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Old 01-26-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
jlip
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Default Re: Basketball Reference finally updated the NBA Finals Stats Boxscores from 1950 to 2012

Quote:
Originally Posted by Djahjaga
Looks like Russell was the leading scorer in the finals for some of those Celtics teams, and sometimes with very decent FG%. And he was, of course, the leading rebounder, by far.


This is what some of us have been trying to tell the "Russell could not score" crowd for a while. It was not his primary job to score, but when the team called on him to do so, he did. He even owns the Finals record for fg% which is 70.2% which was set in 1965. His ft% unlike many other poor shooting big men actually increased from the regular season to the playoffs to the Finals. He also led the Celtics in assists during a couple of those championship runs and owns almost every Finals rebounding record there is. At some point during his career he won a championship leading his team in every available stat other than ft%.

Comparison of Russell's 5 highest scoring Finals to some other all time greats

Russell
23.5ppg-1966
22.9ppg-1962
20.0ppg- 1963
17.8ppg- 1965
17.6ppg-1961

*Wilt
29.4ppg- 1964
23.2ppg- 1970
19.4ppg-1972
17.6ppg- 1967
11.7ppg- 1969
*Most of Wiltís Finals were during the part of his career after his coaches asked him to score less and play more like Russell.

Magic
26.2ppg-1987
21.5ppg-1980
21.1ppg- 1988
19.0ppg- 1983
18.6ppg- 1991

**Bird
27.4ppg-1984
24.2ppg- 1987
24.0ppg-1986
23.8ppg-1985
15.3ppg-1981
**Bird only went to 5 Finals

***Duncan
27.4ppg-1999
24.2ppg- 2003
20.6ppg-2005
18.3ppg- 2007
***Duncan has only been to 4.

It appears that Russellís five highest scoring Finals were not that much worse than one player who was often considered the greatest scorer ever (Wilt), another who is the 2nd highest scoring point guard of all time (Magic), a third who may be the most versatile scorer ever (Bird), and a fourth who is often considered the greatest power forward of all time, Duncan. Thatís not bad for a guy who supposedly could NOT score. To be sure, Russell did have several low scoring Finals, but the purpose of this was to show that he COULD score when asked to.
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