The conference finals are officially set for the 2022 NBA playoffs.
In the East, No. 1 Miami Heat will face No. 2 Boston Celtics. In the West, No. 3 Golden State Warriors will take on No. 4 Dallas Mavericks. The winners of the East and West series will then move on to the 2022 NBA Finals.
After a laborious trek to the top, both Miami, Boston, Golden State and Dallas have a lot to prove in these last few games of the postseason.
Miami’s first round wasn’t much of a nail-biter against the Atlanta Hawks, finishing the series with a 4-1 win. Their second-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers resulted in a 4-2 series win, advancing them to the conference finals for the second time in three seasons.
Boston finished Round 1 with a 4-0 series sweep win over the Brooklyn Nets. While in round two, the Celtics played quite the battle royale with the Milwaukee Bucks, finishing the series after a Game 7 win.
Golden State defeated the Denver Nuggets in the first round with a 4-1 series win and the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round with a 4-2 series victory.
Dallas’ first round resulted in a 4-2 series victory against the Utah Jazz. The team ended the Phoenix Suns’ season with a Game 7 blowout, ultimately advancing them to the conference finals.
Now, it’s true that these four teams have all had Finals appearances throughout history, with the Celtics’ 21 appearances being the second most of any franchise. However, an even more interesting take is how many of these conference finals matchups have happened before.
Let’s take a dive into the most common conference finals matchups.
Here are the top five most frequent combinations for the conference finals, including East/West Division Finals:
1. Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers - 13
The Celtics have faced the Sixers a total of 13 times throughout history in the conference finals. Boston took home eight victories, while Philadelphia snagged five.
2. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Atlanta Hawks - 8
The Lakers and Hawks have been matched up eight times in the conference finals, where the Lakers won five series, while the Hawks won three.
T-3. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings - 5
Los Angeles also faced Sacramento for a total of five times in the conference finals, during which the Lakers won four and the Kings won one.
T-3. New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics - 5
The Knicks and the Celtics faced each other five times in the conference finals, and scores were pretty even between the two. The Knicks clinched three victories, while Boston secured two.
5. Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs - 4
The Lakers also faced the Spurs in the conference finals four times, where they proved undefeated, beating San Antonio each time.