The Miami Heat cruised to a 4-1 Eastern Conference Semifinals series victory over the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first NBA team since the 2007-08 Detroit Pistons to qualify for a fourth consecutive conference finals, per ESPN Stats & Info.
The prosperous run has coincided with LeBron James' tenure in a Heat uniform, as Miami made the NBA Finals in each of James' and Chris Bosh's first three seasons with the team.
While the Heat have found success building around a trio of stars, the mid-2000s Pistons famously featured lineups with few weaknesses, despite never possessing one of the league's 10 best players. Those Detroit teams reached an astonishing six straight Eastern Conference Finals (2004-2008), though they came away from the almost-dynastic run with just one championship.
As two-time defending champions, the Heat have already bested those Pistons in terms of titles, and have a good shot to make it a three-peat this season.
If the Heat do go on to make the Finals, they'll become the first team since the Boston Celtics (1984-87) to reach the game's biggest stage in four consecutive seasons. Three teams—the Bulls twice and Lakers once—have three-peated since the Celtics' run of Eastern Conference dominance ended, but none of those three squads was able to reach four straight NBA Finals. Of course, Michael Jordan's Bulls likely would have, had His Airness not taken a mid-career hiatus to try his hand at baseball.
With the Pacers fading late in the season and showing signs of weakness through the first two rounds of the playoffs, James has the Heat in position to earn yet another piece of league history. Winning the championship every year is a tall task for any team, but Miami has the look of a squad that could qualify for the NBA Finals in five or more consecutive seasons.