A triple-double is one of the most impressive feats in all of basketball. Achieved by recording double-digit totals in three of five categories that include points, rebounds, assists, blocks, or steals, many of you probably know that Russell Westbrook is the king of them in the regular season. However, what about the postseason? Which NBA players have recorded the most triple-doubles in playoff history?
The race for No. 1 is actually pretty tight.
Magic Johnson is No. 1 in NBA playoff triple-doubles
The player to record the most triple-doubles in NBA playoff history is Magic Johnson, as he posted 30 of them in his career.
Johnson, of course, won five NBA championships, which helped him accomplish the feat. He also earned three Finals MVP awards.
Some of his most notable playoff triple-doubles include his 1980 NBA Finals performance in which he recorded 14 points, 10 assists, and 15 rebounds for the LA Lakers in a Game 5 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. He also came up big in a Game 6 win over the Sixers in the 1982 NBA Finals by posting 13 points, 13 assists, and 13 rebounds. Johnson additionally had a massive game against the Boston Celtics in the 1984 NBA Finals, dropping 20 points, 17 assists, and 11 rebounds.
The Hall of Famer averaged 19.5 points, 12.3 assists, and 7.7 rebounds in 190 career playoff games.
LeBron James is not far behind Magic Johnson at No. 2
LeBron James is right beyond Johnson with the second-most triple-doubles in NBA playoff history with 28 (as of June 2, 2021).
James’ runs to the finals have helped him rack up all of these, as he is a four-time NBA champion and has played in the finals 10 total times.
Among his most noteworthy playoff triple-doubles is his Game 5 performance in the 2012 NBA Finals — which clinched his first title — as he recorded 26 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds for the Miami Heat. He also had 32 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds in a Game 6 win over the San Antonio Spurs in the 2013 finals, and 27 points, 11 assists, and 11 rebounds in his Game 7 win over the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
James has averaged 28.7 points, 9.0 rebounds, and 7.2 assists in over 260 career playoff games so far, and with him still having at least a few years left in his career, he may very well pass Johnson on this list.
Russell Westbrook has recorded the third-most NBA playoff triple-doubles
There is a significant drop-off after Johnson and James, but Russell Westbrook is No. 3 on this list with 12 playoff triple-doubles (as of June 1, 2021). Given that he has only played in 110 career playoff games, he would probably be up there with James and Johnson with more games under his belt, as he is the NBA’s all-time leader in career triple-doubles. His 184 in the regular season are three more than the No. 2-ranked Oscar Robertson’s 181.
In the playoffs, though, one of Westbrook’s most remarkable triple-doubles was when he dropped 51 points, 13 assists, and 10 rebounds for the Oklahoma City Thunder in a first-round game against the Houston Rockets.
Westbrook has averaged 24.6 points, 7.9 assists, and 7.1 rebounds in 110 career playoff games so far.
Four other players have recorded 10 or more playoff triple-doubles
Behind Westbrook on this list in the top five are four other players, as three are tied for fifth. Jason Kidd is No. 4 with 11 playoff triple-doubles, while Rajon Rondo, Larry Bird, and Draymond Green are all tied for fifth with 10.
Rounding out the top 10 are Wilt Chamberlain (nine), Oscar Robertson (eight), and John Havlicek and Nikola Jokic (five). Interestingly enough, one of the playoff GOATs, Michael Jordan, only recorded two triple-doubles in the postseason.
Moving forward, things could get pretty interesting, as there are several active players on this list. However, it will be pretty hard for anyone to catch James and Johnson at the top.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference