NBA Analysis: Best Playoff Performances Since 1986

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After LeBron James‘ classic Game 6 in the 2012 Eastern Conference Finals, he capped the series in Game 7 by scoring 31 more points, giving him more than any other player in a Conference Finals in the last 27 years. So how good was James Eastern Conference Finals against a stingy Celtic defense that allowed only 98.2 points per 100 possessions? Did it rank as an all-time series?

We can investigate this statistically, at the least, by examining the last 27 years of box scores that are available on basketball-reference. (Apologies to Bill Walton, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but we’re limited to playoff games after 1986 on this front.) The simplest composite box-score metric we can use is Game Score (similar to PER), in which case, the 25-best series in the timeframe are: (NB: For the sake of equality and variance, all three-game series have been removed, which means Charles Barkley‘s 1994 series against Golden State, featuring his 56-point game 3, will be overlooked.)...

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