NBA Conference Finals
The National Basketball Association Conference Finals are the Eastern and Western championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA), a major professional basketball league in North America. The NBA was founded in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). The NBA adopted its current name at the start of the 1949–50 season when the BAA merged with the National Basketball League (NBL). The league currently consists of 30 teams, of which 29 are located in the United States and 1 in Canada. Each team plays 82 games in the regular season.[A] After the regular season, eight teams from each of the league's two conferences qualify for the playoffs. At the end of the playoffs, the top two teams play each other in the Conference Finals, to determine the Conference Champions from each side, who then proceed to play in the NBA Finals.
Initially, the BAA teams were aligned into two divisions, the Eastern Division and the Western Division. The Divisional Finals were first played in 1949, the league's third season. The first two seasons used a playoffs format where Eastern and Western Division teams would face each other before the BAA Finals, hence there were no divisional finals. In the 1949–50 season, the league realigned itself to three divisions, with the addition of the Central Division. However, the arrangement was only used for one season and the league went back into two divisions format in 1951. The two divisions format remained until 1970, when the NBA realigned itself into two conferences with two divisions each, which led to the renaming to Conference Finals. The finals was a best-of-3 series from 1949 to 1950 to; a best-of-5 series from 1951 to 1956, and a best-of-7 series since 1957. Currently, the Conference Finals are played in a best-of-7 series like the NBA playoffs and Finals. The two series are played in late May each year after the first and second rounds of the Playoffs and before the Finals. At the conclusion of the Conference Finals, winners are presented with a silver trophy, caps, and T-shirts, and advance to the NBA Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers have won the most conference titles with 19. They have also made 23 appearances in the Conference Finals, more than any other team. The Boston Celtics have won 9 Conference titles, the second most of any team. Twenty-two of the 30 active franchises have won at least one conference title. The Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers have each played in at least one Conference Finals (Denver has played in four, Atlanta and Sacramento in two), but they have each failed to win their respective conference title. Two other franchises, the Charlotte Hornets, and New Orleans Pelicans have never appeared in the Conference Finals.
|^||NBA champion, winner of the NBA Finals|
|†||Team with the best regular season record, or tie for best|
Eastern Conference FinalsEdit
Western Conference FinalsEdit
Results by teamEdit
Stats updated through June 30, 2021
- Total number of appearances
- Exceptions include the 1998–99 season, which was shortened to 50 games due to the lockout, the 2011–12 season, shortened to 66 games due to another lockout, the 2019–20 season, shortened to between 63 and 75 games due to the season's suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the 2020–21 season, shortened to 72 games due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Goldaper, Sam. "The First Game". NBA History: NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition. NBA Media Ventures (NBA.com). Archived from the original on July 5, 2012. Retrieved August 5, 2010.
- "1949–50 Season Overview: Powerful Lakers Repeat". NBA History: NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition. NBA Media Ventures (NBA.com). Retrieved August 5, 2010.