On Saturday, the Golden State Warriors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 112-95 becoming the fastest team in NBA history to clinch a playoff spot. The Dubs topped their own record by two days set last season when the team won 73 games.

It is nice to secure a postseason berth in February but the Warriors are focused on one thing, the NBA championship. However, becoming the first team to clinch a playoff spot is no guarantee of a title.

History shows us that the first team to lock up a postseason trip rarely wins the championship. In the last 15 years, the team to clinch a playoff spot first has won the title just twice.

Of course the two-conference setup in the NBA could help explain why the first team to clinch a playoff berth has only made three Finals trip in the last 15 years. Of the 15 teams to clinch a playoff berth the fastest, 12 are from the East. The Western conference has been stronger during this time frame making it harder for a team out West to clinch the quickest.

Another reason the first teams to clinch playoff spots don’t win the title is that typically there is more than a month of basketball left to be played when the team punches their playoff ticket. A lot can happen in roughly 20 games like players getting injured (Kevin Durant: knee) or other teams surpassing them in the standing for better seeding.

The Warriors are no flukes. Golden State is gunning for a third straight Finals trip and barring a major setback will be the favorites to win the ring. Yet being the first team to clinch a playoff spot is no guarantee of a title.


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First Team to Clinch Playoff Spot

YearTeamResult
2016WarriorsLost NBA Finals
2015HawksLost Conference Finals
2014PacersLost Conference Finals
2013HeatWon Title
2012BullsLost First Round
2011CelticsLost Conference Semifinals
2010CavsLost Conference Semifinals
2009CavsLost Conference Finals
2009CelticsLost Conference Semifinals
2008CelticsWon Title
2007MavericksLost First Round
2006PistonsLost Conference Finals
2005HeatLost Conference Finals
2004PacersLost Conference Finals
2003MavericksLost Conference Finals