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Tuesday, October 29, 2013
The 2013-14 season: By the numbers

By Marc Stein

With an assist from my good buddies over at ESPN Stats & Info, here are some numbers of note as the NBA prepares to open its 67th season Tuesday evening:

26: No team has made it to a fourth straight NBA Finals, as Miami is trying to do, in 26 seasons. The Boston Celtics (1984-87) are the last team to achieve the feat.

3: Only three franchises have previously won back-to-back-to-back championships. The Heat will be trying to join an exclusive club that includes just the Lakers (2000/2001/2002 as well as 1952/1953/1954), Bulls (1991/1992/1993 as well as 1996/1997/1998) and Celtics (eight straight titles from 1959 through 1966).

2: LeBron James is trying to become just the second player in league history to win both the regular-season MVP and NBA Finals MVP trophy in three straight seasons. Bill Russell did it with Boston in 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1962-63.

3: LeBron is also seeking to join Russell, Wilt Chamberlain and Larry Bird as the only players in NBA annals to win three consecutive MVP awards. All four of LeBron's previous MVP awards have come in the past five seasons; no player has ever won five in a span of six seasons. The list of players to win five MVP awards in their careers only goes three deep: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six), Michael Jordan (five) and Russell (five).

13: There were a record 13 coaching changes in the league since last season. Nine of those coaches will be making their NBA debuts this week: Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer, Brooklyn's Jason Kidd, Boston's Brad Stevens, Charlotte's Steve Clifford, Denver's Brian Shaw, Memphis' Dave Joerger, Philadelphia's Brett Brown, Phoenix's Jeff Hornacek and Sacramento's Mike Malone.

676: Kobe Bryant is just 676 points shy of passing Jordan for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list.

18 Starting his 18th season in the NBA, all with the Lakers, Bryant is also just one season short of tying Utah's John Stockton for the longest career with one franchise. Bryant is tied for second all-time with Utah’s Karl Malone and Indiana’s Reggie Miller.

10: Brooklyn’s Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are first duo in NBA history, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, to play on two different teams together after having each been selected to play in at least 10 All-Star Games.

82: Since 1966, when the territorial draft was abolished, Greg Oden's 82 career games represent the lowest total for a No. 1 overall pick through his first six seasons since being drafted. Oden will likely be adding to that total with the Heat this season after last appearing in a regular-season game on Dec. 5, 2009.

30: David Stern’s 30-year run as NBA commissioner will end Feb. 1, 2014, tying him with the NFL's Pete Rozelle as the longest-tenured commissioner in the history of North American major team sports. (Former Major League Baseball commissioner Kenesaw Landis, with a 24-year tenure, is third.) The first big change under incoming commissioner Adam Silver is a return to a 2-2-1-1-1 format in the NBA Finals -- in which the team with the better record will host Game 1, 2, 5 and 7 -- for the first time since 1985.