MIAMI—Four games, four nights, two titles at stake. South Florida is getting ready for an epic run of finals games.
Wednesday’s National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals game in Miami between the Heat and Denver Nuggets starts a stretch of four consecutive days of either NBA or National Hockey League (NHL) title matchup contests in South Florida.
The Florida Panthers are home for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday, followed by Game 4 of Heat-Nuggets on Friday and Game 4 of Panthers-Golden Knights on Saturday.
There have been three consecutive days of home NBA or NHL title-round series in one building (or market, in this case) on two previous occasions—but never four in a row, until now.
On May 3, 1972, the New York Knicks had a home finals game at Madison Square Garden, followed by the New York Rangers the next night and the Knicks again on May 5. And on June 4, 2016, the San Jose Sharks had a home Stanley Cup Final game, with the Golden State Warriors playing the next night and the Sharks again on June 6.
The Sharks and Warriors had home buildings about 35 miles apart at that time, almost identical to the distance between the buildings that the Heat and Panthers call home.
There were instances of NBA and NHL final games on back-to-back nights in 1957 (Celtics and Bruins in Boston), 1974 (also Celtics and Bruins), 1980 (76ers and Flyers in Philadelphia), 1994 (Rangers and Knicks), 2003 (Nets and Devils in New Jersey). The Sharks and Warriors also had a back-to-back, a few days after their back-to-back-to-back, in 2016.
Even the Miami Marlins are getting in on the fun. They moved their start time for a Wednesday home game against the Kansas City Royals up 30 minutes, to 6:10 p.m.—or roughly two-and-a-half hours before the start of Heat-Nuggets.
“All eyes are on South Florida sports, and we want our fans to enjoy the fun in rooting on the Marlins followed by the Heat on Wednesday,” Marlins President of Business Operations Caroline O’Connor said.
If someone wanted to attend all four of those games as a fan, based on prices Tuesday, they could expect to pay at least $2,500—and that’s for seats in both arenas about as far away from the playing surface as possible.
Image credits: AP