Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls fans are pretty cocky today — their teams are on the verge of getting first round sweeps. That means extra rest, players can sit home and watch opposing playoff games and be annoyed by the NBA talking ball ads just like the rest of us. It just means more time for Heat fans to crow about their team jelling at the right time.
First round sweeps do not equal rings. In fact, kind of the opposite. Last season only one team had a first-round sweep — the Orlando Magic. How’d that work out?
Since the NBA’s money-grubbing move to expand the first-round series to seven games nine years ago there has never been an eventual NBA champion that swept to a first round series win.
2010 Los Angeles Lakers: 4-2 (Oklahoma City Thunder)
2009 Los Angeles Lakers: 4-1 (Utah Jazz)
2008 Boston Celtics 4-3 (Atlanta Hawks)
2007 San Antonio Spurs 4-1 (Denver Nuggets)
2006 Miami Heat 4-2 (Chicago Bulls)
2005 San Antonio Spurs 4-1 (Denver Nuggets)
2004 Detroit Pistons 4-1 (Milwaukee Bucks)
2003 San Antonio Spurs 4-2 (Phoenix Suns)
Half of them got out in five games, and no doubt some rest can be good for the body. But even having to play six or seven games is not a deterrent.
Being the best team at the end of the first round of the playoffs is about as meaningful as leading the Kentucky Derby as the horses head onto the backstretch. There is a whole lot of playoffs left, a whole lot more challenging matchups and bigger tests ahead.
But go ahead, enjoy being up 3-0. Pull for a sweep so your guys can get extra rest. Just don’t read much into it.