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Has there ever been a 4-0 sweep in the NBA finals?

To sweep an opponent at any stage in the NBA playoffs is impressive, far less doing it in the NBA Finals themselves but surprisingly, it’s happened quite often.

Jun 1, 2023; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) celebrates after game one of the 2023 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah J. DowningUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Though you might argue that it’s too early in the NBA Finals to be talking about a sweep, the way the Nuggets are playing, it may well be a possibility. Yet, the question is has it happened before and if so, how many times?

Could the Denver Nuggets be the next team to sweep in the NBA Finals?

The 2023 NBA Finals is now officially underway and the Denver Nuggets have drawn first blood, as they now lead the Miami Heat 1-0 in the series. Following an intense first game, the Nuggets were led to victory on the back of a Nikola Jokic triple double to a 104-93 victory. It’s worth mentioning that the Nuggets have come into the Finals after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers. Indeed, if their performance in Game 1 is anything to go by and Miami’s apparently lack of one, Denver could well be poised to complete the sweep once again.

Of course, we can expect the Heat to push back, following what has to be considered a below par performance against a team that is as complete as can be. To be clear, the Nuggets are most definitely a completely different challenge from what the Heat have faced on their way to this point and that’s something Miami’s coach, Eric Spoelstra fully recognizes. “This is a great challenge,” Spoelstra said. “It’s going to require more. We will get to work and see what we can do better, what we can do harder, what we can do with more effort, what we can do with more focus.” Needless to say, it will be interesting to see how the Heat go about addressing the situation as they look to avoid what has happened to other teams in the past: the dreaded sweep.

So, how many sweeps have wee seen in the NBA Finals?

Though it may surprise you, there have actually been quite a few sweeps in NBA Finals history, with the last occurring as recently as 2018, when the Golden State Warriors put the Cleveland Cavaliers to bed. Below you can find a complete list of all of the sweeps that we’ve witnessed in the league’s history:

  • 1959: Boston Celtics defeat Minneapolis Lakers
  • 1971: Milwaukee Bucks defeat Baltimore Bullets
  • 1975: Golden State Warriors defeat Washington Bullets
  • 1983: Philadelphia 76ers defeat Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1989: Detroit Pistons defeat Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1995: Houston Rockets defeat Orlando Magic
  • 1999: San Antonio Spurs defeat New York Knicks
  • 2002: Los Angeles Lakers defeat New Jersey Nets
  • 2007: San Antonio Spurs defeat Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 2018: Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers

As you can see, there have been a grand total of 10 sweeps in the history of the NBA Finals. Surprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers were actually on the wrong end of those sweeps on three different occasions. In contrast, it’s the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs who have been the perpetrators of them the most with two a piece.