Even before the Sharks dropped the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh, the Bay Area already had the odds stacked against the possibility of an NBA-NHL championship parlay.
The Sharks and Warriors represent the ninth time that one market has fielded teams in the NBA and NHL finals in the same season. None of the previous eight instances produced a double-championship celebration. The breakdown:
-- 3: NBA team wins, NHL team loses.
-- 2: NHL team wins, NBA team loses.
-- 3: Both teams lose.
-- 0: Both teams win.
On those eight occasions, the NBA and NHL teams played in the same gym/rink. That's not the case this time, but with the uniqueness of the Bay Area market, they represent the same general fan base.
When the Warriors won the title in 1975, their home games in the NBA Finals were played at the Cow Palace in Daly City, just south of San Francisco, because the Ice Follies were booked for the Oakland Coliseum Arena. The Sharks played their first two seasons in the Cow Palace while the arena in downtown San Jose was being built. The Warriors spent the 1996-97 season playing in San Jose while the Coliseum Arena underwent renovations. (It wasn't renamed Oracle until 2006.)
Here's what happened the other seven times when NHL and NBA teams from the same region went to the finals of their respective leagues:
2003: New Jersey
With their star core of Martin Brodeur, Scott Niedermayer and Scott Stevens, the Devils outlast Anaheim in seven games of the Stanley Cup Final. It's the third Cup for the Devils since 1995, and they have a different coach each time: Jacques Lemaire, Larry Robinson and Pat Burns. Defenseman Ken Daneyko, a part of New Jersey's original draft class in 1982, retires on top.
Led by the combination of Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kenyon Martin, the Nets reach the NBA Finals for the second consecutive season. Swept by the Lakers in 2002, the Nets push the Spurs to six games in 2003. Tim Duncan nearly has a quadruple-double with 21 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists and eight blocks in the clinching game.
1994: New York
The Rangers end 54 years of frustration by beating the Canucks in the Stanley Cup Final. Brian Leetch, Adam Graves and Mark Messier score goals for a 3-2 win in Game 7. Leetch becomes the first American to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
The Knicks take a 3-2 series lead against the Rockets after winning Game 5, which gets one of the lowest ratings in NBA Finals history thanks to the O.J. Simpson freeway chase. In Game 6, John Starks, who scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, has his three-point attempt blocked by Hakeem Olajuwon in the final seconds, and the Rockets win 86-84. In Game 7, Olajuwon has 25 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks, and the Rockets prevail 90-84. Starks shoots 2-for-18, including 0-for-11 on three-pointers. Knicks coach Pat Riley never brings veteran shooting guard Rolando Blackman off the bench to sub for Starks, a decision he calls "the biggest mistake I ever made."
With Chris Chelios, Jeremy Roenick and Ed Belfour, the Blackhawks roll into the Stanley Cup Final on an 11-game winning streak. Then they get swept by the Penguins, who repeat as champions, and Mario Lemieux does likewise with the Conn Smythe.
The Bulls also repeat by handling Portland in six games in the NBA Finals. In Game 1, Michael Jordan makes six three-pointers in the first half, prompting his famous shrugging gesture toward NBC color commentator Magic Johnson to express his own disbelief. In Game 6 at Chicago, the Trail Blazers lead 79-64 entering the fourth quarter. But the Bulls dial up the defensive pressure and win 97-93 as Jordan finishes with 33 points and four steals.
The Flyers set an NHL record with a 35-game unbeaten streak (25–0–10) and finish 25 points ahead of the Islanders in the regular season. But when the teams meet in the Stanley Cup Final, the Islanders win it in six games. Bobby Nystrom's OT winner in Game 6 clinches it, and it is the first of four consecutive Cups for the Islanders. Televised by CBS, this is the last Stanley Cup Final game broadcast on network TV in the U.S. until 1995 when Fox shows the Devils-Red Wings series.
With Julius Erving leading the way, the 76ers make their second trip to the NBA Finals in four seasons. But Lakers rookie Magic Johnson steals the show and the title. The Lakers take a 3-2 series lead back to Philadelphia for Game 6, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who has been dominating with a 33.4-point average in the Finals, stays in Los Angeles with a severe ankle injury. Magic delivers with 42 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists to win the first of his five NBA titles.
This title is notable for the Celtics because it's their first after Bill Russell's retirement. John Havlicek and Dave Cowens are the stars for Boston. The Bucks counter with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. The road team wins five of the seven games in the series. Cowens posts 28 points and 14 rebounds in Game 7, a 102-87 win in Milwaukee.
With Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 1970 and 1972. In 1974, the Bruins post the best regular-season record with 113 points. But the Flyers, who won the Western Division with 112 points, take the Cup in six games. Philadelphia goalie Bernie Parent posts a 1-0 shutout in Game 6 and earns the Conn Smythe.
1972: New York
The Knicks win Game 1 of the Finals against Los Angeles, but they are overmatched. The Lakers set the NBA record with 69 regular-season wins and a 33-game winning streak. They finish the Knicks, who don't have Willis Reed because of a knee injury, in five games, and Jerry West finally wins a title.
Led by 50-goal scorer Vic Hadfield, the Rangers reach the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1950. But they run into the Bruins with Orr, who wins his third consecutive Hart Trophy as league MVP this season. Orr scores four goals in the Final series to earn his second Conn Smythe in three years.
1957, 1958: Boston
The Celtics beat the St. Louis Hawks to win the NBA title in 1957, Bill Russell's rookie season. Russell has 32 rebounds in Game 7, a 125-123 double-overtime win. They lose the rematch in 1958. Hall of Famer Bob Petit scores 50 points, including the Hawks' final basket, in a 110-109 win to clinch the title in Game 6.
The Bruins, captained by Hall of Fame defenseman Fern Flaman, lose both years to the Montreal Canadiens, who are in the process of winning an unprecedented five consecutive Stanley Cups.
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