How many times has a No. 7 seed upset a No. 2 seed in the NBA playoffs?

The East's No. 7 Sixers and West's No. 7 Lakers will be trying to pull off a rare first-round upset.

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The No. 7 seeds in the 2024 NBA playoffs are set.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers emerged victorious in the two 7-8 play-in tournament games. Los Angeles beat the New Orleans Pelicans on the road while Philadelphia rallied for a home win over the Miami Heat.

Both teams now enter the playoffs with tough first-round matchups. The Lakers will be up against the defending champion Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals, which Los Angeles was swept in. The Sixers, meanwhile, will face a New York Knicks team that beat them by double digits in three of the four regular-season meetings.

While history won't be on the side of the Lakers or Sixers in Round 1, a No. 7 seed beating a No. 2 seed isn't completely unheard of:

Has a No. 7 seed ever upset a No. 2 seed in the NBA playoffs?

Since the playoff field expanded from 12 to 16 teams in 1984, a total of six No. 7 seeds have made it past Round 1.

The 1986-87 Seattle SuperSonics were the first seven seed to accomplish the feat. After a regular season where they posted a losing record of 39-43, the SuperSonics eliminated the No. 2 Dallas Mavericks in four games. Seattle lost to Dallas by 22 points in Game 1 before reeling off three straight wins.

In the 1988-89 season, Chris Mullin and the No. 7 Golden State Warriors swept Karl Malone, John Stockton and the No. 2 Utah Jazz in three games. The Warriors then repeated history two postseasons later, with the No. 7 Run TMC Dubs disposing of the David Robinson-led No. 2 San Antonio Spurs in four games.

The 1997-98 Knicks are the lone No. 7 seed to go the distance in a first-round series and win the decisive final game. Allan Houston powered the Knicks to a series-clinching Game 5 win over the Heat after New York was down 2-1 in the series. The following season, the Knicks pulled off another Round 1 upset of the Heat in five games, except this time New York was an eight seed. The No. 8 Knicks went all the way to the Finals, where they fell to the Spurs in five games.

Speaking of San Antonio, the 2009-10 Spurs also made it to Round 2 as a No. 7 seed by eliminating the Mavs in six games. Dirk Nowitzki and Co. bounced back from the defeat the following year by winning the Finals.

The most recent No. 7 seed to advance was actually the Lakers last year when they beat the Memphis Grizzlies in six games. That Lakers team and the 2009-10 Spurs squad are the lone No. 7 seeds to win a seven-game first-round series.

Of the six No. 7 seeds to emerge from the first round, the 1986-87 SuperSonics and 2022-23 Lakers are the only ones that went on to win another series in the same postseason. Seattle beat Hakeem Olajuwon’s No. 6 Houston Rockets in the conference semifinals before being swept by the eventual champion Lakers in the West finals. And last year's Lakers beat the Warriors in six games before being swept by the eventual champion Nuggets in the conference finals.

The 1988-89 Warriors, 1990-91 Warriors and 1997-98 Knicks all lost in five games in the conference semifinals, while the 2009-10 Spurs were swept.

Here's a full look at each of the No. 7 seeds that have advanced past Round 1:

  • Seattle SuperSonics, 1986-87: Beat Mavericks in four games, lost in conference finals
  • Golden State Warriors, 1988-89: Beat Jazz in three games, lost in second round
  • Golden State Warriors, 1990-91: Beat Spurs in four games, lost in second round
  • New York Knicks, 1997-98: Beat Heat in five games, lost in second round
  • San Antonio Spurs, 2009-10: Beat Mavericks in six games, lost in second round
  • Los Angeles Lakers, 2022-23: Beat Grizzlies in six games, lost in conference finals
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