NBA Finals usually easy to predict

Print
Email
|

by TED MADDEN / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on May 13, 2010 at 1:44 PM

You want to make money betting on the NBA playoffs? Don't put any cash on the lower seeds, especially to make the Finals.

Since the turn of the century, the lowest seed to ever make an NBA finals were your Dallas Mavericks. In 2006, they were the 4-seed, but remember this: the Mavs had the second-best record in the Western Conference, at 60-22. They finished behind San Antonio in their own division, and back in '06, division winners got the top three seeds in each conference, regardless of their record. So while the Mavericks got the fourth seed, they were actually more like a two. They knocked off the Spurs in the second round and made it to the Finals (and should have won, but that's for another time).

There have been 20 teams playing in the NBA Finals since 2000. Only twice has it been a 1 vs. 1 matchup (the top seeds in both conference meeting in the Finals): 2008 when the Celtics beat the Lakers 4-2, and 2000 when the Lakers beat the Pacers 4-2. Four times in the last 10 years the NBA champion had been a 1-seed. The other six times were won by 3's and 2's (three each).

The last time a low seed made an NBA Finals was in 1999. The New York Knicks got the 8th seed in the East and made it to the Finals, the only time that's ever happened (they lost to the Spurs in five games). But that season was shortened by the lockout, and teams played only 50 regular season games. Just a weird year.

The last time a low seed won an NBA Finals was in 1995, when the Houston Rockets swept Orlando as a 6-seed.

All that is to say this. While there are some minor upsets along the way (and if Boston can finish off top-seeded Cleveland tonight, that will qualify), we are never treated to any real Cinderella-like efforts. And unless sports fans have a real rooting interest in a series, usually we'll pull for the underdogs. But the NBA playoffs have proven to be no place for underdogs

Here are the NBA Finals results since 2000, with the teams' seedings in parentheses.

2009

East: Orlando (3)

West: LA Lakers (1)

LAKERS 4-1

2008

East: Boston (1)

West: LA Lakers (1)

CELTICS 4-2

2007

East: Cleveland (2)

West: San Antonio (3)

SPURS 4-0

2006

East: Miami (2)

West: Dallas (4)

HEAT 4-2

2005

East: Detroit (2)

West: San Antonio (2)

SPURS 4-3

2004

East: Detroit (3)

West: LA Lakers (2)

PISTONS 4-1

2003

East: New Jersey (2)

West: San Antonio (1)

SPURS 4-2

2002

East: New Jersey (1)

West: LA Lakers (3)

LAKERS 4-0

2001

East: Philadelphia (1)

West: LA Lakers (2)

LAKERS 4-1

2000

East: Indiana (1)

West: LA Lakers (1)

LAKERS 4-2

Print
Email
|