You Are Here > Basketball-Reference.com > BBR Blog > NBA and College Basketball Analysis

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all Basketball-Reference content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing Basketball-Reference blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Basketball-Reference.com // Sports Reference

For more from Neil, check out his new work at BasketballProspectus.com.

Biggest Elimination-Game Chokes by Win Shares

Posted by Neil Paine on April 29, 2010

After I posted a list of the Top 100 elimination-game performances by Win Shares since 1991 on Monday, several readers mentioned that they wanted to see the flip side of that, the biggest "chokes" in elimination games by Win Shares since '91. Well, here you go: the list of the 100 worst elimination-game performances by WS in the era for which we have box scores...

Player Date Tm Op Rd Mp Ps PP ORt %Ps DRt Fl% Stp St% OWS DWS WS W/L
Kevin Garnett 5/2/1998 MIN SEA WC1 43 20.2 8.4 41.5 26.7 117.5 0.203 6.6 0.438 -0.391 -0.018 -0.409 L
Kenyon Martin 6/15/2003 NJN SAS FIN 39 21.7 6.0 27.5 28.9 90.7 0.137 9.7 0.650 -0.477 0.109 -0.369 L
Eric Snow 5/3/2002 PHI BOS EC1 28 12.2 7.3 60.0 26.9 155.1 0.277 3.1 0.337 -0.165 -0.152 -0.317 L
Tony Parker 5/15/2004 SAS LAL WCS 39 18.8 9.2 48.9 27.5 110.5 0.247 4.8 0.350 -0.294 -0.019 -0.314 L
Michael Finley 5/14/2001 DAL SAS WCS 39 13.0 3.8 29.3 17.3 116.9 0.146 5.8 0.385 -0.281 -0.020 -0.300 L
Kobe Bryant 6/17/2008 LAL BOS FIN 43 26.7 21.0 78.6 31.8 141.7 0.323 5.5 0.326 -0.166 -0.133 -0.299 L
Karl Malone 5/27/1999 UTA POR WCS 45 20.1 11.0 54.7 25.5 111.1 0.271 7.4 0.467 -0.285 -0.007 -0.291 L
Richard Hamilton 4/26/2009 DET CLE EC1 38 15.4 9.2 59.6 23.5 126.0 0.284 4.1 0.313 -0.210 -0.044 -0.254 L
Kobe Bryant 5/15/2003 LAL SAS WCS 43 23.6 18.4 78.2 30.8 132.8 0.356 4.4 0.288 -0.150 -0.102 -0.251 L
Allan Houston 6/2/2000 NYK IND ECF 40 17.4 9.7 55.4 23.8 113.2 0.275 5.4 0.367 -0.240 -0.003 -0.243 L
Matt Maloney 5/29/1997 HOU UTA WCF 24 6.9 0.6 9.2 15.7 127.5 0.041 2.1 0.241 -0.204 -0.033 -0.237 L
Bobby Jackson 5/2/2008 HOU UTA WC1 26 11.0 5.8 52.6 24.2 130.2 0.235 4.4 0.487 -0.176 -0.044 -0.220 L
Dirk Nowitzki 5/3/2007 DAL GSW WC1 39 15.7 9.5 60.6 21.7 118.8 0.268 8.0 0.553 -0.185 -0.026 -0.211 L
