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The All-Time NBA Playoffs Lineup

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jazz clippers basketball 36032 c0 171 3463 2189 s561x327 560x326The first round of the 2017 NBA playoffs went off pretty smoothly with only one series reaching a seventh game when the fifth seeded Utah Jazz upset the fourth seeded Los Angeles Clippers. The series also featured the first round’s one and only upset. There were plenty of standout moments this year, like when Russell Westbrook scored 51 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds in Oklahoma City’s Game 2 loss to the Houston Rockets. Or the 25-point comeback that the Cleveland Cavaliers staged during Game 3 of their series against the Indiana Pacers.

After the first round concluded, it was pretty easy to pick out a lineup of the best players, based solely on the first round performances (James Harden, PG; Giannis Antetokounmpo, SG; LeBron James, SF; Draymond Green, PF; DeAndre Jordan, C). Between the scoring, the defensive blocks, and the rebounding, it always seems like the best performances of the NBA seasons always happens during the playoffs and this year has not disappointed us one bit.

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Now that we’re in the second round, the action is really heating up. With all of the excitement around the NBA Playoffs, we figured it was a good time to put together a lineup of the greatest single season postseason performers of all-time. The only drawback is you cannot start a player at a position other than the one he played during that postseason. In other words, we cannot have a lineup of seven small forwards, that would just not be fair. So please enjoy our ultimate playoff starting lineup and roster based on single season performances.

PG: Magic Johnson, LAL (1985)

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  • Record: 15-4
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-2, Boston Celtics)
  • Games: 19
  • Standout Performance: Game 5, Western Conference Semi-Finals – Magic Johnson scored 34 points, 19 assists, and had 9 rebounds en route to a dominating 139 to 120 win over the Portland Trail Blazers to send the Lakers into Western Conference Finals to face the Denver Nuggets.
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 116-226, 51.3%
    • Points (Avg): 333 (17.5)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 134 (7.1)
    • Assists (Avg): 289 (15.2)
    • Steals (Avg): 32 (1.7)

SG: Michael Jordan, CHI (1990)

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  • Record: 10-6
  • Result: Lost in Eastern Conference Finals (3-4, Detroit Pistons)
  • Games: 16
  • Standout Performance: Game 4, Eastern Conference Semi-Finals – Are we allowed to say he had more than one standout performance? Because the 1990 NBA playoffs was one of the most amazing in Michael Jordan’s career because it was the beginning of the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Although they did not win the title, during Game 4, MJ exploded for 45 points, which was actually his 4th highest scoring performance of the playoffs, and added 11 assists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, and 2 blocks while shooting 51.6% from the field and hitting 12 of his 13 free throw attempts. They won the game 111 to 101.
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 219-426, 51.4%
    • Points (Avg): 587 (36.7)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 15 (7.2)
    • Assists (Avg): 109 (6.8)
    • Steals (Avg): 32 (1.7)

SF: LeBron James, CLE (2009)

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  • Record: 10-4
  • Result: Lost in Eastern Conference Finals (2-4, Orlando Magic)
  • Games: 14
  • Standout Performance: Game 3, Eastern Conference Semi-Finals – The starting five for the Cleveland Cavaliers that season was Delonte West, Mo Williams, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Anderson Varejao, and LeBron James. The fact that they got to the Eastern Conference Finals is amazing in itself. LeBron James truly is one of the, if not the, greatest ever and it was easy to see during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals when he dropped 47 points, 12 rebounds, 8 assists, 1 steal, and a block while hitting 12 of 16 free throws and shooting 60% from the field en route to a Cavaliers win, 97 to 82.
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 159-312, 51%
    • Points (Avg): 494 (35.3)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 128 (9.1)
    • Assists (Avg): 102 (7.3)
    • Steals (Avg): 23 (1.6)

PF: Tim Duncan, SAS (2003)

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  • Record: 16-8
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-2, New Jersey Nets)
  • Awards: NBA Finals MVP
  • Games: 24
  • Standout Performance: Game 1, NBA Finals – Tim Duncan introduced himself to the New Jersey Nets right off the bat. During his epic Game 1 performance, Tim led all players with 32 points and 20 rebounds. But that was not even why this performance was epic, it was actually in another category. He added 7 blocks, 6 assists, and 3 steals to truly cover just about every single aspect of being a MVP in the NBA Finals and he did it all during the first game which ended up being an easy win for the Spurs.
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 218-412, 52.9%
    • Points (Avg): 593 (24.7)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 369 (15.4)
    • Assists (Avg): 127 (5.3)
    • Blocks (Avg): 79 (3.3)

