2020 NBA Finals | Lakers vs. Heat

Heat, Lakers become unprecedented NBA Finals opponents

The Miami Heat are headed back to the NBA Finals. Making their sixth appearance, and first since 2014, Miami becomes the third-lowest seeded team to reach the NBA Finals since 1984.

They will be contesting the Los Angeles Lakers, making this the first Finals matchup between two teams who missed the playoffs the previous season. And they eliminated the Boston Celtics, who now join the Rockets in recent ignominy as the co-leaders for most playoff wins (29) without a Finals appearance over the last five seasons.

Also of note: The Heat or Warriors have played in the last 10 NBA Finals. Heat coach Erick Spoelstra becomes only the eighth coach to appear in a fifth Finals. And 2014 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala joins an ultra-exclusive (and Boston-heavy) list of players to appear in six consecutive championship rounds; LeBron James and James Jones are the only non-Celtics.

Lowest-seeded teams to reach NBA Finals*

Seed Team Season Result
8 New York Knicks 1998-99 Lost
6 Houston Rockets 1994-95 Won
5 Miami Heat 2019-20 TBD
4 Cleveland Cavaliers 2017-18 Lost
4 Boston Celtics 2009-10 Lost

*Since 1984

Teams to reach The Finals year after missing playoffs*

• 1976-77 Blazers (Won)

• 2001-02 Nets

• 2007-08 Celtics (Won)

• 2014-15 Cavs

• 2019-20 Lakers

• 2019-20 Heat

*Since the NBA/ABA merger

Players to reach six consecutive NBA Finals

• Bill Russell; 10

• Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn; 9

• Frank Ramsey, LeBron James; 8

• Bob Cousy, K.C. Jones, James Jones; 7

• Tom Sanders, Andre Iguodala; 6

Head coaches to appear in at least 5 NBA Finals

• Phil Jackson; 13

• Red Auerbach; 11

• Pat Riley; 9

• Johnny Kundla, Gregg Popovich; 6

• K.C. Jones, Steve Kerr, Erik Spoelstra; 5