game, the second highest total in NBA playoff history, and highest ever for a Finals game.
Michael Jordan - 33
Jordan poured in 33 points in the first half of an NBA Finals game vs the Phoenix Suns in 1993. Jordan scored 55 points in the game.
Jerry West - 32
Jerry West scored 32 points, including the game's final four points in the last 23 seconds of the game, in the second half of a playoff game victory (118-115) over the Washington Bullets in 1965.
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