The folks in ESPN's research department whet your appetite for Thursday's Game 7 clash between the Celtics and Lakers with a glimpse at some notes and statistics about the NBA's ultimate title game:
The skinny: The NBA Finals are headed to a Game 7 for first time since 2005 when the Spurs defeated the Pistons... It is the fifth time the Celtics and Lakers will play a Game 7 in the NBA Finals, with the Celtics winning each of the previous four meetings (from 1962 to 1984)... The Celtics are 7-0 all-time in NBA Finals Game 7s. The Lakers are 3-5... The Lakers are 13-1 all-time in Game 7s at home, with the one loss coming to the Celtics in the 1969 NBA Finals... Overall, the home team is 13-3 in NBA Finals Game 7s, but the Celtics are responsible for two of the three road wins (1969 and 1974)... Celtics have an NBA-record 20 Game 7 wins (opposite six losses), and are 3-2 in road Game 7s... The Lakers have won 14 Game 7s (second most all-time), but have also lost eight Game 7s (tied for the most all-time)... Overall, the home team has won 80 percent of Game 7s (84-21).
History of Finals Game 7: Here's a quick glimpse at every Game 7 in Finals history, with Celtics-Lakers matchups bolded:
2005 - San Antonio Spurs over Detroit Pistons
1994 - Houston Rockets over New York Knicks
1988 - Los Angeles Lakers over Detroit Pistons
1984 - Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers
1978 - Washington Bullets over Seattle Supersonics
1974 - Boston Celtics over Milwaukee Bucks
1970 - New York Knicks over Los Angeles Lakers
1969 - Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers
1966 - Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers
1962 - Boston Celtics over Los Angeles Lakers
1960 - Boston Celtics over St. Louis Hawks
1957 - Boston Celtics over St. Louis Hawks
1955 - Syracuse Nationals over Fort Wayne Pistons
1954 - Minneapolis Lakers over Syracuse Nationals
1952 - Minneapolis Lakers over New York Knicks
1951 - Rochester Royals over New York Knicks
<<< Only wins by road team: 1969, 1974, 1978
Opposites attract in Game 7: The Boston Celtics boast the most Finals Game 7 victories with seven, while the Lakers are second with three. No other team in the league has more than one. Conversely, the Lakers own the most Finals Game 7 losses with five, while the Knicks and Pistons are close behind with three apiece.
The two best in Game 7s overall: In all playoff series, the Boston Celtics have won 20 Game 7s, while the Lakers are next best with 14. There's a big gap between the competition with the Knicks (7), Wizards (6), and 76ers (6) behind them.
Avoiding cloud 9: The Lakers are tied with the Hawks, 76ers, and Knicks for most Game 7 losses in NBA playoff history at eight. But L.A. is the only team with a winning mark in Game 7s overall at 14-8. The Knicks (7-8), 76ers (6-8) and Hawks (4-8) are all worse off.
Feels like the first time: Phil Jackson is coaching his 13th NBA Finals this season, but this will be his very first Game 7.
"It's really a high-tension situation," Jackson said after Game 6. "Players have come down to putting a lot on the line at this particular point. A lot of times it's not about the coaching at that point. They've already got it in them. It's about who comes out and provides the energy on the floor and plays the kind of game and dictates the kind of game they want to dictate."