- Here’s a list of the top five NBA players who scored the most points in the Play-In Tournament.
- Ja Morant leads the list with 90 points.
The NBA has given a slim but golden opportunity for teams who finished as the ninth-seeded and 10th-seeded teams after the regular season to still make it to the playoffs through the Play-In Tournament, which it introduced during the 2019-20 season. Participating teams can muster a majestic run to defy the basketball odds and punch their tickets to the postseason.
These types of Cinderella-like narratives are the ones fans would like to witness and place a bet on NBA odds. But with the three editions of the Play-In Tournament so far, who among the players has scored the most points in its history?
Top 5 NBA Players With Most Play-In Tournament Points
|Number of Games Played
|Golden State Warriors
|New Orleans Pelicans
Ja Morant — 90 Points
Ja Morant leads all NBA players with the most points in NBA Play-In Tournament history with 90. He played in the first edition (with the original format) in 2020 inside the Orlando bubble, where the Grizzlies faced Portland. Despite his game-high 35 points, Morant and the Grizzlies were dealt a 126-122 loss by the Damian Lillard-led Blazers team, thus crashing out of competition.
In the following season, they again found themselves in the said tournament after finishing as the ninth seed in the West. In Memphis’ first game against the Spurs, Morant scored 20 points to help his team advance in the next game against Golden State. Then in that do-or-die game with the Warriors, the 2020 Rookie of the Year scored another monster 35 points to snatch the eighth seed in the West and send the Warriors packing.
Stephen Curry — 76 Points
Second on the list of players with the most points in the Play-In Tournament is Stephen Curry, who racked up a total of 76 points in his two games in 2021. Golden State’s 2020-21 injury-plagued season had earned it the eighth spot in the West after the regular season, which meant it needed to fight for its position to stay in the hunt for the playoffs.
The Warriors first faced the Los Angeles Lakers, where Curry top-scored the game with 37 big points. But it was not enough to get past the LeBron James-led Lakers team, which beat them, 103-100. After this heartbreaking loss, they were pitted with the young and hungry Memphis team as Curry fired 39 points. Despite the tremendous performance from the former two-time league MVP, Golden State yielded the game in overtime, 117-112.
Dillon Brooks — 58 Points
Like his teammate Ja Morant, Dillon Brooks was able to play in three Play-In Tournament games since its first edition in the Orlando bubble in 2020. In the Grizzlies’ game against Portland, Brooks contributed 20 points in a losing effort. The following year, they fought again for a playoff spot and landed as the ninth seed in the West.
Brooks led Memphis in scoring during its first game against San Antonio and put in 24 points in the 100-96 victory. Then, in the do-or-die matchup with Golden State for the eighth and final spot for the playoffs, Brooks added 14 points to help his squad enter the postseason and face the then-No. 1-seeded team, the Utah Jazz, in the first round.
Jonas Valanciunas — 54 Points
Another member of that Grizzlies team who competed in successive Play-In Tournaments is Jonas Valanciunas. The Lithuanian national scored 22 points and 17 rebounds against Portland in the 2020 Orlando bubble. Then, the following season, he provided a monster game against the Spurs in their first tournament game.
Valanciunas finished with 23 points and 23 rebounds to eliminate San Antonio from playoff contention and help his team advance to the next game. Despite producing only nine points in their crucial match against the Warriors, he was still a vital contributor on the defensive end, concluding the game with 12 boards and three assists.
Jayson Tatum — 50 Points
Rounding out the list is Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum with 50 points in the Play-In Tournament. Unlike the four players he succeeded in the list, Tatum needed only one game to generate this big scoring output. Because of injuries to key players in the rotation, Boston could only finish the season with a 36-36 record, which was good enough to be the No. 7 team in the East standings.
23 points in the 3rd for Tatum. Unstoppable 🙌pic.twitter.com/Jq6wtX7SDG
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 19, 2021
The Celtics needed to fend off the threat from the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards to secure their grip on the No. 7 spot. Tatum ensured they got the job done and displayed an incredible 50-point game, with eight rebounds and four assists in 41 minutes of action. After the win, they faced the star-studded No. 2 team in the East, the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately, the Celtics lost the series in five games.
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