NBA Conference Finals setting fans up to see first-ever historical outcome

The East and West Conference Finals don't appear to be heading for dramatic conclusions, but they are setting up to make NBA history.
Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three
Minnesota Timberwolves v Dallas Mavericks - Game Three / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Through six total games, the NBA’s conference finals have delighted fans with great games, instant classic finishes, and storylines galore. But despite loads of late-game drama, the same two teams have won all six games.

The Boston Celtics lead the Eastern Conference Finals 3-0 and look to close out the Indiana Pacers on Monday night. On the other side of the bracket, the Dallas Mavericks lead the Minnesota Timberwolves 3-0 and look to wrap that series up on Tuesday night.

The Wolves, of course, closed out the Nuggets in round two, ending their season and title defense in seven games. This round, Minnesota has looked like a different team as their stars have struggled and their defense hasn’t had the right answers for Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving. 

While these series aren’t setting up for the most climactic conclusions, they are offering fans a chance to see history. There are two outcomes in play that have never occurred in the history of the NBA.

There have never been two sweeps in the Conference Finals

If the Celtics and Mavericks can each close out their series in four games that will mark the first time in league history that both conference finals have ended in sweeps in the same season. The teams still have to take care of business, but it’s crazy to see with how balanced and competitive the league has been and how parity reigns supreme, that this could possibly be the least competitive conference finals ever (at least from a pure results standpoint).

This historical first was very nearly accomplished just last season as the Nuggets swept the Lakers 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals while the Heat jumped out to a 3-0 lead over the Celtics in the East. But the Celtics fought back to even that series at 3-3 and almost pulled off a different historical first.

No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a playoff series

If either series doesn’t end in a sweep then we will be looking at a different path to history, as no team has ever come back to win a series after being down 0-3. The Wolves and Pacers would love to change that, but the odds are certainly stacked against them.

In league history there have been 156 teams to face an 0-3 deficit in a playoff series and all 156 lost the series. Only four teams have ever even forced a game 7 after trailing 0-3 and they each lost, most recently the Celtics last season.