Devin Harris 5/22/2006 DAL SAS WCS 33 7.3 1.7 23.8 12.5 123.2 0.119 4.0 0.338 -0.186 -0.025 -0.211 W
Al Harrington 5/1/2003 IND BOS EC1 21 11.5 5.6 48.6 31.1 120.7 0.237 4.6 0.624 -0.192 -0.019 -0.211 L
Terry Teagle 5/3/1992 LAL POR WC1 34 15.0 6.1 40.4 22.8 103.2 0.208 8.3 0.628 -0.278 0.067 -0.211 L
Rasheed Wallace 4/26/2009 DET CLE EC1 29 7.1 1.0 14.6 14.0 116.1 0.071 5.4 0.535 -0.208 0.001 -0.208 L
Josh Smith 5/4/2008 ATL BOS EC1 28 13.6 7.1 52.4 28.3 111.5 0.265 6.1 0.631 -0.222 0.015 -0.207 L
Glenn Robinson 5/4/2000 MIL IND EC1 31 17.3 10.7 61.8 30.6 114.1 0.308 4.3 0.381 -0.201 -0.006 -0.207 L
Rod Strickland 5/5/1996 POR UTA WC1 40 17.9 12.1 67.2 24.9 119.5 0.329 5.8 0.400 -0.187 -0.020 -0.207 L
Rasheed Wallace 5/30/2008 DET BOS ECF 32 12.9 6.3 48.5 24.5 107.7 0.233 6.0 0.574 -0.237 0.032 -0.205 L
Bob Sura 5/7/2005 HOU DAL WC1 25 4.6 0.4 8.0 10.2 138.2 0.038 2.8 0.308 -0.140 -0.065 -0.205 L
Jamal Mashburn 5/21/2000 MIA NYK ECS 42 13.5 7.5 55.6 20.0 111.1 0.244 5.8 0.432 -0.211 0.008 -0.203 L
Steve Nash 4/29/2008 PHO SAS WC1 38 19.2 11.2 58.5 26.8 106.0 0.257 5.5 0.383 -0.246 0.046 -0.200 L
Patrick Ewing 5/13/1998 NYK IND ECS 34 17.4 11.1 63.9 28.2 114.7 0.336 5.5 0.441 -0.196 -0.003 -0.198 L
Anfernee Hardaway 5/2/1994 ORL IND EC1 42 20.3 13.4 66.3 26.3 112.0 0.332 7.0 0.453 -0.205 0.007 -0.198 L
Rudy Fernandez 4/30/2009 POR HOU WC1 41 8.7 3.2 37.3 12.7 117.4 0.182 6.0 0.436 -0.193 -0.005 -0.198 L
Clyde Drexler 5/3/1998 HOU UTA WC1 37 16.1 7.6 47.2 24.8 95.5 0.267 8.0 0.614 -0.281 0.084 -0.197 L
Hot Rod Williams 5/4/1995 CLE NYK EC1 33 12.7 5.8 45.3 21.8 109.1 0.224 6.2 0.529 -0.237 0.040 -0.197 L
Tony Parker 5/19/2006 SAS DAL WCS 35 17.8 9.2 51.7 27.0 99.9 0.244 5.6 0.419 -0.265 0.070 -0.195 W
Rasual Butler 4/29/2009 NOH DEN WC1 31 12.7 7.7 60.3 22.0 125.7 0.291 4.0 0.347 -0.159 -0.035 -0.194 L
Jason Terry 5/3/2007 DAL GSW WC1 35 16.9 12.5 74.4 25.5 129.0 0.337 4.4 0.331 -0.123 -0.068 -0.191 L
Stephen Jackson 5/19/2005 IND DET ECS 39 13.6 7.5 55.1 21.1 110.6 0.270 6.4 0.500 -0.217 0.027 -0.191 L
David Wesley 5/7/2005 HOU DAL WC1 41 10.0 6.5 64.9 13.6 131.5 0.288 6.8 0.458 -0.114 -0.074 -0.188 L
