2017 Finals notes: Historic matchup between Warriors and Cavaliers

Some historical notes on the 2017 NBA Finals:

• The series between the Warriors and Cavaliers marks the first time in NBA history that the same teams are meeting in The Finals for the third consecutive season. This has happened once each in the other three major North American pro sports:

NFL: Cleveland Browns vs. Detroit Lions in NFL Championship Game from 1952-54 (pre-Super Bowl era).

MLB: New York Yankees vs. New York Giants in World Series from 1921-23.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings vs. Montreal Canadiens in Stanley Cup Finals from 1954-56.

• The Warriors are 12-0 this postseason and the Cavaliers are 12-1. The NBA hasn’t had a championship series in which both teams reached The Finals with one loss or fewer in the playoffs since the 1950s, when teams played far fewer postseason games before The Finals.

• Since the NBA playoffs expanded to 16 teams for the 1983-84 season, this is the Finals matchup with the best combined playoff winning percentage for the two teams.

Best Combined Win % Entering Finals Since 1984

Year Teams W-L Win%
2017 CLE/GSW 24-1 .960
1989 DET/LAL 22-2 .917
1991 CHI/LAL 22-4 .846
1986 BOS/HOU 22-4 .846
2015 CLE/GSW 24-5 .828

• The Warriors are the first team in NBA history to win their first 12 games in a postseason. That makes them the first team to be 12-0 entering The Finals. If they were to win The Finals in five games or fewer, they would finish with the best single-season playoff winning percentage in NBA history. The same is true for the Cavaliers if they were to sweep the Warriors:

Best Single-Season Winning Percentage In Playoffs

Season Team Record Win%
2000-01  Los Angeles Lakers 15-1 .938
1982-83  Philadelphia 76ers 12-1 .923
1998-99  San Antonio Spurs 15-2 .882
1990-91  Chicago Bulls 15-2 .882
1988-89  Detroit Pistons 15-2 .882

• The Warriors are the first team to enter The Finals without a loss since the 2001 Lakers (11-0). That Lakers team, which included current Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, lost Game 1 of The Finals to the 76ers before winning the next four to finish with the best playoff run in NBA history at 15-1 (see chart above).

*stats provided by the NBA