With their overtime win last night, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference Final series against the Atlanta Hawks. The Golden State Warriors have a 3-0 lead in their Western Conference Final series against Houston and will try for the four-game sweep tonight.
Since 1958 when the NBA went to a seven-game series for their conference finals, the NBA has never had two teams reach the NBA Finals with both winning their conference finals series via a sweep. Should the Cavs and Warriors both sweep their foes in the conference finals, it would be the first time in NBA history.
In 1958 the two teams that met in the NBA finals, the Boston Celtics and St. Louis Hawks, both won their conference finals series with a 3-0 sweep of their opponents. That was the last time NBA finals opponents each won their previous series with a sweep.
The last time a team won a conference title with a 4-0 sweep was in 2013 when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs went on to lose the NBA finals to Miami. In fact, of the 15 teams that swept their conference finals to reach the NBA Finals, only eight of those teams won the title that year.
Here’s a look at the 15 teams that have swept their conference finals series to reach the championship series and how well they did in the NBA Finals that year.
2013: San Antonio (lost NBA finals)
2003: New Jersey Nets (lost NBA finals)
2001: L.A. Lakers (won NBA title)
1999: San Antonio (won NBA title)
1998: Utah (lost NBA finals)
1996: Chicago (won NBA title)
1991: Chicago (won NBA title)
1989: L.A. Lakers (lost NBA finals)
1987: L.A. Lakers (won NBA title)
1986: Boston (won NBA title)
1982: L.A. Lakers (won NBA title)
1977: Portland (won NBA title)
1974: Milwaukee (lost NBA finals)
1970: L.A. Lakers (lost NBA finals)
1968: L.A. Lakers (lost NBA finals)
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