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After a two-season hiatus, the Golden State Warriors find themselves in a familiar spot: the NBA Finals.
The Dubs punched their ticket to the 2022 Finals by beating the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference finals. After entering the playoffs as the West’s No. 3 seed, Golden State lost just four postseason games en route to another Finals.
This will be the sixth Finals appearance for the Warriors’ core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and head coach Steve Kerr. Andre Iguodala will enter even more rarified air, as he will be in the Finals for the seventh time.
In all, this will be the Warriors’ 12th trip to the Finals and the Celtics’ 22nd. Here’s a look at how that stacks up against the 10 teams with the most Finals berths in league history:
The Lakers’ extensive championship pedigree stretches over 70 years. They won their first title in Minneapolis in 1949 and won their most recent title in the Orlando bubble during the 2020 season. Overall, the Lakers are tied for the most championships in NBA history and are 17-15 in their Finals appearances.
The Celtics have the same number of rings as the Lakers in 11 fewer Finals appearances. Boston is 17-4 in their Finals series, including a run of eight straight triumphs from 1959 to 1966. Their most recent championship came in 2008 and their most recent Finals berth prior to this year came in 2010, with both Finals coming against the Lakers. They now have a chance to make it 18 championships after eliminating the Miami Heat in seven games. Boston will play Golden State for the 2022 championship.
The Knicks reached a pair of Finals in the 1990s, but their last championship dates back to 1973. They had two stretches in franchise history where they made three Finals appearances in quick succession, making three straight from 1951 to 1953 and three more between 1970 and 1973. In all, the Knicks are 2-6 in the eight Finals they’ve played.
The Pistons have made their seven Finals appearances in bunches. They lost consecutive Finals in 1955 and 1956, made three straight appearances from 1988 to 1990 and made back-to-back trips in 2004 and 2005. They are 3-4 in Finals with their championships coming in 1989, 1990 and 2004.
Speaking of bunches, all six of the Bulls’ Finals appearances came in an eight-year stretch thanks to No. 23. Michael Jordan’s squads not only reached the Finals – they won them. Chicago put together a pair of three-peats by winning titles each year from 1991 to 1993 and again from 1996 to 1998.
All six of the Heat’s Finals appearances have come since the turn of the century, giving them the most of any Eastern Conference team in that span. The stretch began with a championship run in 2006 before moving into the Big Three era, which included four appearances and two wins. With their loss to the Lakers in 2020, the Heat are 3-3 all-time in the Finals.
The Spurs’ dynasty included six Finals appearances. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were centerpieces for the entire run, beginning with a 1999 championship in Duncan’s second season and concluding with a 2014 championship, which came two years before Duncan retired. The team won five Finals compared to its one loss, an epic seven-game series against the Heat in 2013.
The Cavs’ Finals appearances came thanks to a different No. 23. The team had never advanced past the Eastern Conference finals until LeBron James arrived. In 11 years with James in town, Cleveland reached the Finals five times and won its only championship in 2016.