The NBA Playoffs are a different animal than the regular season. When teams play against their opponents multiple times and have scouted them down to the very last detail, one big individual performance can be the difference between winning and losing a series.
For an individual player, a stellar showing on the postseason stage can transform him into a star. Michael Jordan’s famous 63-point outing against the Celtics in 1986 set what remains the record for most points in an NBA Playoff game and put the basketball world on notice.
But when it comes to one half of excellence, an unlikely name stands above the rest.
Which players own the highest-scoring halves in NBA Playoff history? Let’s break down the top three outbursts in postseason history.
MORE: Looking back at NBA teams that nearly overcame 3-0 deficits
Most points in a half in NBA Playoff history
Sleepy Floyd, Warriors — 39 points vs. Lakers (May 10, 1987)
In a Western Conference Semifinal game featuring Hall of Famers such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, James Worthy and Chris Mullin, it was Floyd who established himself as the best player on the court.
Floyd set NBA Playoff records for most field goals in a quarter (12), most points in a quarter (29) and most points in a half (39). He finished Game 4 of the series with 51 points on 18-of-26 shooting.
Oh, and he also found time to dish out 10 assists.
Unfortunately for Floyd and the Warriors, a 129-121 victory over the Lakers only delayed the inevitable. Los Angeles went on to eliminate Golden State and later won the NBA championship.
Charles Barkley, Suns — 38 points vs. Warriors (May 4, 1994)
“The Chuckster” wasn’t interested in messing around with the Warriors during the first round of the 1994 NBA Playoffs.
Barkley led Phoenix to a three-game sweep — this was before the first round switched to a best-of-seven format — by scoring 38 points in the first half of Game 3 and 56 overall. He made his first 11 shots and hit 23 of his 31 field goal attempts.
The Suns’ 140-133 win sent them to the Western Conference Semifinals, but they fell to the Rockets, the eventual NBA champions.
Kevin Durant, Warriors — 38 points vs. Clippers (April 26, 2019)
Golden State fans have seen some high-scoring NBA Playoff games, huh?
Durant closed out the first-round series between the Warriors and Clippers with 50 points in Game 6, including 38 points in the first half. He racked up those points with incredible efficiency: 15-of-26 from the field, 6-of-14 from 3-point range and 14-of-15 from the free throw line.
Los Angeles guards Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams offered a simple, hilarious answer when asked what the Clippers could have done to slow Durant down.
Williams: We tried everything. We had several different coverages for [Durant].
Beverley: It didn’t work.
Can’t hate on this answer. Good series 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/shHHDKzy1Q
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) April 27, 2019
The Warriors reached the 2019 NBA Finals, but they were unable to pull off the three-peat after Durant and Klay Thompson suffered significant injuries during the series.