Is San Antonio's Sweep of Memphis a Good Omen for the Next Round?

Jerry TappSenior Analyst IIIMay 30, 2013

May 27, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich speaks at a press conference after game four of the Western Conference finals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum.  The Spurs won 93-86.  Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

While the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers duke it out in the Eastern Conference finals, the San Antonio Spurs sit and wait after sweeping the Memphis Grizzlies. Will the four-game sweep in the Western Conference finals bode well for the “aging” Spurs?

San Antonio’s 4-0 series win over Memphis was the 15th time since 1958 that a team has swept an opponent in a conference finals (the NBA went to a seven-game series in the series prior to the NBA finals in 1958). This was the first four-game sweep in the conference finals since 2003 when New Jersey defeated the Detroit Pistons in four straight.

Here’s a look at the 14 sweeps that have occurred in the conference finals since 1958.


Year, conference finals sweep

2013: San Antonio over Memphis
2003: New Jersey over Detroit
2001: L.A. Lakers over San Antonio
1999: San Antonio over Portland
1998: Utah over L.A. Lakers
1996: Chicago over Orlando
1991: Chicago over Detroit
1989: L.A. Lakers over Phoenix
1987: L.A. Lakers over Seattle
1986: Boston over Milwaukee
1982: L.A. Lakers over San Antonio
1977: Portland over L.A. Lakers
1974: Milwaukee over Chicago
1970: L.A. Lakers over Atlanta
1968: L.A. Lakers over San Francisco

Of the 14 teams prior to San Antonio this year to sweep a conference final, eight went on to win the NBA title that year. Of the last six teams to sweep a conference finals, four won the title that year. The last team to sweep a conference finals, New Jersey in 2003, lost four games to two to the Spurs in the 2003 NBA Finals.

Note: The Spurs became the third team in NBA history to sweep a conference finals series multiple times. The Lakers did it six times. The Chicago Bulls did it twice in the 90′s.

Note #2: The Spurs also swept Portland in the Western Conference Finals in 1999. They then defeated the New York Knicks in five games for the ’99 title. Could 2013 be a repeat of that year?


Follow Jerry on Twitter @StatsonTapp