Game 7 history: NBA Playoff records, stats, best performances and more to know ahead of Celtics vs. Bucks, Suns vs. Mavericks

The first round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs didn’t give basketball fans a single Game 7, but the second round is ready to bring us a do-or-die doubleheader.

On Sunday, the Bucks, Celtics, Mavericks and Suns will all participate in Game 7s with trips to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals on the line. The series involving those teams have been extremely competitive, so it is only fitting that they go the distance.

Ahead of those contests, let’s take a look back at the history of Game 7s in the NBA Playoffs and some of the league’s best Game 7 performances.

(All stats courtesy of StatMuse)

MORE: Why Game 7 of Bucks vs. Celtics will be a classic

How many Game 7s have been played in NBA Playoff history?

There have been 142 Game 7s in NBA Playoff history.

Before this year’s postseason, the most recent Game 7 was played between the 76ers and Hawks in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals. The Bucks and Nets also reached a Game 7 in the same round last year.

Which NBA teams have played in the most Game 7s?

The Celtics have played in 33 Game 7s and won 24 of them. The Lakers are second on the all-time list with 24 Game 7s. They have a record of 16-8 in those games.

Boston and Los Angeles may have the most total Game 7 wins, but a surprising team has the highest winning percentage: the Timberwolves. Minnesota is the only franchise that has played in just one Game 7, defeating Sacramento in the 2004 Western Conference Semifinals.

Every active NBA team has played in at least one Game 7.

Team Game 7s Record
Celtics 33 24-9
Lakers 24 16-8
76ers 17 6-11
Knicks 15 7-8
Hawks 14 5-9
Rockets 12 7-5
Thunder 11 6-5
Spurs 11 4-7
Bucks 11 3-8
Heat 10 6-4
Wizards 10 6-4
Pistons 10 5-5
Warriors 10 5-5
Bulls 10 4-6
Clippers 9 4-5
Suns 9 4-5
Pacers 9 3-6
Cavaliers 7 5-2
Mavericks 7 4-3
Nuggets 7 4-3
Jazz 6 3-3
Raptors 6 3-3
Kings 6 2-4
Trail Blazers 4 2-2
Nets 4 1-3
Magic 3 2-1
Grizzlies 3 0-3
Hornets 2 0-2
Pelicans 2 0-2
Timberwolves 1 1-0

Which NBA players have played in the most Game 7s?

Hall of Famer Ray Allen has played in 11 Game 7s, the most in NBA history.

Two Celtics legends are right behind him, as Paul Pierce and Bill Russell each played in 10 Game 7s.

Which NBA players have scored the most points in a Game 7?

No need to dig deep into the history books.

Kevin Durant set the Game 7 scoring record just last season with 48 points against the Bucks. Unfortunately for Durant, his Nets lost an overtime thriller in Brooklyn, and Milwaukee went on to win the championship.

Player Points Year
Kevin Durant 48 2021
Dominique Wilkins 47 1988
Sam Jones 47 1963
Luka Doncic 46 2021
Kevin Johnson 46 1995
LeBron James 45 2018
LeBron James 45 2008
Allen Iverson 44 2001
Charles Barkley 44 1993
Oscar Robertson 43 1963

How many Game 7s have been played in the NBA Finals?

The NBA Finals has required a Game 7 to decide the winner 19 times.

The most recent Game 7 of the championship series was played between the Cavaliers and Warriors in 2016. Cleveland captured a 93-89 victory, becoming the first team in NBA Finals history to win the title after facing a 3-1 deficit.