By JERRY TAPP
For only the 13th time in NBA history, the Finals series does not feature a team that was ranked/seeded No. 1 when the playoffs began. The Cavs were the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors were the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
The last time a No. 1 seed did not appear in the NBA Finals was 2012 when the second-seeded Miami Heat faced off against the second-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The last time two No. 1 seeds squared off in the finals was in 2016 when the Cavs and Warriors played for the title, the second of their four match-ups.
Here’s a look at the 13 times when no top seed played in the NBA Finals.
2018: Golden State (#2) vs. Cleveland (#4)
2012: Miami (#2) vs. Oklahoma City (#2)
2011: Dallas (#3) vs. Miami (#2)
2007: San Antonio (#3) vs. Cleveland (#2)
2006: Miami (#2) vs. Dallas (#4)
2005: Sam Antonio (#2) vs. Detroit (#2)
2004: Detroit (#3) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (#2)
1994: Houston (#2) vs. New York Knicks (#2)
1978: Washington (#3) vs. Seattle (#4)
1973: New York Knicks (#2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (#2)
1968: Boston (#2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (#2)
1952: Minneapolis Lakers (#2) vs. New York Knicks (#3)
1951: Rochester (#2) vs. New York Knicks (#3)
This is the fourth straight year that Cleveland and Golden State have faced each other in the NBA Finals. Based on that, you would think that the Cavs and Warriors would have the two best regular season records in the NBA in the last four years. WRONG! The Warriors have the best regular season record in the league in the past four seasons, 265-63 (.808). But the Cavs have the fifth-best regular season record in the league since the 2014-15 season, 211-117 (.643).
Do you know which three teams have a better regular season record than the Cavs over the past four seasons? Following are the five teams with the best regular season win-loss records in the past four seasons.
Golden State 265-63 .808
San Antonio 230-98 .701
Houston 217-111 .662
Toronto 215-113 .655
Cleveland 211-117 .643
The Los Angeles Clippers are the only other team to have a winning percentage over .600 in the past four seasons, 202-126 (.616). The worst record in the NBA over the past four years? The Lakers, who went 99-229 (.302).
Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp