The two roads from two two

So how common is it for NBA conference finals to go 2-2? Is it an indicator of weakness? Do great teams ever struggle in the playoffs? The Basketball-Reference web site provides us details and we can draw our own conclusions. For a better sample size, I went all the way back to the 1st title for the detestable Chicago Bulls in 1991.

zzzHeat+v+Boston+CelticsBottom line, the Heat winning game 5 will put them on a pretty conventional track to the championship. But if they lose game 5 and repeat their prior year tracheotomy of the once proud Celtics franchise in the process of repeating as champions, now that is the stuff of legends.

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack [think pirates, not South Beach], the prize we sought is won;

Which road are you rooting for?

Here’s the recap:

  • In 23 years, 23 out of 46 conference finals have gone 2-2. So once San Antonio went up 3-0 on Memphis, the Heat were practically doomed in game 4.
  • Teams emerging from a 2-2 conference finals have won 4 out of the last 5 championships.
  • The only recent year without a series tied at 2-2 in the Conference finals was 2011. However, that year was something of an outlier since Dallas arrived in the Finals after facing Cantinflas and Miami arrived after facing a team ‘led’ by Derrick Rose.
  • Both of Bryant and Gasol’s Lakers championships came after emerging from 2-2 conference finals.
  • Ditto the Boston Celtics big 3 in 2008.
  • Jordan’s Bulls emerged from 2-2 conference finals in 3 of their 6 championships.
  • 41% [9 of 22] of 2-2 conference finals series winners have eventually won the championship. But if we decrease the total by 4 — for the 4 years where both conferences went 2-2 — then the percentage rises to the magical 50% [9 of 18]  mark.
LeBron post 2011 Finals

LeBron post 2011 Finals – an introspective period

  • The home team was the game 5 winner in 13 of the last 22 [59%] conference finals that were tied 2-2. Not as high as the overall game 5 playoff winners which are frequently noted to be in the 80’s percentage.
  • Only one of those home teams — Miami in 2005 — did not win the series. Wade, you will recall, being injured is what swung that series.
  • The road team was the game 5 winner in 9 of the last 22 [41%] conference finals that were tied 2-2.
  • Only 2 of those road teams — Boston in 2012 and Indiana in 1994 — went on to lose the series.

The NBA conference finals tied at 2 listing since 1991, as well as the Frost and Whitman poems, are copied at end of post.

The following are noted; team with the home court [H], winner of game [5], eventual series winner [W] ,  and if they were the eventual champions.

  1. 2013 – Indiana v Miami [H] ???
  2. 2012 – Boston [5] v. Miami [H/W/Champions]
  3. 2012 – Oklahoma City [5/W] v. San Antonio [H]
  4. 2010 – Phoenix v. Los Angeles [H/5/W/Champions]
  5. 2009 – Denver v. Los Angeles [H/5/W/Champions]
  6. 2008 – Detroit v. Boston [H/5/W/Champions]
  7. 2007 – Cleveland [5/W] v. Detroit [H]
  8. 2006 – Dallas [5/W] v. Phoenix [H]
  9. 2005 – Detroit [W] v. Miami [H/5]
  10. 2004 – Detroit [5/W/Champions] v. Indiana [H]
  11. 2002 – Boston v. New Jersey [H/5/W]
  12. 2001 – Milwaukee v. Philadelphia [H/5/W]
  13. 2000 – New York v. Indiana [H/5/W]
  14. 1999 – New York [5/W] v. Indiana [H]
  15. 1998 – Indiana v. Chicago [H/5/W/Champions]
  16. 1997 – Houston v. Utah [H/5/W]
  17. 1995 – Indiana v. Orlando [H/5/W]
  18. 1995 – Houston [5/W/Champions] v. San Antonio [H]
  19. 1994 – Indiana [5] v. New York [H/W]
  20. 1993 – Chicago [5/W/Champions] v. New York [H]
  21. 1993 – Seattle v. Phoenix [H/5/W]
  22. 1992 – Cleveland v. Chicago [H/5/W/Champions]
  23. 1992 – Utah v. Portland [H/5/W]

The Road Not Taken – Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


Walt Whitman

O Captain! My Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths—for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

O captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You’ve fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;

Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

About Jorge Costales

- Cuban Exile [veni] - Raised in Miami [vidi] - American Citizen [vici]
This entry was posted in Sports and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The two roads from two two

  1. Luis N. Perez says:

    Great work as usual..

    The tidbit on the Jordan Bulls is really cool. Would have been nice if mainstream media( Herald, ESPN, local TV) would have revealed that. Might have slowed the panic in town….

    Luis N. Perez

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s