Vlade Divac 5/3/1992 LAL POR WC1 33 15.1 7.8 51.9 23.6 109.8 0.246 6.0 0.472 -0.228 0.040 -0.188 L
DeShawn Stevenson 4/30/2007 WAS CLE EC1 22 7.0 0.5 7.6 17.0 105.5 0.035 4.8 0.584 -0.208 0.021 -0.187 L
Chris Childs 5/18/1997 NYK MIA ECS 37 15.2 8.6 56.3 21.6 111.5 0.252 6.8 0.481 -0.205 0.020 -0.185 L
Clifford Robinson 4/29/1998 PHO SAS WC1 18 6.7 0.5 7.1 19.3 110.7 0.034 2.8 0.409 -0.192 0.007 -0.185 L
Jason Kidd 5/16/2000 PHO LAL WCS 39 15.8 7.9 49.9 22.2 99.5 0.215 7.4 0.516 -0.248 0.063 -0.184 L
David Wesley 5/4/2004 NOH MIA EC1 38 11.2 3.5 31.7 16.1 96.2 0.149 7.4 0.534 -0.236 0.053 -0.184 L
Nenad Krstic 5/16/2006 NJN MIA ECS 29 7.5 1.0 13.0 13.3 112.5 0.078 5.1 0.450 -0.196 0.015 -0.181 L
Negele Knight 5/5/1994 SAS UTA WC1 29 13.7 8.6 63.1 27.5 117.9 0.303 3.7 0.369 -0.164 -0.016 -0.180 L
Lindsey Hunter 4/29/2000 DET MIA EC1 34 16.1 7.2 44.7 23.9 93.7 0.228 7.7 0.575 -0.259 0.080 -0.179 L
Reggie Miller 6/11/1999 IND NYK ECF 36 16.9 10.0 59.3 24.8 106.2 0.259 4.8 0.350 -0.195 0.017 -0.178 L
Howard Eisley 6/12/1998 UTA CHI FIN 11 5.6 0.0 0.0 30.6 97.3 0.000 2.3 0.629 -0.200 0.023 -0.178 W
Reggie Miller 5/29/1998 IND CHI ECF 41 11.6 7.2 61.9 17.3 118.8 0.248 4.5 0.339 -0.153 -0.024 -0.177 W
Andrew Lang 5/19/1994 ATL IND ECS 29 12.8 7.7 60.4 24.9 118.0 0.278 3.9 0.383 -0.161 -0.016 -0.177 L
Mo Williams 5/3/2006 MIL DET EC1 19 9.0 4.8 54.0 25.5 137.8 0.269 2.4 0.336 -0.130 -0.047 -0.176 L
Chuck Person 5/16/1996 SAS UTA WCS 31 5.9 3.0 51.3 11.2 136.2 0.180 3.0 0.287 -0.098 -0.078 -0.176 L
Allan Houston 5/21/2000 NYK MIA ECS 42 9.6 4.8 49.7 14.4 113.0 0.238 4.5 0.335 -0.173 -0.003 -0.176 W
Jason Kidd 5/20/2004 NJN DET ECS 43 10.2 3.1 30.1 12.9 98.8 0.142 9.7 0.613 -0.220 0.045 -0.175 L
Muggsy Bogues 5/4/1995 CHH CHI EC1 33 12.6 6.0 47.2 22.0 104.6 0.231 5.4 0.466 -0.231 0.057 -0.174 L
Ricky Davis 4/25/2004 BOS IND EC1 27 11.5 5.4 47.1 22.8 106.0 0.195 4.1 0.411 -0.176 0.003 -0.174 L
Sam Cassell 5/22/2006 LAC PHO WCS 39 14.2 13.0 91.9 19.7 146.5 0.459 4.7 0.323 -0.036 -0.138 -0.174 L
LeBron James 6/14/2007 CLE SAS FIN 46 33.3 25.1 75.5 40.4 101.1 0.354 7.2 0.439 -0.244 0.070 -0.173 L
Chris Webber 5/3/2005 PHI DET EC1 41 19.9 13.3 66.8 27.6 107.0 0.345 6.2 0.432 -0.219 0.046 -0.173 L
