Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.
While the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers duke it out in the Eastern Conference Finals, the San Antonio Spurs sit and wait after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies. Will the four-game sweep in the Western Conference Finals bode well for the “aging” Spurs?
San Antonio’s 4-0 series win over Memphis was the 15th time since 1958 that a team has swept an opponent in a conference finals (the NBA went to a seven-game series in the series prior to the NBA finals in 1958). This was the first four-game sweep in the conference finals since 2003 when New Jersey defeated the Detroit Pistons in four straight.
Here’s a look at the 14 sweeps that have occurred in the conference finals since 1958.
Year, conference finals sweep
2013: San Antonio over Memphis
2003: New Jersey over Detroit
2001: L.A. Lakers over San Antonio
1999: San Antonio over Portland
1998: Utah over L.A. Lakers
1996: Chicago over Orlando
1991: Chicago over Detroit
1989: L.A. Lakers over Phoenix
1987: L.A. Lakers over Seattle
1986: Boston over Milwaukee
1982: L.A. Lakers over San Antonio
1977: Portland over L.A. Lakers
1974: Milwaukee over Chicago
1970: L.A. Lakers over Atlanta
1968: L.A. Lakers over San Francisco
Of the 14 teams prior to San Antonio this year to sweep a conference final, eight went on to win the NBA title that year. Of the last six teams to sweep a conference finals, four won the title that year. The last team to sweep a conference finals, New Jersey in 2003, lost four games to two to the Spurs in the 2003 NBA Finals.
Note: The Spurs became the third team in NBA history to sweep a conference finals series multiple times. The Lakers did it six times. The Chicago Bulls did it twice in the 90’s.
Note #2: The Spurs also swept Portland in the Western Conference Finals in 1999. They then defeated the New York Knicks in five games for the ’99 title. Could 2013 be a repeat of that year?
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(From May 30 and every day until September 5 – the start of the 2013 NFL season – Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kick-Off” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)
#1. The NFL’s winningest coaches… by the alphabet!
When the New York Giants defeated the New Orleans Saints, 52-27, on December 9, 2012, it was the 150th career win for Giants coach Tom Coughlin. But it also was monumental in that the victory put Coughlin on top of the list for most coaching wins by an NFL coach with the last name starting with the letter C.
Coughlin now sits atop the list of most wins by a “C” coach with 151, surpassing former Steelers coach Bill Cowher, who had 149 career wins.
The only active coach on the list below is St. Louis Rams head man Jeff Fisher; he has 149 career wins, most by any coach whose last name starts with an F. Former San Diego head coach Norv Turner leads coaches with the last name starting with T, but Turner may not be adding to those totals any time soon since he was fired as Chargers coach after the 2012 season.
For a little light-hearted fun, here’s a look at the winningest coaches in NFL history… based on the alphabet.
A: George Allen, 116
B: Paul Brown, 213
C: Bill Cowher, 149
D: Tony Dungy, 139
E: Weeb Ewbank, 130
F: Jeff Fisher, 142
G: Bud Grant, 158
H: George Halas, 318
I: Lindy Infante, 36
J: Jimmy Johnson, 80
K: Chuck Knox, 186
L: Tom Landry, 250
M: Jim Mora, 125
N: Chuck Noll, 193
O: Steve Owen, 151
P: Bill Parcells, 172
R: Dan Reeves, 190
S: Don Shula, 328
T: Norv Turner, 103
U: Rube Ursella, 12
V: Dick Vermeil, 120
W: Bill Walsh, 92
Y: Swede Youngstrom, 4
Z: Jim Zorn, 12
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