Chris Paul had one NBA finals He made his memorable debut leading his Phoenix seine Suns to a 118-105 win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1.
The 32 points Paul scored is one of the highest ever scored by a player in an NBA Finals debut. But it was nowhere near number 1 on the list.
Allen Iverson posted the most points ever on a debut in an NBA final since the NBA / ABA merger (1976-77) when he set fire to the LA Lakers for 48 points in 2001. The answer was the league MVP this season, and he quickly showed himself on the NBA’s biggest stage, which definitely deserves the honor.
Iverson led the Philadelphia 76ers to a 107-101 Game 1 win over the Lakers, who eventually won the next four games. But the loss didn’t diminish Iverson’s incredible performance.
Where do Paul’s 32 points land in history? The Suns Guard tied three more players for fifth place in league annals. Others who achieved just as much were Pascal Siakam (2019), Jason Terry (2006) and Shawn Kemp (1996).
Notable legends on their NBA Finals debuts
Four other Legends had better NBA Finals debuts in terms of scores than Paul in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals.
In 1991, Chicago Bulls guardian Michael Jordan scored 36 points, which was the highest score on an NBA finals debut at the time, before Iverson eclipsed his record 10 years later. Despite losing Game 1 93-91, the Bulls would win the next four games of the final against the Lakers.
His airness is on par with Kevin Durant, who also had 36 points in Game 1 of the 2012 final for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Like Iverson, the Thunder won their first game, 105-94, but were swept by the Miami Heat in the following four games.
Third on the list is Anthony Davis, who scored 34 points on his NBA Finals debut last year. The Lakers forward led his team to a 116-98 win in Game 1 and won the 2020 championship in six games against the Miami Heat.
Fourth place goes to San Antonio Spurs’ Tim Duncan, who scored 33 points in his own 1999 NBA final debut. The Spurs won in Game 1 89-77 against the New York Knicks, finishing their opponent in five games when Duncan won his first championship.
Also read: 5 reasons Phoenix Suns won 118-105 against Milwaukee Bucks in the first game of the 2021 NBA Finals