Dominique Wilkins 5/5/1991 ATL DET EC1 30 15.2 8.7 56.8 25.2 111.8 0.272 6.8 0.559 -0.199 0.028 -0.171 L
Gary Payton 5/22/1993 SEA HOU WCS 35 10.1 5.2 52.0 17.4 116.4 0.267 4.7 0.404 -0.171 0.000 -0.170 W
Jerry Stackhouse 5/14/2002 DET BOS ECS 34 17.1 10.4 61.1 27.5 104.7 0.244 6.0 0.483 -0.198 0.029 -0.169 L
Wesley Person 5/3/1996 PHO SAS WC1 45 9.3 7.0 75.7 11.3 133.4 0.332 6.0 0.363 -0.070 -0.099 -0.168 L
Brad Miller 5/5/2006 SAC SAS WC1 19 8.1 3.2 39.4 23.5 121.2 0.184 2.8 0.400 -0.157 -0.010 -0.167 L
Shane Battier 5/2/2008 HOU UTA WC1 42 8.2 6.5 79.4 11.1 137.7 0.336 4.7 0.319 -0.055 -0.110 -0.165 L
Voshon Lenard 5/28/1997 MIA CHI ECF 41 11.0 7.9 71.8 15.9 127.8 0.294 4.1 0.296 -0.106 -0.058 -0.165 L
Chris Gatling 5/1/1996 MIA CHI EC1 20 8.3 4.2 50.6 23.0 127.6 0.263 3.3 0.455 -0.132 -0.030 -0.162 L
Wally Szczerbiak 5/18/2008 CLE BOS ECS 15 4.2 0.0 0.0 16.4 123.4 0.000 1.7 0.333 -0.148 -0.014 -0.162 L
Desmond Mason 5/3/2002 SEA SAS WC1 43 13.3 9.1 68.3 18.1 117.4 0.342 8.3 0.563 -0.130 -0.032 -0.162 L
Karl Malone 4/29/2002 UTA SAC WC1 41 18.3 12.7 69.5 24.9 111.1 0.345 5.7 0.391 -0.163 0.002 -0.161 L
Willie Anderson 5/3/1991 SAS GSW WC1 35 14.9 9.1 60.8 20.9 115.8 0.304 5.6 0.392 -0.176 0.016 -0.160 L
Rik Smits 6/19/2000 IND LAL FIN 25 8.2 4.2 50.4 17.3 124.5 0.233 4.4 0.467 -0.122 -0.037 -0.159 L
Thaddeus Young 4/30/2009 PHI ORL EC1 41 10.8 8.2 75.6 14.3 131.8 0.371 5.5 0.363 -0.082 -0.076 -0.159 L
John Starks 6/22/1994 NYK HOU FIN 42 14.1 8.7 61.9 19.2 110.9 0.281 5.9 0.398 -0.171 0.013 -0.158 L
Stephen Jackson 4/26/2010 CHA ORL EC1 39 17.7 13.2 75.0 25.9 119.0 0.360 6.0 0.442 -0.149 -0.009 -0.158 L
Xavier McDaniel 5/17/1992 NYK CHI ECS 42 15.0 12.8 85.4 20.6 135.3 0.412 4.0 0.272 -0.085 -0.073 -0.158 L
Anthony Carter 4/27/2001 MIA CHH EC1 17 11.0 5.8 53.1 35.9 110.0 0.257 2.7 0.443 -0.163 0.006 -0.157 L
Marcus Camby 5/2/2007 DEN SAS WC1 36 13.3 6.5 49.1 21.7 97.5 0.234 10.2 0.837 -0.226 0.070 -0.157 L
John Starks 6/4/1993 NYK CHI ECF 44 18.2 14.2 77.6 24.0 120.5 0.376 5.4 0.356 -0.136 -0.021 -0.156 L
Jason Terry 5/13/2009 DAL DEN WCS 34 12.0 9.5 78.9 19.0 135.7 0.291 5.5 0.432 -0.078 -0.079 -0.156 L
Robert Pack 5/21/1994 DEN UTA WCS 25 12.3 8.0 64.9 29.3 117.7 0.323 2.9 0.352 -0.142 -0.013 -0.156 L