C: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LAL (1977)

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  • Record: 4-7
  • Result: Lost in Western Conference Finals (0-4, Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Games: 11
  • Standout Performance: Game 5, Western Conference Semi-Finals – Because he is a little older than all of the other players on this list, most of you newer NBA fans will not remember just how dominate Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was in his career. He truly shined during this game when he ended up with 45 points, 18 rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 blocks as the Lakers would go on to beat the Golden State Warriors 112-105.
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 147-242, 60.7%
    • Points (Avg): 381 (34.6)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 195 (17.7)
    • Assists (Avg): 45 (4.1)
    • Steals (Avg): 19 (1.7)
    • Blocks (Avg): 38 (3.5)

6th Man: Larry Bird, SF, BOS (1984)

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  • Record: 15-8
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-3, Los Angeles Lakers)
  • Awards: NBA Finals MVP
  • Games: 23
  • Standout Performance: Game 7, Eastern Conference Semi-Finals – In what ended up becoming one of his most amazing performances, Larry Bird showcased his talents and ended up with a Triple-Double with 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists. He also added 3 steals and shot 54.2% from the field while going 12-for-12 from the free throw line.
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 229-437, 52.4%
    • Points (Avg): 632 (27.5)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 252 (11.0)
    • Assists (Avg): 136 (5.9)
    • Steals (Avg): 54 (2.3)
    • Blocks (Avg): 27 (1.2)

Bench: Shaquille O’Neal, C, LAL (2000)

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  • Record: 15-8
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-2, Indiana Pacers)
  • Awards: NBA Finals MVP
  • Games: 23
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 286-505, 56.6%
    • Points (Avg): 707 (30.7)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 355 (15.4)
    • Assists (Avg): 71 (3.1)
    • Blocks (Avg): 55 (2.4)

Bench: Dwyane Wade, SG, MIA (2006)

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  • Record: 16-7
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-2, Dallas Mavericks)
  • Awards: NBA Finals MVP
  • Games: 23
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 219-441, 49.7%
    • Points (Avg): 654 (28.4)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 135 (5.9)
    • Assists (Avg): 132 (5.7)
    • Steals (Avg): 51 (2.2)
    • Blocks (Avg): 26 (1.1)

Bench: Chris Paul, PG, NOH (2008)

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  • Record: 7-5
  • Result: Lost in Western Conference Semi-Finals (3-4, San Antonio Spurs)
  • Games: 12
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 111-221, 50.2%
    • Points (Avg): 289 (24.1)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 59 (4.9)
    • Assists (Avg): 135 (11.3)
    • Steals (Avg): 28 (2.3)

Bench: Kobe Bryant, SG, LAL (2009)

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  • Record: 16-7
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-1, Orlando Magic)
  • Awards: NBA Finals MVP
  • Games: 23
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 242-530, 45.7%
    • Points (Avg): 695 (30.2)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 123 (5.3)
    • Assists (Avg): 126 (5.5)
    • Steals (Avg): 38 (1.7)

Bench: Charles Barkley, PF, PHO (1993)

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  • Record: 13-11
  • Result: Lost in NBA Finals (2-4, Chicago Bulls)
  • Games: 24
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 230-482, 47.7%
    • Points (Avg): 638 (26.6)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 326 (13.6)
    • Assists (Avg): 102 (4.3)
    • Steals (Avg): 39 (1.6)
    • Blocks (Avg): 25 (1.0)

Bench: Hakeem Olajuwon, C, HOU (1994)

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  • Record: 15-8
  • Result: NBA Championship
  • Awards: NBA Finals MVP
  • Games: 23
  • By the Numbers:
    • FG-FGA, Pct %: 267-514, 51.9%
    • Points (Avg): 664 (28.9)
    • Rebounds (Avg): 254 (11.0)
    • Assists (Avg): 98 (4.3)
    • Steals (Avg): 40 (1.7)
    • Blocks (Avg): 92 (4.0)

Head Coach: Phil Jackson, LAL (2001)

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  • Regular Season: 56-26
  • Playoff Record: 15-1
  • Result: NBA Champions (4-1, Philadelphia 76ers)
  • Details: This was Phil Jackson’s 8th of 11 NBA Championships. It marked the second time in NBA history that a team won all three of its’ conference playoff games by sweeping their opponents. The Detroit Pistons did the same thing in 1989 and ended up winning the NBA Finals 4-0 making them the only team to sweep the entire playoffs. This accomplishment put him only one behind Red Auerbach, who held the record for most NBA titles from a head coach.
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