Is San Antonio’s sweep of Memphis a good sign for their 2013 NBA Finals appearance?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

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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?

Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp

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