The NBA Finals have produced some memorable individual performances over the years. But which player has hit the most 3s in a single game?
In a sport in which a record or milestone seems to be achieved almost on a nightly basis, statistics relating to the NBA Finals stand out from the crowd.
Even some of the best NBA players never get the opportunity to play in the best-of-seven series to decide the destination of the Larry O’Brien trophy.
Those who are lucky enough to make it onto the biggest stage know they only have a limited opportunity to shine, with no certainty over when or if they will ever be back in the Finals.
And even if you become a Finals regular, the strength of opposition as the NBA playoffs go on makes record-setting efforts no easy task, particularly in comparison to the regular season.
Statistical feats relating to the Finals are among the hardest to achieve and many of the game’s most prominent records in this category have rarely changed hands.
One thing is for sure, NBA Finals’ success in the modern era is not going to arrive for a team unless its stars produce some impressive 3-point shooting efforts.
We have highlighted the best such performances in our run through looking at the NBA players who have had the most 3-pointers in a single Finals game.
Most 3s in an NBA Finals game
Stephen Curry: 9 (Warriors vs. Cavaliers, June 3, 2018)
It might be no surprise that Curry holds the mark for the most 3-pointers in an NBA Finals game.
The Golden State Warriors point guard hit nine in Game 2 of the NBA Finals series against the Cleveland Cavaliers on June 3, 2018.
That stellar performance arrived in a series the Warriors dominated, as Golden State won 4-0 to secure a second consecutive championship and third in four years.
All four of those Finals series came against the Cavs, whose run of appearances would then come to a sudden halt when LeBron James moved on to the Los Angeles Lakers to compete with the Warriors in the Western Conference.
Going into the 2018 Finals against the Cavs, the Warriors were coming off an epic conference finals series against James Harden and the Houston Rockets, recovering from 3-2 down and overcoming a huge early deficit in Game 6 before ultimately clinching a series victory in Game 7.
Initially, it looked like the Finals would be similarly tense. James had 51 points in Game 1, but Golden State was able to win a dramatic opener in overtime. Curry’s dazzling effort from deep in Game 2 helped the Warriors to a 122-103 win which put them up 2-0. Steve Kerr’s squad coasted past a fading Cavs team from there.
Curry has had many amazing moments in his storied basketball career but he conceded this record-breaking effort stood out, calling it “a pretty special night.”
He was 11 of 27 from the field, hitting nine of his 17 attempts from 3-point range.
Curry’s fantastic night from beyond the arc helped him to a game-high 33 points. He also had eight assists, seven rebounds and a steal.
Two of Curry’s 3s were stunning shots over Kevin Love in the fourth quarter.
A backpedaling attempt while off balance from 28 feet was the shot of the night. After connecting on a baseline 3 with under six minutes left, Curry fell into the first row of delighted home fans at Oracle Arena in a memorable scene.
With the Warriors leading by 21, Curry was taken out of the game with 3:27 remaining, depriving him of the chance to reach double figures from deep.
Curry also went on to have 37 points in Game 4, though despite being the Warriors’ top scorer in three of their four wins in the series, it was teammate Kevin Durant who claimed the Finals MVP for a second straight year.
Still, the famous performance in Game 2 meant Curry had secured his place in the history books with the most 3-pointers in a game in the NBA Finals.
Ray Allen: 8 (Celtics vs. Lakers, June 6, 2010)
Steph Curry broke the NBA Finals record which had previously been held by Allen for eight years.
Allen is a two-time NBA champion, but his epic long-range shooting performance in the Finals actually came as part of a losing series. He made eight 3s for the Boston Celtics in Game 2 of the 2010 Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Eastern Conference champion Celtics won that game 103-94 at Staples Center to even the series at 1-1. The Celtics would go on to take a 3-2 lead in the series, but they still could not clinch it with that one last victory. Doc Rivers’ team ended up dropping a thrilling seven-game series to Phil Jackson’s Lakers team, which included Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.
Allen had come into Game 2 already holding a share of the previous record (seven) and incredibly, he had already matched that total by halftime after making all of his first seven 3-point attempts. With most of the work done in the first half, the record was Allen’s when his eighth 3 arrived in the third quarter.
He had not connected on a single attempt from deep in Game 1, but returned to form in style to hit eight of his 11 attempts in the second matchup to make NBA history.
It was in the 2008 series that Allen had previously earned a share of the NBA Finals 3-point record, meaning he appears twice in these rankings.
On that occasion, Allen drained seven from beyond the arc in Game 6 as the Celtics crushed the Lakers 131-92 to win the title.
Stephen Curry: 7 (Six Occasions)
As well as holding the record for making the most 3s in the NBA Finals, Curry dominates the rest of the leaderboard too.
His nine 3-pointers against the Cavaliers remain the most 3s in a Finals game and Curry has also racked up another six NBA Finals appearances in which he has connected on seven shots from deep.
And there have been five more NBA Finals games in which Curry converted six 3-point attempts. Remarkably, that gives the Warriors great a total of 12 separate NBA Finals games in which he’s sank at least six 3-pointers.
Curry connected on seven attempts from deep in Game 4 of the 2018 series against the Cavs, a display which came just five days after his record-breaking performance in Game 2.
And that was not the first time Curry had tormented Cleveland. He made seven 3-pointers in two separate games in the 2015 Finals and the same total in Game 4 of the 2016 series, which was the only one of the four consecutive Finals battles with the Cavs that the Warriors lost.
Curry later hit seven 3-pointers in two separate games against the Boston Celtics in 2022, helping him to a first Finals MVP award in a series the Warriors won 4-2.
He had seven in Game 1 even though the Warriors lost 120-108 to the Celtics. He repeated the feat in Game 4 as the Warriors won 107-97 to even the series and the franchise was on its way to a seventh championship.
Curry may still have the overall postseason record for 3s in a single game (held by Damian Lillard with 12) in his sights before his career is done.
Other Great 3-Point Performances
Klay Thompson is another member of the Warriors on the list of players with the most 3s in an NBA Finals game. He had seven in Golden State’s dramatic 106-105 win at the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, though that was a series in which the Canadian team ultimately prevailed. The Warriors were also on the receiving end of some impressive deep shooting displays. Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith both had big nights when they each hit seven 3s against Golden State in the 2017 Finals.
Devin Booker (Suns), Duncan Robinson (Heat), Danny Green (Spurs) and Mike Miller (Heat) have also made seven 3s in a single NBA Finals game.
Kenny Smith (1995) and Scottie Pippen (1997) were the only NBA players to hit seven 3-pointers in a Finals game before the turn of the century, which is perhaps more impressive in what was a very different basketball era. After Pippen achieved the feat for the Chicago Bulls at the Utah Jazz, there was 11 years of NBA Finals play until Allen repeated it in 2008.
What about Michael Jordan and LeBron James? Jordan’s best 3-point game in the NBA Finals came in 1992. He hit six 3s as part of a stunning 39-point and 11-assist Game 1 display against the Portland Trail Blazers. That was the game in which Jordan celebrated his amazing run of 3s, which all came in the first half, with “The Shrug” celebration – one of the most memorable reactions in NBA history. It led to the second of Jordan’s six championships with the Bulls.
James’ top long-range shooting outing in the Finals puts him even with Jordan. His best effort was hitting six 3-pointers for the Lakers in their Game 5 clash with his former team in 2020. The Lakers lost that game to the Miami Heat (played in the Orlando Bubble amid the coronavirus pandemic) despite 40 points from James. But the Lakers recovered to win the series in six games, giving LeBron his fourth NBA title.
Like this? Follow us on Twitter for more.