Tuesday, June 4, 2013

2013 NBA Finals notes/oddities

By Rick Morris

^ This run of making the NBA Finals every couple of years that San Antonio is on, dating back to 1999, is one of the longest in the history of the league in terms of basic continuity of the unit.  Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich provide the most crucial part of the continuum.  This stretch of making the Finals at least every couple of years is longer than the biggest one of what is generally considered the “modern era” of the NBA, the LA Lakers of 1980-91.  The only stretches that are longer than this one are the Lakers of 1950-73 and the Celtics of 1957-76.  And this appearance 14 years after his first one marks Duncan as a player who rates with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the modern benchmarks for playing in the Finals all throughout their great careers.

^ The NBA cherishes its dynasties and repeat champions, but it’s only a few select teams that have managed to repeat over the years.  If Miami takes the trophy again this year, they’ll be the first team other than the Lakers, Chicago, Houston or Detroit since the 1968 and 1969 Champion Celtics.

^ Speaking of repeats, there have been nine of them since 1989.  Only twice has a team slipped on the banana peel in that period of time when they had the chance to repeat in the Finals: the Lakers getting knocked off by Detroit in ’89 and San Antonio taking out Detroit in 2005.

^ San Antonio is 4-0 in the NBA Finals.  Who was the last team to be toppled from the ranks of the unbeaten in NBA Finals?  Miami, who tumbled to 1-1 in 2011.

^ San Antonio has the best winning percentage of any team in NBA Finals history, as their all-time record in games played is 16-6, leading to a .727 winning percentage.  If they win the Finals this year, even if it is by a 4-3 margin, they will retain that record.  If they lose in six or seven games, they will tumble to third in winning percentage and if they lose in four or five games, they will fall all the way to fourth place.

^ This is the 9th time since 1994 that the NBA Finals have had their Western home games played in Texas, with all three teams in the state represented.  And when you add California to the mix (with the Lakers accounting for all of the action there), last year’s title clash with Oklahoma City represents the only time since 1998 that a team from neither state was represented.

^ Few people seem to be anticipating a seven-game series … and those don’t happen very often.  Here’s the full list of years those have happened since 1970: 2010, 2005, 1994, 1988, 1984, 1978, 1974 and 1970.

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