This year’s NBA Finals begins on Thursday, June 1. Here are four stats you may not know about the NBA Finals.
- Cleveland and Golden State will meet for the third consecutive year in the finals, the first time that has happened in NBA history. There has now been 13 times when the same two teams faced off in the NBA Finals in consecutive years. They are:
1952, 53: Minneapolis Lakers vs. New York Knicks
1957, 58: Boston Celtics vs. St. Louis Hawks
1960, 61: Boston Celtics vs. St. Louis Hawks
1962, 63: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1965, 66: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1968, 69: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1972, 73: Los Angeles Lakers vs. New York Knicks
1978, 79: Seattle Supersonics vs. Washington Bullets
1982, 83: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
1984, 85: Boston Celtics vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1988, 89: Detroit Pistons vs. Los Angeles Lakers
1997, 98: Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz
2013, 14: Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs
2015, 16, 17: Cleveland Cavs vs. Golden State Warriors
- The Cavs and Warriors this year become the 14th and 15th teams to reach the NBA Finals in three consecutive seasons. The Boston Celtics of 1957-66 hold the NBA record by reaching the finals in 10 consecutive years. Following are the teams that have reached the NBA Finals in three consecutive years (or more):
New York Knicks, 1951-53
Minneapolis Lakers, 1952-54
Boston Celtics, 1957-66 (10 years)
Los Angeles Lakers, 1968-70
Los Angeles Lakers, 1982-85 (4 years)
Boston Celtics, 1984-87 (4 years)
Los Angeles Lakers, 1987-89
Detroit Pistons, 1988-90
Chicago Bulls, 1991-93
Chicago Bulls, 1996-98
Los Angeles Lakers, 2000-02
Los Angeles Lakers, 2008-10
Miami Heat, 2011-14 (4 years)
Golden State Warriors, 2015-17
Cleveland Cavs, 2015-17
- The Golden State Warriors this year will try to avoid becoming the tenth team in NBA history to lose in the NBA Finals in two consecutive years. The last team to lose consecutive NBA Finals was the New Jersey Nets in 2002 and 2003.
Here are the nine teams which have lost the NBA Finals in consecutive seasons.
New York Knicks, 1951-53
Ft. Wayne Pistons, 1955-56
St. Louis Hawks, 1960-61
Los Angeles Lakers, 1962-63
Los Angeles Lakers, 1965-66
Los Angeles Lakers, 1968-70
Los Angeles Lakers, 1983-84
Utah Jazz, 1997-98
New Jersey Nets, 2002-03
- The Cleveland Cavs, with a finals’ series win over the Warriors this year, would become the 13th team to win back-to-back NBA titles. The last team to win back-to-back titles was the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.
Below are the 12 teams to win back-to-back NBA titles in league’s history.
1949-50: Minneapolis Lakers
1952-54: Minneapolis Lakers
1959-66: Boston Celtics
1968-69: Boston Celtics
1987-88: Los Angeles Lakers
1989-90: Detroit Pistons
1991-93: Chicago Bulls
1994-95: Houston Rockets
1996-98: Chicago Bulls
2000-02: Los Angeles Lakers
2009-10: Los Angeles Lakers
2012-13: Miami Heat
My guess is that baseball fans, whether they are watching a game on TV or in person, like to see action on the field. They enjoy the batter connecting with a pitch and the either a base hit is the end result or a defensive play is made.
Of course, a well-timed walk or strikeout, depending on if your team is at bat or in the field, is always nice. Generally speaking, however, action on the field is what we crave.
Let’s put some numbers to the above musings. Here’s the question: Which batters most often don’t put the bat on the ball in their at-bat? Specifically, which batters have the most strikeouts and walks in their at-bats?
Based on season totals, there have been 15 players in MLB history who have had 120 or more strikeouts and 120 or more walks in a season. No player “accomplished” this feat last season, but in 2015 there were two players who tallied 120 strikeouts and 120 walks. Washington’s Bryce Harper in the ’15 campaign had 131 strikeouts and 124 walks; Cincinnati’s Joey Votto was the other player with 135 strikeouts and 143 walks.
Of these 15 players, six have reached the 120-120 mark in strikeouts and walks multiple times in their careers, led by Jim Thome who did it four times. Here’s a look at the players who have had 120 strikeouts and 120 walks seasons.
