NBA Finals 2021

NBA Finals 2021: Game Score ranks Giannis Antetokounmpo's series as best in NBA history

Giannis Antetokounmpo had himself a Finals for the ages.

In the 2021 NBA Finals, Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks over the Phoenix Suns to capture the franchise's first championship in 50 years. He earned Finals MVP in the process, with averages of 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals while shooting 61.8 percent from the field over the six-game series.

Antetokounmpo made a lot of history along the way, from joining Shaquille O'Neal in the record books with back-to-back 40-point, 10-rebound games early in the series to having one of the highest scoring games in Finals history in the title-clincher.

MORE: Giannis has entered realm of all-time greatness

To put Antetokounmpo's series into perspective, he finished the Finals with a Game Score - an all-encompassing box score metric created by John Hollinger that gives "a rough measure of a player's productivity for a single game" - of 31.9.

Want to guess where that ranks all-time? If the title didn't give it away: No. 1.

O'Neal's performance in the 2000 NBA Finals ranks second all-time in Game Score, followed by Kevin Durant's in the 2017 NBA Finals, O'Neal's in the 2002 NBA Finals and LeBron James' in the 2017 NBA Finals. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jimmy Butler and James round out the top 10.

Highest Game Score in Finals series (Basketball Reference)
Rank Player Season Game Score
1 Giannis Antetokounmpo 2020-21 31.9
2 Shaquille O'Neal 1999-00 30.6
3 Kevin Durant 2016-17 30.3
4 Shaquille O'Neal 2001-02 30.1
5 LeBron James 2016-17 29.6
6 Michael Jordan 1992-93 29.6
7 Michael Jordan 1990-91 29.4
8 LeBron James 2017-18 28.3
9 Magic Johnson 1986-87 28.3
10 Jimmy Butler 2019-20 27.7
11 LeBron James 2019-20 27.5
12 Shaquille O'Neal 2000-01 27.4
13 Kevin Durant 2017-18 26.9
14 LeBron James 2015-16 26.5
15 Michael Jordan 1991-92 25.8
16 Dwyane Wade 2005-06 25.4
17 LeBron James 2014-15 24.6
18 Hakeem Olajuwon 1994-95 24.5
19 Magic Johnson 1987-88 24.4
20 Stephen Curry 2016-17 24.1

To recap what Antetokounmpo did in the 2021 NBA Finals:

  • He went for 20 points (6-11 FG) and 17 rebounds in Milwaukee's Game 1 loss
  • He went for 42 points (15-22 FG) and 12 rebounds in Milwaukee Game 2 loss
  • He went for 41 points (14-23 FG), 13 rebounds and six assists in Milwaukee's Game 3 win
  • He went for 26 points (11-19 FG), 14 rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks in Milwaukee's Game 4 win
  • He went for 32 points (14-23 FG), nine rebounds and six assists in Milwaukee's Game 5 win
  • He went for 50 points (16-25 FG), 14 rebounds and five blocks in Milwaukee's Game 6 win

Whether or not we just witnessed the greatest Final series ever by a single player is up for debate, but Antetokounmpo has at least worked his way into the discussion.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

More from

RJ Barrett, New York Knicks defence
Barrett up for defensive challenge in Year 3
Gilbert McGregor
2021 WNBA broadcast schedule staff
Sun’s Jonquel Jones named 2021 MVP Staff
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors
Nurse: Barnes' role will be "huge" for Raptors
Kyle Irving
Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller Named 2021 Coach Of the Year
Sun's Curt Miller named Coach Of the Year Staff
Former Raptors guard Kyle Lowry is now a member of the Heat
Lowry will kick Heat into new gear
Scott Rafferty
More News