Morning Mix

What do playoff losses mean?

Unless you lose the series or get physically beat up winning a series, losing a game or two in an NBA playoff series doesn’t necessarily bode ill for that team during the rest of the playoffs. Nor does the fact that you sweep a playoff series necessarily bode well for the rest of the playoffs.

Take the Los Angeles Lakers for example.

In 1989 the Lakers swept their way through the Western Conferences playoffs, compiling an 11-0 record. In the Finals, however, they played a vastly superior Piston team that turned the trick on the purple, sweeping the Lakers in four straight. The year before, the Lakers won their first series 3-0, but then had to pull-off three consecutive game-7 clinchers to win the title.

Below is set forth the teams who have breezed through the playoffs on their way to a championship. They can be counted on two hands. This tells me that there is little to gleaned from the Pistons getting their noses bloodied by Philadelphia in round 1 this year, and very little to be gained from the Lakers sweep of the Nuggets in their round 1 match-up.

It is entirely possible, in fact, that the Pistons and Lakers first-round experiences could have the exact opposite effect of what one might imagine. The Pistons could become a mentally tougher team heading into round 2, while the Lakers could be a mentally softer team.

It all depends on how teams respond to their winning and losing and what they bring to the table on a given night.

Best Playoff Records

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