4 times: Jim Thome
2 times: Jeff Bagwell, Jack Clark, Adam Dunn, Mark McGwire, Joey Votto
1 time: Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi, Bryce Harper, Frank Howard, Mickey Mantle, Tony Phillips, Mike Schmidt, Mickey Tettleton, Jim Wynn
Last season (2016) there was six players who had 100 strikeouts and 100 walks: Brandon Belt, Josh Donaldson, Paul Goldschmidt, Harper, Mike Trout and Votto. This season, with about one-quarter of the 2017 season complete, there are five players who are on a pace to reach 120-120: Harper (33 strikeouts, 30 walks), Brad Miller, Tampa Bay (45-30), Matt Carpenter, St. Louis (37-32), Miquel Sano, Minnesota (58-30) and Goldschmidt, Arizona (37-35).
For Brewers fans, here’s a quick stat for you: Only one player in the team’s history has had 100 or more strikeouts and 100 or more walks in a season. Prince Fielder did it three straight years, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He had 138 strikeouts, 110 walks in 2009, 138-114 in 2010 and 106-107 in 2011.
It appears the Cleveland Cavs and Golden State Warriors are on a collision course to face each other for the third consecutive year in the NBA Finals. Through games of Friday, May 19, both teams hold a 2-0 lead in their respective conference finals, and both teams are undefeated (10-0) in the playoffs this year.
If both teams should sweep their conference finals and go 12-0 before the beginning of the 2017 finals, we could see a couple of records shattered in the process:
- The 2001 L.A. Lakers have the best playoff winning percentage in a season, .938. The Lakers that year went 15-1 on their way to the championship. Second on the list are the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers who went 12-1 in the playoffs that year, a .923 winning percentage. They are the only teams to have a winning percentage over .900 in an NBA playoff season. If the Cavs or Warriors should end the 2017 playoffs at 16-1, that would be a winning percentage of .941 for the playoffs, a new record.
- Four teams previously entered the NBA Finals undefeated (minimum of seven wins to qualify). The aforementioned 2001 Lakers were 11-0 before the start of the 2001 Finals. The 1982 Lakers were 8-0 prior to the ’82 Finals. Another Lakers team, this time the 1952 Minneapolis Lakers, went 7-0 in the first two rounds before the ’52 Finals; and, the 1989 Lakers entered their finals series that year against the Detroit Pistons 11-0. The ’89 Lakers, however, were swept by the Pistons that year.
The ’89 Lakers and the 2005 Miami Heat have the highest winning percentage in the playoffs without winning a title that year. The 1989 Lakers finished the playoffs that year 11-4, a .733 winning percentage. The 2005 Heat were also 11-4 in the ’05 playoffs.
Here’s a look at the eight teams that had a winning percentage of .700 in a playoff season yet did not win the title that year.
1989 L.A. Lakers, 11-4, .733: Went undefeated in the first three games (going 11-0) before they were swept by the Detroit Pistons in the finals.
2005 Miami Heat, 11-4, .733: Beat the Nets and Wizards 4-0 in the first two rounds of the playoffs, but then lost 4-3 to the Detroit in the conference finals.
2009 Cleveland Cavs, 10-4, .714: Won their first two rounds of the playoffs that year by sweeping Detroit and Atlanta, but lost 4-2 to Orlando in the conference finals.
2010 Orland Magic, 10-4, .714: A pair of 4-0 sweeps over Atlanta and Charlotte preceded a 4-2 loss to Boston in the conference finals.
2010 San Antonio Spurs, 10-4, .714: Swept both Utah and the L.A. Clippers 4-0 and then lost to Oklahoma City 4-2 in the conference title series.
2013 San Antonio Spurs, 15-6, .714: Went 12-2 in the first three rounds of the playoffs before facing off with Miami in the finals. They lost to the Heat in seven games in the finals.
2003 New Jersey Nets, 14-6, .700: Lost to the Spurs 4-2 in the NBA Finals that year after going 12-2 in the first three rounds of the playoffs.
2015 Cleveland Cavs, 14-6, .700: They went 12-2 in the first three rounds of the playoffs before losing in six games to the Warriors in the finals.
The .733 winning percentage by the 1989 Lakers and 2005 Heat (highest winning percentage in the playoffs of a team that did not win the championship) could be broken if the Cavs and Warriors reach the finals. We’ll keep a watch on those numbers as the playoffs come to a conclusion.
Steph Curry had 40 points in leading his Golden State Warriors to a Game One come-from-behind victory over the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals on Sunday.
For Curry, it was his fifth career 40-point playoff game which made him the 22nd player since 1964 to have five or more career playoff games with 40 or more points. The Warriors are now 4-1 in these 40-point games by Curry, and it was the first home playoff game where Curry had 40+ points.
