Saturday, April 16, 2011
So you're saying there's a chance?
By Chris Forsberg
If you're the type that puts a lot of faith in what history tells us about future matchups, consider this postseason nugget from our friends at Elias Sports Bureau:
The Boston Celtics swept the New York Knicks this season, 4-0. Two other first-round playoff series will match teams coming off a regular-season sweep: Miami vs. Philadelphia (Heat won season series, 3-0) and Los Angeles against New Orleans (Lakers swept season series, 4-0). Since the 1989-90 season, there were 37 instances (before this year) in which one team swept another in a regular-season series of at least three games and then those same two teams faced each other in the postseason. In only one of those 37 instances did the team that swept the regular-season series lose the playoff series. That happened in 1997-98, when the Atlanta Hawks swept the Charlotte Hornets, 4-0, in the regular season, before Charlotte defeated Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs, 3-1.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers has constantly reminded his players that only one of those four matchups with the Knicks this season -- last month's ultra-physical battle in New York -- truly mattered given the roster overhauls on both sides (and the fact that the final game amounted to a junior varsity contest as the regular-season finale for both teams).