September 22, 2023

These NBA and NHL teams reached the Finals in the same year

NBA, NHL teams from the same city that reached the Finals in the same year originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The Stanley Cup has never shared a city with the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The NHL and NBA playoffs run concurrently, with the Finals in each league often ending within days of each other in June. But never since the NBA’s inception in 1947 has a city had its hockey team win the Stanley Cup Finals and its basketball team win the NBA Finals in the same year.

Some have come very close, with one team winning the title on ice while the other lost in the final on hardwood, or vice versa. This could be the year that changes, and it could be a few No. 8 seeds from Florida that make it possible.

The Florida Panthers and Miami Heat have a chance to become the newest teams from the same region to advance to their respective finals in the same year.

The Panthers stunned a Boston Bruins team that set the NHL record for most wins in a season, upset the Toronto Maple Leafs in five games, then swept the Carolina Hurricanes to reach their first Stanley Cup final in 27 years.

The Heat, after suffering a loss in their first play-in game, upset the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, disposed of the No. 5 New York Knicks and retired the defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics.

On the other hand, Boston became the first city to lose a home game 7 to a No. 8 seed in both hockey and basketball in the same season.

So that puts both the Heat and the Panthers, whose arenas are only 35 miles apart, a few wins away from raising banners for each sport.

Here’s a look back at other times when NHL and NBA teams from the same city got a chance to do the same after advancing to the Finals in the same year…

1957 – Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins

The Celtics were the first of 10 consecutive Finals appearances, giving the Bruins plenty of time to do their bit. The Celtics captured their first NBA title by defeating the St. Louis Hawks in seven games, but the Bruins fell to a Montreal Canadiens team in five games in the midst of a dynasty that saw them win five straight Cups.

1958 – Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins

The two had a chance to run back the following season, with each team facing the same opponent. But this time both lost, with the Celtics and Bruins both falling in six games.

New York had its first shot at the double ring as the Knicks and Rangers both advanced to the Finals. The Knicks, two years after winning their first championship, fell to the Lakers in five games. The Rangers, making their first Finals appearance in 22 years, lost to the Bruins in six games.

1974 – Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins

The third time was no charm for Boston. After the Celtics won all but one NBA championship in the 1960s, they captured their first of the 1970s by beating the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games. The top-seeded Bruins, in the Finals for the third time in five years, were upset by a Philadelphia Flyers team that won its first Cup.

Two teams in the final in the same year? How about four? This was the philly sports grand slam while all four of their major pro teams—the 76ers, Flyers, Eagles, and Phillies—advanced to the Finals of each sport. It started with the Sixers, who lost in six games to a Los Angeles Lakers team led by a rookie named Magic Johnson. The Flyers, who set a North American professional sports record with 35 consecutive games without a loss, were eliminated eight days later by a New York Islanders team that won the first of four consecutive Stanley Cups. In case you’re wondering, the Eagles lost 27-10 to the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl, and the Phillies defeated the Kansas City Royals in Game 6 of the World Series to clinch their first championship in nearly 100 years of the team to win. .

Michael Jordan and the Bulls were in the middle of the first of two three-peats, beating the Portland Trail Blazers in six games to win a second straight championship. The Blackhawks made their first Finals appearance since 1973 and were looking for their first championship since 1961, but they were swept by a Pittsburgh Penguins team that won its second straight Cup.

1994 – New York Knicks and New York Rangers

In 1994, there were nearly two championship parades in New York’s Canyon of Heroes. And it was the city that came closest to winning championships in hockey and basketball that same year. The Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in 54 years after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on June 14. The next day, in the same building, the Knicks tied the NBA Finals against the Houston Rockets 2–2. The Knicks went on to win Game 5, putting the team one win away from its first title since 1973. But they lost Game 6 by two points and then fell by six in Game 7.

Since that loss in 1994, the New York area was the closest to winning the Larry O’Brien Trophy at home in 2003…with the Nets. The Devils had already won the Stanley Cup after beating the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in seven games. Advancing to the Finals for the second straight time, the Nets fell two games short of two 2003 championship flags at the Continental Airlines Arena after losing to the San Antonio Spurs in six games.

One minor difference is that – like the Heat and Panthers – the Warriors and Sharks don’t play in the same arena or even the same city. But – like the Heat and Panthers – the two teams play very close. The Warriors, playing at the Oracle Arena in Oakland at the time, were denied a second straight title after giving up a 3-1 series lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Playing at the SAP Center in San Jose, the Sharks made their first Finals in their 25-year history, but fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in five games.

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