Stephen Curry has already made more 3-pointers than any player in NBA history in the regular season (3,117), All-Star Game (47) and NBA Playoffs (489). In fact, the only 3-point leaderboard that exists in which Curry does not own first place is the preseason (176), where he ranks fifth.
As Golden State enters the conference semifinals on Sunday against Memphis (3:30 ET, ABC), Curry needs just 11 more 3-pointers to become the first player to reach 500 triples in the NBA Playoffs. During the regular season, Curry averaged 5.7 3-pointers made (on 39.5% shooting) in three games against Memphis.
And Curry is not the only player looking to make a move on the 3-point leaderboard during the semifinals. Below is a look at the 11 players that rank in the top 50 all-time in playoff 3-pointers, whose respective teams have advanced to the conference semifinals.
Klay Thompson needs just four 3-pointers to become the third player to reach the 400 mark in his playoff career, joining teammate Curry and LeBron James (432). Thompson needs 37 triples to pass LeBron for second place — a mark that is not impossible, but also not likely, to hit in the conference semifinals. Thompson would need to average 5.3 triples per game over a full seven-game series to pass James; the Golden State guard averaged 4.4 in the first round against Denver and during the regular season averaged 2.0 against Memphis (on 40% shooting).
Stephen Curry notched his 49th career playoff game with 5 3-pointers, most in NBA history.
That is as many as the next 2 players on the list combined (Klay Thompson with 28, Ray Allen with 21). pic.twitter.com/bmScdt2JBY
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 28, 2022
Curry and Thompson sit atop of the active 3-point shooters list in the playoffs, thanks to a combination of accuracy and volume that few have matched in postseason history. There are 96 players (including 35 active players) that have made at least 100 3-pointers in the NBA Playoffs; the Splash Brothers are two of just eight players to do so while also shooting better than 40% from beyond the arc.
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Miami’s P.J. Tucker is the only other player on this list that is still alive in the 2022 postseason. Tucker has shot 40.5% from beyond the arc for his playoff career but shot the three at 53.5% (8-15) in the Heat’s first-round series against the Hawks. Can he maintain that level of efficiency when the Heat face the Sixers in the conference semifinals?
Philadelphia teammates James Harden (354) and Danny Green (299) both enter the series with Miami ranked in the top 10 all time in playoff 3-pointers made. While Green needs just one more triple to become the ninth player to reach 300 playoff 3-pointers, Harden has some work ahead of him if he wants to pass Ray Allen for fourth place on the all-time list. Harden trails Allen (385) by 31 3-pointers; in Philly’s first-round win over Toronto, Harden made 13 triples in 34 attempts over six games. With the news of the 2021-22 NBA scoring champion Joel Embiid out indefinitely with an orbital fracture and mild concussion, Harden will likely be launching more 3s for the Sixers against the Heat as he takes on the primary scorer role.
Phoenix teammates Chris Paul (224) and Jae Crowder (190) should also make some moves up the 3-point leaderboard in the conference semifinals as the Suns face the Mavericks. Paul needs five 3-pointers to pass Kawhi Leonard (228) for 19th place all-time and 13 to pass Hall of Famer Jason Kidd (236) for 18th place. Crowder enters the series tied with Rasheed Wallace for 25th place and needs 10 3-pointers to become the 23rd player in playoff history to reach 200 triples, passing Damian Lillard (199) along the way. Crowder would then need just one more to break a three-way tie at 200 with Scottie Pippen and Michael Finley to take sole possession of 22nd place.
Three injured players to keep an eye on that are Miami’s Kyle Lowry, who missed the final two games of the first-round series win against Atlanta with a hamstring injury; Bucks’ George Hill has yet to play in the postseason due to an abdominal injury; while his teammate Khris Middleton has been ruled out for the conference semifinals against Boston due to a sprained knee.
As we look beyond the 3-point line, here are some other notable milestones to watch for during the conference semifinals.
• Stephen Curry (3,108) needs 75 points to climb to 21st on the all-time playoff scoring list, passing Dennis Johnson (3,116), Paul Pierce (3,180) and Kevin McHale (3,182). Based on his current playoff average (28.0 ppg), he would need three games to pass McHale.
• Chris Paul (2,800) needs 110 points to climb to 30th on the all-time scoring list, passing Patrick Ewing (2,813), Robert Parish (2,820), Charles Barkley (2,833), Kawhi Leonard (2,865) and Sam Jones (2,909). Based on his current playoff average (22.3 ppg), he would need five games to pass Jones.
• Klay Thompson (2,485) needs 15 points to become the 42nd player to ever score 2,500 points in the playoffs. Klay needs 87 points to enter the top 40 in playoff scoring, passing former Piston teammates Chauncey Billups (2,526) and Richard Hamilton (2,571). Based on his current playoff average (22.6 ppg), he would need four games to pass Hamilton.
• Chris Paul (1,141) needs just three assists to pass Tony Parker (1,143) and enter the top five all-time in playoff assists. Paul needs 123 assists to pass Jason Kidd (1,263) for fourth place. Based on his current playoff average (11.3 apg), Paul should pass Parker in Game 1, but would need 11 games to pass Kidd; that would require the Suns to advance to at least the Western Conference Finals.
• James Harden (880) needs 12 assists to pass Clyde Drexler and enter the top 20 all-time in playoff assists. Based on his current playoff average (10.2 apg), he could climb all the way up to 16th place if the series goes at least games. After Drexler, Harden would pass Mark Jackson (905), Maurice Cheeks (922), Kevin Johnson (935) and Bob Cousy (937).
• Chris Paul (267) needs 12 steals to climb from 15th place to 11th place on the all-time playoff steals list, passing Derek Fisher (272), Dwyane Wade (273), Robert Horry (276) and Clyde Drexler (278). Based on his current playoff average (1.8 spg), Paul would need the series to go a full seven games to pass Drexler.
• James Harden (244) needs just four steals to pass Hakeem Olajuwon (245) and Dennis Johnson (247) for 17th place all-time. Based on his current playoff average (1.0 spg), Harden would need just four games to accomplish the feat. He would need to double his average in order to catch Karl Malone (258) for 16th place.
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• James Harden (981) needs 19 free throws to become the 12th player in history to make at least 1,000 playoff free throws. Based on his current playoff average (6.2 ftm per game), Harden would need four games to reach the 1K mark and 12 more games to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1,050) for 11th place all-time.
With his next win, Golden State’s Steve Kerr (81) will break a tie with K.C. Jones and take sole possession of ninth place in playoff coaching victories. He will not be able to climb any higher this round.
If the Bucks earn four wins against Boston and advance to the East Finals, Mike Budenholzer (52) would tie Dick Motta for 20th place all-time, passing Mike D’Antoni (54) and Bill Fitch (55) in the process.