NBA Playoffs’: stats beyond the numbers

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Arman Zadeh, Staff  Writer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. And no, I don’t mean summer, I mean the NBA playoffs. After a hectic first two rounds of the playoffs, multiple season ending injuries and 12 heart-breaking eliminations, four teams have moved on to reach one of the biggest milestones of any franchise’s season, the conference finals.

If you haven’t been keeping up, the San Antonio Spurs have reached the Western Conference Finals after sweeping the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round of the playoffs, meeting with The Oklahoma City Thunder, who eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat, who are no surprises to see at this time of the year, look to defend their Conference Champions title as they face The Boston Celtics.

The Spurs, who had not lost a game since April 11 (20 games) up to a few nights ago, had gained a 2-1 series lead over the Thunder, now 2-2, and are favored by many to move on to the Finals.

The Spurs winning streak makes them only the fourth team in NBA history to reach 20 straight wins; with 10 wins is the post season already, placing their names in the NBA record books for all time win streaks. On the NBA’s win streak list for streaks that carry on from the regular season to the playoffs, though, the Spurs are now ranked number one after surpassing the 2001 Lakers’ record of 19.

Although The Spurs passed the ‘01 LA Lakers’ winning streak of 19 games to create history of their own, they still trail behind the ’72 Lakers who rolled with a whopping 33 wins in a row overall. Side note: The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship in 2001.

The Spurs have history on their side, as well. In the past, 11 teams have swept the first two rounds and moved on to the Finals. Of those 11, six of those teams won the title.

On the other hand, the Thunder are the younger of the two and, after a previous blowout, look as if they can fight back. After blowing out the Spurs 102-82, and then 109-103, a change in scenery proved to be beneficial to be the key for Thunder.

On the East coast, The Miami Heat lead their series over Boston, 2-1. The Miami Big Three have proven themselves superior over Boston’s Big Four throughout the series, but Boston looks to even the series tonight at home.

Even a 44-point and a near triple-double performance from Boston guard Rajon Rondo proved not to be enough to secure a win against a roaring Miami super team, who are also favored to reach the Finals.

Up to a few months ago, Boston had become irrelevant in playoff discussion. In January, the Celtics were fighting for a number seven spot in the standings as Miami was eyeing the first seed, and have now reached the Eastern Conference Finals. The fact they have gone this far is impressive in itself.

I predict that the Spurs will win their series in seven games in order to move on and the Heat will win in six games to move on as well. From there, it is hard to predict what will happen between the two NBA superpowers, but look for the headlines in the upcoming weeks to see the leagues final outcome

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