Scottie Pippen 4/29/2001 POR LAL WC1 37 14.1 7.3 51.4 19.6 102.4 0.247 8.3 0.579 -0.202 0.048 -0.154 L
Buck Williams 5/5/1996 POR UTA WC1 30 6.4 2.7 42.1 11.9 124.2 0.206 3.1 0.286 -0.121 -0.032 -0.154 L
Chauncey Billups 6/2/2006 DET MIA ECF 41 15.8 11.3 71.8 22.6 117.2 0.347 5.6 0.400 -0.151 -0.001 -0.153 L
Kevin Johnson 5/3/1997 PHO SEA WC1 44 24.8 20.8 84.1 29.5 123.1 0.382 8.5 0.505 -0.115 -0.038 -0.153 L
Cedric Henderson 4/30/1998 CLE IND EC1 35 12.5 5.6 44.8 21.0 94.6 0.240 7.5 0.627 -0.236 0.083 -0.152 L
Stephon Marbury 5/2/1998 MIN SEA WC1 46 16.2 11.1 68.1 20.1 111.9 0.303 9.1 0.559 -0.164 0.012 -0.152 L
Vladimir Radmanovic 5/3/2002 SEA SAS WC1 36 10.9 7.9 71.7 17.8 124.5 0.311 4.9 0.399 -0.093 -0.059 -0.152 L
Andre Miller 5/1/2008 PHI DET EC1 34 13.2 10.4 78.9 22.6 130.3 0.393 3.0 0.260 -0.093 -0.059 -0.152 L
Pau Gasol 6/17/2008 LAL BOS FIN 32 13.1 10.6 80.9 20.6 136.3 0.397 5.7 0.445 -0.072 -0.079 -0.152 L
Steve Smith 5/13/1997 ATL CHI ECS 43 18.4 16.3 88.5 23.6 133.1 0.386 3.5 0.228 -0.063 -0.089 -0.152 L
Isaiah Rider 6/6/1999 POR SAS WCF 39 13.6 10.8 79.6 21.8 124.6 0.382 4.8 0.381 -0.076 -0.073 -0.149 L
Tim Hardaway 5/1/1996 MIA CHI EC1 38 16.2 14.5 89.7 23.7 137.4 0.391 3.2 0.230 -0.046 -0.102 -0.148 L
Rasheed Wallace 4/29/2001 POR LAL WC1 46 18.5 11.7 63.5 20.6 105.0 0.314 9.2 0.515 -0.193 0.045 -0.148 L
Fred Jones 5/4/2006 IND NJN EC1 27 5.8 1.2 19.9 12.6 113.1 0.090 5.0 0.543 -0.159 0.012 -0.147 L
Mark Price 5/29/1992 CLE CHI ECF 38 21.0 16.0 76.3 29.3 115.2 0.359 4.8 0.334 -0.169 0.023 -0.146 L
Richard Hamilton 5/24/2003 DET NJN ECF 41 23.7 20.1 84.8 32.2 123.4 0.393 4.7 0.321 -0.096 -0.050 -0.146 L
Jamal Mashburn 5/3/1998 MIA NYK EC1 41 20.7 15.8 76.2 27.9 113.6 0.352 6.7 0.452 -0.147 0.002 -0.144 L
Aaron McKie 5/4/1997 DET ATL EC1 11 4.8 0.5 9.6 26.6 105.6 0.044 1.9 0.520 -0.158 0.014 -0.144 L
Roger Mason 5/2/2008 WAS CLE EC1 30 8.0 6.4 79.8 15.8 140.2 0.344 2.1 0.206 -0.055 -0.089 -0.144 L
Joe Dumars 5/16/1999 DET ATL EC1 32 8.9 5.0 55.9 17.3 112.2 0.227 4.8 0.466 -0.133 -0.009 -0.142 L
Hakeem Olajuwon 5/3/1998 HOU UTA WC1 42 21.8 14.7 67.7 29.6 97.9 0.347 8.2 0.553 -0.225 0.083 -0.142 L
Eddie House 4/27/2001 MIA CHH EC1 31 17.2 12.3 71.5 30.8 111.8 0.330 4.5 0.399 -0.146 0.004 -0.142 L

