This second round of this year's NBA playoffs has been sleepy, with as much drama as a March showdown between 25-win teams.
Golden State's 121-95 win over Utah on Monday night was the 16th game of the second round. Only one of those 16 games has been decided by single digits, and it didn't come until Sunday, when Cleveland polished off a sweep of Toronto with a seven-point road win in Game 4.
While the playoffs have lacked intrigue, they've hosted plenty of dominance. Historic dominance, in fact. Since the NBA moved to a best-of-seven first round in 2003, we've never seen two teams reach the conference finals without a loss in the same season.
Until Cleveland and Golden State did it this year.
It's only the second time it's happened in NBA history since the league adopted the current 16-team playoff format in 1984. (More on that later.) Both the Cavaliers and Warriors spent the first two rounds validating what we knew from the regular season: They're on a crash course to face one another in the Finals for a third consecutive season. But looking back at teams that have duplicated both team's accomplishments, it's not necessarily a good omen. It's an astounding accomplishment, but it's been a harbinger of doom for the majority of teams that achieved it.
Since 1984, only 10 of the 528 teams to make the playoffs reached the conference finals without a loss. Four won the title. Five lost in the conference finals, including one series loss to a No. 8 seed. All five of the teams that lost in the conference finals lost to teams that did not win the title that season. Only one reached the Finals and lost.
Maybe it's rust. Cleveland will go at least eight days and could go as long as 10 days between the end of its series with Toronto and its series with the winner of Boston-Washington. Maybe it's overconfidence. Maybe it's teams playing above their ability for seven or eight games.
Whatever the reason, teams that have been dominant to this point haven't always fared well in the later rounds. Here's a look back at everyone else who's reached the conference finals with an undefeated playoff record.
Result: NBA champion
LeBron James and the Cavaliers made quick work of Detroit and Atlanta in the first two rounds before taking six games to eliminate Toronto in the conference finals. In a Finals rematch with Golden State, the Cavs famously rallied from a 3-1 deficit to snap the city of Cleveland's 52-year championship drought.
Result: Lost in conference finals to Oklahoma City
The Spurs swept Utah in Round 1 and the Clippers in Round 2 before hitting a road block featuring Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant and James Harden. The No. 2 seed Thunder climbed out of a 2-0 hole and won four consecutive games to eliminate San Antonio.
Result: Lost in conference finals to Boston
The Magic, led by NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard and the trio of Jameer Nelson, Rashard Lewis and Vince Carter, rolled through Charlotte and Atlanta as the No. 2 seed. They won all four games of the conference semifinals against the Hawks by an average of 25.3 points before facing No. 4 seed Boston in the conference finals. Momentum? Nah. The Celtics won the first three games in the series. The Magic won two to give the series some intrigue, but Boston closed out the Magic in Game 6.
Result: Lost in conference finals to Orlando
The Magic were on the other side of this disappointment. Ironically, one of LeBron's iconic moments in Cleveland came in these conference finals.
That shot to win Game 2 wasn't a turning point for the series, season or franchise. It was a footnote, a piece of trivia in a season that proved -- yet again -- that LeBron lacked the supporting cast to bring Cleveland a title. Nobody remembers the Cavaliers' dominance over Detroit and Atlanta to get to that series. They remember the disappointment against the Magic, who lost to LA in five games in the Finals.
Result: Lost in conference finals to Detroit
Dwyane Wade and Shaq teamed up in Miami for the first time in 2005, but before they won the franchise's first title, they came up short against the Pistons. After the top-seeded, 59-win Heat made beating New Jersey and Washington look easy, they took the defending champs to the brink. A balanced, deep Pistons team led by Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace and Ben Wallace bested Miami in seven games
Result: NBA champion
The 2001 Lakers, at the peak of the Kobe/Shaq era, put together the greatest playoff run of the modern era. They won only 56 games and earned the No. 2 seed in the West, but they swept Portland in the first round, winning all three games of a best-of-five by double digits. They swept Sacramento in Round 2, swept San Antonio in the conference finals and needed just five games to beat Philadelphia in the Finals to win their second consecutive title. They racked up a 15-1 record in the playoffs, the best winning percentage ever in the modern era.
Result: Lost in conference finals to New York
New York's run to the Finals in 1999 came the expense of Indiana in the lockout-shortened season. The No. 2 seed Pacers went 33-17 in the regular season and needed just seven games to get past No. 7 seed Milwaukee and No. 6 seed Philadelphia. No. 8 seed New York awaited, but the Pacers dropped Game 1 at home and eventually lost the series in six games. Larry Johnson's famous game-winning four-point play helped the Knicks take Game 3 in New York and a 2-1 lead in the series.
Result: NBA champion
Michael Jordan's Bulls swept the first two rounds only once in his career. Not even the 72-win team in 1996-97 could do it. The 1992-93 team didn't even earn the top seed in the East, but it swept Atlanta and No. 3 seed Cleveland in the first two rounds. It took six games to get rid of Patrick Ewing and the Knicks in the conference finals, and six more to win the title over Charles Barkley and the Suns, who had the NBA's best record that season at 62-20.
1989: Lakers, Pistons
Result: Pistonst won title by sweeping Lakers
Not since 1989 have two teams swept the first two rounds of the playoffs in the same year. It's an apt comparison to this year. Two competing dynasties -- Detroit's Bad Boys and The Showtime Lakers -- rolled through the first two rounds. Los Angeles swept all three rounds, beating Portland, Seattle and Phoenix to reach the Finals at 11-0. Detroit beat Boston and Milwaukee but needed six games to knock off a hungry Michael Jordan and the No. 6 seed Bulls. It paid off in the Finals after the Pistons swept the Lakers, scoring at least 105 points in all four games. It was satisfying revenge for Detroit, which lost to an aging Lakers team in seven games a year earlier. The Pistons won a second title in 1990, too. Before that season, no team had ever swept the first two rounds since the NBA adopted the current 16-team format in 1984.