It should come as no surprise that Michael Jordan has the most 40-point playoff games since 1964. Jordan has 38; LeBron James is second on the list with 18.
Following are the 22 players who have had five or more 40-point playoff games since 1964.
38: Michel Jordan
18: LeBron James
16: Jerry West
13: Kobe Bryant
12: Shaquille O’Neal
11: Hakeem Olajuwon
10: Allen Iverson
9: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
8: Rick Barry
7: Kevin Durant, Bernard King, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade
6: George Gervin
5: Steph Curry, Charles Barkley, Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, John Havlicek, Bob McAdoo, Russell Westbrook, Dominique Wilkins
Did you know:
- Of the 12 players who scored 40 or more points in this year’s playoffs, their teams are only 4-8 in those games.
- Curry scored his 40 points last Sunday in 39 minutes. Of the last 100 games (dating back to 2005) where a player scored 40 or more points in a playoff game, only 16 played under 40 minutes in that game.
- Four of the five 40-point playoff games in Curry’s career saw him take 14 or more three-point shots. In the other game he took nine three-point shots.
- Jerry West in 1965 had the most 40-point playoff games in one season, eight. Jordan had seven 40-point games in the 1989 playoffs for second on the list.
- Only two non-starters have scored 40 or more points in a playoff game since 1964. Nick Van Exel did it on May 10, 2003 when he scored 40 coming off the bench for the Dallas Mavs in a playoff contest versus Sacramento. Curry is the only other non-starter on this list… he did it last year in a playoff game where he didn’t start on May 9 against Portland. He tallied 40 points in that game.
On Sunday the New York Yankees will retire Derek Jeter’s uniform number 2. After a call-up in 1995, Jeter the following year became the Yanks’ starting shortstop and held that spot until his retirement in 2014.
- Jeter went o-for-5 in his MLB debut, May 29, 1995, in Seattle versus the Mariners.
- Jeter played shortstop in 2,675 games for the Yankees, most of any player in club history. Only three other players have played over 1,000 games at short for the Bronx Bombers: Phil Rizzuto (1,647), Franke Crosetti (1,515) and Roger Peckinpaugh (1,214).
- Of his 260 career home runs, 189 of them came in games his team won. Seventy-one were hit in losses. Jeter’s career average in games the Yankees’ won was .338; in games lost by the Yankees, his average was .265.
- Seventeen players wore the #2 for the Yankees. The last player to wear #2 before Jeter was Mike Gallego (1992-94). Since 1969, the players who wore #2 for the Yankees were Wayne Tolleson (1986-90), Dale Berra (1985-86), Tim Foli (1984), Bobby Murcer (1979-83), Darryl Jones (1979), Paul Blair (1977-79), Sandy Alomar (1975-76), Matty Alou (1973) and Jerry Kenney (1969-72).
- Jeter had 1,311 career RBIs, but he only had 100 RBIs in a season once. That happened in 1999 when he had 102.
- Derek was the 1996 A.L. Rookie of the Year. Runner-up that year for the award was James Baldwin, a pitcher with the White Sox. Baldwin won 79 games in his 11-year career. The N.L. Rookie of the Year that season was L.A. Dodgers outfielder Todd Hollandsworth; he batted .273 and had 98 HRs in a 12-year big league career.
- Jeter hit 26 home runs versus the Red Sox, most against any opponent in his career. His best career batting average came against the Pirates (.422) and the Rockies (.412). His worst career batting average was against the Astros… he hit only .224.
- Five different Yankees played shortstop in the five seasons before Jeter was handed the job in 1996. The previous five: Tony Fernandez (1995), Mike Gallego (1994), Spike Owen (1993), Andy Stankiewicz (1992) and Alvaro Espinoza (1991).
- Derek hit 255 home runs as a shortstop for the Yankees, the most by far in the team’s history. Frankie Crossetti had the second most with 89, followed by Tony Kubek with 49.
- During Jeter’s long run as Yankees shortstop (1996-2014), Eduardo Nunez filled in the most games at shortstop with 152. The other players who played shortstop for the Yankees in 50 or more games during 1996-2014: Enrique Wilson (83), Jayson Nix (66) and Ramiro Pena (62).
Bonus stat: Fifty-one different Yankees played second base during Jeter’s 1996-2014 run as the Yankees shortstop. Leading the way was Robinson Cano with 1,351 games, followed by Alfonso Soriano, 467 games, and Chuck Knoblauch, 381 games.