The NBA playoffs have gotten off to an entertaining start. Houston won their series 4-1 and the Cavaliers and Warriors swept their first-round opponents.
It is no surprise that the No. 1 seed in the west and the No. 2 seed in the east have walked easily through their first opponent. There is no such thing as an NBA cinderella. The top two seeds have dominated playoffs in the NBA’s 70-year history.
one Through three
A team seeded first in their conference has won every NBA championship since 2012. Out of the 70 years of the NBA, a No. 1 seed has won the Finals 51 times. That is a remarkable 72.8 percent of the time.
Two seeds have been successful as well, winning 10 championships. The most recent was by the Miami Heat in 2012.
Teams with a three seed have won the Finals seven times. Overall, 68 champions have been seeded either first, second or third, which is good for 97 percent of the time.
The NBA champion is most likely gonna be the Warriors, Celtics, Spurs or Cavs. Most already knew that, even without these stats. The numbers backing that are astonishing.
four Through eight
Lower-seeded teams have made a few upsets in the playoffs before. The 2007 Warriors team that was seeded eighth upset the top-seeded Mavericks 4-2.
There use to be a time when the first round was a best of five series. In 1994, the eighth-seeded Nuggets upset the top-seeded Sonics 3-2.
In 1999, there was a lockout and a shortened season. The Knicks went 27-23 and were the eighth seed in the east and made it all the way to the NBA finals before losing to the San Antonio Spurs.
There have been two champions outside of the top three seeds to win an NBA title. In 1969, the fourth-seeded Boston Celtics claimed the title. The lowest seed ever to win a championship was the sixth-seeded Houston Rockets in 1995. Outside of these two anomalies, there is no proof that a team seeded lower than third will win the NBA Finals.
What does this mean?
It means there is no such thing as a cinderella in the NBA. In the west, the seventh-seeded Grizzlies are putting up a good fight against the second-seeded Spurs, but it won’t result in a championship. Even if they win, they would have to be the first ever seventh seed to win a title. Golden State will easily march to the Finals to make the percentages even more lopsided than they already are.
In the east, the Bulls have put up a tremendous fight. However, even if they win the series, they would have an insurmountable task to get to the Finals.
Although the playoffs have gotten off to an exciting start, the Finals matchup is pretty predictable. Nobody out of the top three in either conference will make it to the Finals.
If you are a hoops fan looking for a cinderella, you better stick with college basketball. There are no cinderellas in the NBA.
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