One interesting note is that John Starks' infamous Game 7 performance from the 1994 Finals is actually pretty far down the list (#71). Why? We all remember Starks' hideous 2-for-18 line (0-11 3Pt), but he actually only used 14.1 possessions when you take into account who passed him the ball and New York's 14 offensive rebounds, and he produced 8.7 points with his scoring, passing, and rebounding. An offensive rating of 61.9 in the biggest game of your life is still terrible, mind you, but there have definitely been worse performances in the Finals according to WS (Kobe Bryant's disastrous Game 6 vs. Boston in 2008, for instance), even though history will always judge Starks more harshly.

ShareThis

15 Responses to “Biggest Elimination-Game Chokes by Win Shares”

  1. Ricardo Says:

    The way the buzz went back in the 1990's, you would have expected to see David Robinson three or four times on this list.

  2. Jason J Says:

    I'm surprised Pippen's 1990 migraine game didn't make the list. Don't recall the stats, but he really had a tough time. Also remember Kobe in '98 against Utah had a goddawful game 4, but maybe it wasn't really that bad.

  3. DSMok1 Says:

    3 for 23 by Kenyon Martin!

    Maybe he should have stopped shooting...

  4. Daniel Says:

    Surprised that Allen Iverson isn't on here at all (not that I can point to a specific game tho)

  5. Jason J Says:

    Just noticed that 1997 Matt Maloney sighting... That Rockets team gets trashed a little for not making the finals with Clyde, Dream, and Chuck, but if you take a look at the Stockton v. Maloney matchup for that game (and series), it becomes very clear where the Jazz took the victory.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/199705290HOU.html

    Poor Matt was a serviceable back-up forced to play the starter role against GP and then Stock in back to back series (though Glove mostly cover Drexler is memory serves).

    Also of note - Kenyon Martin was playing on a bad wheel against Duncan at his apex, when Timmy humiliated him.

  6. downpuppy Says:

    I'm surprised at how many stars there are on this list, but I suppose if your 4th or 5th best player is stinking out the join you bench him before too much damage is done.

  7. Neil Paine Says:

    A lot of these definitely had extenuating circumstances. And like Downpuppy said, stars (or at least starters) are predisposed to appearing on this list because the coach allows them to continue sucking for 30+ minutes. If a lesser player started out 1 for 6 with 2 turnovers or whatever, he'd get yanked, but when someone like Kobe does it, the coach knows it's uncharacteristic and hopes he'll eventually turn it around. If you pull Kobe after a cold start, maybe you reduce the chances of having one of these team-killing games, but you also reduce the chances of him getting hot again and dominating. Is it better to have a cold player who has a nontrivial chance of getting hot again soon, or a known mediocrity that won't go 6 for 23 and get you blown out, but also has no chance of playing well?

  8. Steve Says:

    What I find interesting is that a number of the players on this list also appear on the best elimination game performances list, too.

    The point, as I see it, is that we shouldn't be too quick to brand a player as a hero or a goat based on just one or two big games; it may be that their next big game will be as bad as the last big game was good (or vice versa).

  9. Nick Says:

    Wow. Kobe twice on the list in the top 10 alone.

  10. Romain Says:

    I guess advanced stats (and regular stats as well for that matter) will say Nowitzki had a highly efficient game 6 last night facing elimination against the Spurs. 33 pts on 38 minutes, 13/21 from the field, just one turnover.

    And yet this will fail to capture how stupidly he put himself in foul trouble in the 1st half with two frustation fouls on George Hill.

  11. themojojedi Says:

    Did Durant just push his way onto the list Neil, or did his free throw shooting save the day for him?

  12. Mike G Says:

    One-game play may be fairly random, but for the duration of a playoff series, it seems that player's have their good and bad series.

    Any chance you could do WS per game over the course of a series, and rank these?
    First-round, 2nd, Conf. finals and Finals?
    Listing also players' regular-season WS (per game or per minute) ?

    Ultimately, having these plus playoff opponent RS W% (or Pyth%), we could get a measure of Playoff-minus-Season records for players. Relative to the stiffer competition in the playoffs.

    In the season, the average opponent is about .500 . In playoffs it's generally over .600, but it varies by matchup. Wouldn't a player's playoff WS/Min expect to be only .500/W% of his RS rate?

  13. michelle Says:

    larry bird is a great player.

  14. michelle Says:

    larry bird did doa good job.

  15. Neil Paine Says:

    I love Larry Bird!

    (But what does that have to do with this post?)