What players played better in the playoffs compared to the regular?
Who were these competitive bastards?
Most of the time players drop in the playoffs in terms of scoring and their overall game is more limited compared to the regular season but I'd like to know the players who raised their game in the playoffs through-out history!
Re: What players played better in the playoffs compared to the regular?
Off the top of my head...
MJ, Hakeem, Russell, Dirk, and West.
And before someone slams Chamberlain, who had impossible regular seasons, he STILL elevated his rebounding in the post-season. Not only that, but he was SHUTTING DOWN his OPPOSING centers (and team's) in the post-season, too. He only allowed two known opposing centers to shoot over 50% in his 29 post-season series. One of them was Zelmo Beaty in the '64 WCF's, who shot .521. However, he only averaged 14.3 ppg, while Chamberlain averaged 38.6 ppg, 23.0 rpg, and shot .559. And Jerry Lucas shot an even .500 in the '72 Finals...but after the first half of the first game of that series, when he shot 9-11, he only shot 37-81 the rest of that series (.457.) Meanwhile, Chamberlain won the FMVP in that series, with a 19.4 ppg, 23.2 rpg, and .600 Finals.
Wilt held Kareem to .481 and .457 shooting in their two consecutive H2H's in '71 and '72 (in seasons that Kareem shot .577 and .574.) He outshot Thurmond in their three post-season H2H series by margins of .500-.392; .550-.398; and .560 to .343. He held Russell to around .420 in the '62 ECF's, and .358 in the '67 ECF's. In addition, there was a good chance he held Russell to worse than .400 shooting in the '64 Finals, and the '69 Finals. He held Kerr to .376 and .296 in the '62 and '60 playoffs. And he held Bellamy, who had shot .541 in the regular season, to .421 shooting in the '68 playoffs.
And before someone "rips" his 22.5 ppg post-season scoring average...he only played 52 of his 160 post-season games, in his "scoring" seasons (and 30 of those were against Russell.) And, in his first 67 post-season games, he STILL averaged 30.4 ppg, 27.0 rpg, 4.5 apg, and shot .515 (in leagues that shot .428 on average in that span.)
Even in his first 80 post-season games, which came thru his 67-68 season, and was exactly half of his entire post-season games, he STILL averaged 29.3 ppg, 26.6 rpg, 4.8 apg, and shot .518 (in leagues that shot .430 in that span.)
He had post-seasons of 33.2 ppg, 34.7 ppg, 35.0 ppg, and 37.0 ppg. He had post-season series of 37.0 ppg, 37.0 ppg, 38.6 ppg, and 38.7 ppg. He also had four post-season series, just against RUSSELL, of between 30-34 ppg, including a seven games series in the '65 ECF's of 30 ppg and 31 rpg. And he had FOUR 50+ point games in his post-season career, including THREE in "must-win elimination" games. He also had FOUR 40-30 games, just against RUSSELL in their post-season H2H's. And late in his career, and only four months after major knee surgery, he hung a 45-27 game in yet another "must win" game.
And in his SIX Finals, covering 35 Finals games, he shot between .517 to .625 in those six series (while generally dramatically outshooting his opposing centers in the process.)
And once again, he ELEVATED his rebounding...going from a regular season average of 22.9 rpg, to 24.5 rpg. He also outrebounded EVERY opposing center in those 29 post-season series, including RUSSELL in EIGHT of them. And in some he outrebonded them by HUGE margins.
Finally, for those that may have missed it...
The idiotic Bill Simmons claims that Wilt "shrunk" in the post-season, particularly in BIG games.
Had he actually done any real research into Wilt's post-season career, he would have found that Wilt averaged 27.0 ppg in his 35 "must-win" and/or clinching games. Meanwhile, his starting opposing centers averaged 14.5 ppg in those 35 games. He also outscored his opposing starting center in 29 of those 35 games, including a 19-0 edge in his first 19 games of those 35. Furthermore, in his 13 games which came in his "scoring" seasons (from 59-60 thru 65-66), Chamberlain averaged 37.3 ppg in those "do-or-die" or clinching games. And there were MANY games in which he just CRUSHED his opposing centers in those games (e.g. he outscored Kerr in one them, 53-7.)
Wilt had THREE of his four 50+ point post-season games, in these "elimination games", including two in "at the limit" games, and another against Russell in a "must-win" game. He also had games of 46-34 and 45-27 (and only 4 months removed from major knee surgery) in these types of games. In addition he had games of 39 and 38 in clinching wins.
In the known 19 games in which we have both Wilt's, and his starting opposing center's rebounding numbers, Chamberlain outrebounded them in 15 of them, and by an average margin of 26.1 rpg to 18.9 rpg. And, had we had all 35 of the totals, it would have been by a considerably larger margin. A conservative estimate would put Wilt with at least a 30-5 overall edge in those 35 games. He also had games, even against the likes of Russell, and in "must-win" situations, where he just MURDERED his opposing centers (e.g. he had one clinching game, against Russell, in which he outrebounded him by a 36-21 margin.)
And finally, in the known FG% games in which we have, Chamberlain not only shot an eye-popping .582 in those "do-or-die" games, but he held his opposing centers to a combined .413 FG%. BTW, he played against Kareem in two "clinching" games, and held Abdul-Jabbar to a combined .383 shooting in those two games.
The bottom line, in the known games of the 35 that Wilt played in that involved a "must-win" or clincher, Wilt averaged 27 ppg, 26.1 rpg, and shot .582 (and the 27 ppg figure was known for all 35 of those games.)
And once again, Chamberlain played in 11 games which went to the series limit (nine game seven's, one game five of a best-of-five series, and one game three of a best-of-three series), and all he did was average 29.9 ppg (outscoring his opposing center by a 29.9 ppg to 9.8 ppg margin in the process), with 26.7 rpg, and on .581 shooting. Or he was an eye-lash away from averaging a 30-27 game, and on nearly .600 shooting, in those 11 "at the limit" games.
Oh, and BTW, Chamberlain's TEAMs went 24-11 in those 35 games, too.
That was the same player that Simmons basically labeled a "loser", and a "choker", and who "shrunk" in his BIG games.