NBA Playoffs: Game 7 history, stats and more originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
These are the two best words in sport: Game 7.
The win-or-go-home nature of a Game 7 is unmatched, especially in the NBA playoffs. After six home-and-away clashes, many series come down to the deciding contest with the season – and sometimes a championship – on the line.
Basketball has a rich history with 7 games dating back to when the NBA was the BAA. How often do they occur and which team does best with the streak in play?
Here’s a 75-year look at Game 7 of the NBA playoffs:
How many Game 7s have there been in NBA playoff history?
There have been 142 Game 7s in NBA playoff history from 1947 to 2021.
How many times have the NBA Finals gone to Game 7?
Nineteen NBA Finals have been decided by Game 7.
While history says that a Finals streak has about a one in four chance of reaching a Game 7, this was a more common occurrence in the early days of the league. Ten finals required Game 7 from 1947 to 1970 compared to just nine since. Only four NBA Finals have needed a Game 7 since 1994, the last time in 2016.
The following finals are those that required a match 7: 1951, 1952, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1962, 1966, 1969, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1994, 2005, 2010, 2013 and 2016.
Playoff history indicates that Finals are less likely to reach a Game 7 than a Second Round or Conference Finals series, but more likely than a First Round series. Here’s a round-by-round breakdown of how often the series required a Game 7:
Finals: 19 games of 7 (25.3%)
Conference Finals: 36 games of 7 (28.1%)
Conference semi-finals: 58 games of 7 (26.9%)
First round: 29 games of 7 (19.1%)
Has an NBA Game 7 ever gone to overtime?
Seven Game 7s needed overtime to decide a series with a double overtime extension.
Two of those Game 7 overtimes came in the final. the Boston Celtics won the 1957 title with a double overtime win over the St. Louis Hawks and the 1962 title with an overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Four of the remaining overtime games were in the conference semifinals and the other was in the conference finals. The most recent Game 7 of overtime was in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals, as the eventual champion Milwaukee dollars beat the brooklyn nets on the road.
Which NBA playoffs have had the most 7 games?
The 1994, 2014 and 2016 NBA playoffs hold the record for the most 7 games with five each.
As mentioned earlier, two of those playoffs culminated with Game 7 in the Finals. The Houston Rockets got a Game 7 win over the New York Knicks win the 1994 championship, while the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated Golden State Warriors in an epic Game 7 to clinch the franchise’s first title of 2016.
In contrast, all five games in Game 7 of the 2014 playoffs were in the first round.
Which NBA playoffs have had the fewest Game 7s?
There have been 13 NBA playoffs without Game 7, but it hasn’t happened in a while.
The most recent playoffs without any Game 7s were in 1999, when the first round featured best-of-five series. Every playoff in the 21st century has featured at least one Game 7.
Of the 13 playoffs without a Game 7, seven have occurred when there were only three best-of-seven series each year. Prior to 1968, division semi-finals were best-of-five, leading to best-of-seven division finals and finals.
The following playoffs are those without game 7: 1947, 1949, 1950, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1967, 1972, 1983, 1985, 1989, 1991 and 1999.
Which NBA team has played the most Game 7?
The Celtics hold the record for most Game 7 appearances in NBA history with 33. The Lakers have the second-highest total with 24, while the Philadelphia 76ers are in third place with 17.
Speaking of the Sixers, they have the most Game 7 losses in league history with 11. Five of those have come against Boston, with the Celtics-Sixers being the most common Game 7 loss historically with seven matchups dating back to 1959, when the Sixers were the Syracuse Nationals.
Which NBA team has played the fewest Game 7s?
The Minnesota Timberwolves have the fewest Game 7 appearances among active teams with just one. The New Orleans Pelicans and Charlotte Hornets are next with two each.
While the Timberwolves hold the record for fewest appearances, they also hold the record for the highest Game 7 winning percentage in league history. Minnesota won its only game by beating the Sacramento Kings in the second round of 2004, leading to the organization’s only appearance in the Western Conference Finals.