This year’s NBA champion will be a team that has not won a title this century.
Of the eight teams remaining in this year’s playoffs, the Chicago Bulls last won a title in 1998, the most recent championship of any of the eight teams. In fact, three of the eight (Atlanta, L.A. Clippers and Memphis) have never won a title, and two franchises, Golden State and Washington, last won titles prior to 1980.
Since 2000, the NBA has had six champions: Boston, Dallas, Detroit, L.A. Lakers, Miami and San Antonio. The Lakers, Spurs and Heat have won 12 of those 15 titles since 2000, with the Celtics, Mavs and Pistons each winning one apiece. Those six champions are the fewest of the four major sports; MLB has had nine different franchises win a World Series since 2000, both the NHL and NFL have had 10 different teams win a title since the start of the century.
Of those NBA six teams that have won titles since 2000, three did not make the playoffs this year (Lakers, Pistons and Heat) while the other three (Celtics, Mavs and Spurs) each lost in the first round of the playoffs this year.
Here’s a look at the eight current teams in the NBA playoffs and the last time they made it to their conference title games, they last time they made it to the NBA Finals, and the last year they won an NBA title.
Team…conference finals…NBA Finals…Won title
Golden State 1976…1976…1975
L.A. Clippers Never…Never…Never
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Miami’s LeBron James missed out on a triple-double yesterday when he fell one assist short of accomplishing this feat; he had 40 points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.
In the 2012 NBA playoffs, Boston’s Rajon Rondo is the only player to have a triple-double. He had 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists on May 4 in Game Two against the Hawks, and then had a second triple-double of the ’12 playoffs when he scored 13 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out 17 assists in the May 12th contest against the 76ers. With his triple-doubles, however, Rondo had six turnovers in the contest against the Hawks, and had seven turnovers in his game against the 76ers. The Celtics won both games.
Over the past 25 years of the NBA playoffs (1988-2012) only 11 players have had a triple-double with one or no turnovers. Ironically, Rondo was the last player to accomplish this feat. On April 26, 2009, Rondo had 25 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists and only one turnover in a playoff loss to the Chicago Bulls.
Following are the players since 1988 who have had a triple-double with one of no turnovers in a playoff game.
Player, Team, (Date) Points-Rebounds-Assists… Turnovers
Dennis Johnson, Boston (5/6/88) 19-10-12… n0 turnovers
Fat Lever, Denver (5/14/88) 11-11-12… n0 turnovers
Charles Barkley, Philadelphia (4-27-91) 22-13-10… one turnover
Magic Johnson, LA Lakers (5/5/91) 21-10-17… n0 turnovers
Charles Barkley, Phoenix (6-16-93) 32-12-10 … one turnover
Baron Davis, Charlotte (4/27/02) 33-14-10… no turnovers
Jason Kidd, NJ Nets (4/28/05) 16-16-13… one turnover
Chris Paul, New Orleans (4/29/08) 24-11-15… n0 turnovers
LeBron James, Cleveland (5/2/08) 27-13-13… one turnover
Rajon Rondo, Boston (4/26/09) 25-11-11… one turnover
Note: Of the 11 instances listed above, seven of those players saw their team win that game.
If we move the criteria to a triple-double with two or fewer turnovers, the list would include 26 games. Here are the players who had the most triple-doubles with two or fewer turnovers in a playoff game from 1988-2012. The last player to accomplish this feat? LeBron James had 37 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists and only two turnovers as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers in a playoff win against the Chicago Bulls on April 25, 2010.
Playoff triple-doubles (1988-2012) with two or fewer turnovers, Player(s)
4: Jason Kidd
3: Kevin Garnett
2: Charles Barkley, Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Rajon Rondo
1: Baron Davis, Steve Francis, Dennis Johnson, Fat Lever, Chris Paul, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson, John Stockton, Chris Webber
Note: Teams were 17-9 in games where a player had a triple-double and two or fewer turnovers.
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1. The Dallas Mavericks were a first-time NBA champion last season. They were the third first-time champ in the last 13 years; Miami in 2005-06 and San Antonio in 1998-99.
2. Derrick Rose was the league MVP last year. He became the 16th former Rookie of the Year to eventually win the MVP honor. The others: Bob Pettit, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Willis Reed, Wes Unseld, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dave Cowens, Bob McAdoo, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan and LeBron James.
3. Steve Nash won his fifth assists title in 2010-11. That ties him with Jason Kidd for fourth most assist titles in league history. John Stockton won nine titles; Bob Cousy, 8, and Oscar Robertson, 6.
4. The Chicago Bulls won the Central Division by 25 games over the Indiana Pacers. It was the third time in four years that a team has won a divisional title by 25 games. The other two: Cleveland in 2008-09 and Boston in 2007-08.
5. Paul Pierce became the 37th player in league history to score 20,000 points. He became the third Boston Celtics player (John Havlicek and Larry Bird) to score all of his 20,000+ points with the Celtics.
6. Another Celtic, Ray Allen passed Reggie Miller for the career lead in three-point shots made, 2,612 (Miller had 2,560). Last season Allen shot .444 from the three-point arc, the best percentage of his 15-year career. He also had his best field goal percentage of his career last year shooting .491 from the field. Allen is a career .399 percentage shooter from the arc; his career three-point percentage at home is .399 and .399 on the road.