Kevin SchultzBoth the NBA and NHL Finals kick off this weekend, the former in San Antonio and the latter in Los Angeles, and two teams involved are getting near to some historical Islanders streaks.
The Los Angeles Kings and Rangers both had a long journey to the Finals. They each played 14 games in the first two rounds this year and made the final, something that’s never happened before for one Finals team let alone both. For the Kings, they took it one step further and are poised to tie, or beat, a pre-dynasty Islanders record should they come from behind in the best-of-seven.
The 1975 New York Islanders won eight elimination games in a row, an NHL record. IPB Historian Steven Steinsaltz explains how they, and the Kings, made their runs:
LA has gone 7 for 7 so far – 4 against San Jose, 2 against Anaheim, 1 against Chicago.
Go Kings! And if we’re getting picky, get it done quickly so as not to disrupt any records. (sidebar, follow @theroyalhalf for all your Kings fodder).
As far as the NBA goes, the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs begin their Finals series this week, with the winner taking home their fourth NBA title in the new millennium (and to be fair, San Antonio won in 1999, so it would almost be their fifth if I wasn’t being selective).
The Heat have won 11 playoff series in a row over the last three seasons and can make it 12 in a row with a series win this week over San Antonio. They’re still a couple years away from the Islanders record of 19 consecutive series wins but this is as close as anyone has come recently (and maybe as good a chance as anyone will have as LeBron is 29). The NBA has four rounds, so even if Miami swept the 2015 playoffs, they would still need a conference finals victory in 2016 to tie the Isles’ legendary mark.
But — the Heat could have been a lot closer had they not lost to the Mavericks in 2011. If we adjust history and let the Heat win that series, a victory over the Spurs this year would put them at 16, and they could surpass the Islanders mark next year. But that’s not the case, and there are two more years of domination they need to achieve.
And as far as titles go, the Islanders four-straight are in some elite company. Steven complied a list of franchises that own streaks of at least three titles in a row, which is mostly lofty company: