Every year the NBA Finals have brought together the top teams and players to compete for the NBA title. The NBA Playoffs aren’t like the March Madness bracket where there are several Cinderella moments on a yearly basis. That doesn’t mean that NBA isn’t capable of having underdogs beating extreme odds, but with seven game Playoff series, it takes a lot more for a lower-seeded franchise to win an NBA championship against stronger teams.
Cleveland Cavaliers Taking The Crown In 2016
This could be the best example of an underdog claiming the NBA title in recent memory. In the 2016 Eastern Conference, the Cleveland Cavaliers, spearheaded by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, had been the most dominant club. Their overall record was 57.5, they cleared the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks, and they won 6 games in the Eastern Conference Finals by defeating the Toronto Raptors in the East.
The crowning achievement was coming from a 1-3 NBA Finals deficit against a Golden State Warriors team that won an NBA record 73 games in the regular season. The Cavs would win three straight games and King James would celebrate his third championship on the road.
Miami Heat Brought The Heat 2006
The Miami Heat last made it to the NBA Finals in 2005–06, when Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade were playing together. With a 52-30 overall record, the Heat came into the playoffs as one of the lesser contenders. They finished second in the Eastern Conference, 12 games behind the Detroit Pistons. Miami’s first round series against the Chicago Bulls ended in a 2-2 draw going into the fifth game. However, nobody considered the Miami Heat the best squad in the playoffs at that time.
This shocked many of the punters who are fond of placing wagers, if you’re looking for a Basketball betting site in the US it’s recommended to conduct your own research.
Houston Rockets Take It To The Moon 1995
Despite winning the 1993–94 championship, the Houston Rockets were a significant underdog in the 1994–95 playoffs. Up to that moment, no title had ever been won by a franchise seeded lower than fourth. Despite adding future Hall of Fame guard Clyde Drexler midway through the season, the Houston Rockets ended the season as the West’s No. 6 seed with a 47-35 record.
The second-round series versus Phoenix Suns was a nail-biter. They won it in Game 7 on the road. Then, in six games, they beat the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals. In the NBA Finals, the Rockets swept the Magic to win their second straight title, capping off an improbable run; one where Rudy Tomjanovich to exclaim “Don’t ever underestimate the heart of the champion!“
Detroit Pistons Show Us The American Muscle 2004
The 2004 Detroit Pistons are a striking example of teamwork, chemistry, and the impact of five really good players can overwhelm much bigger names. The Detroit Pistons were the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 54-28 record going into the 2004 NBA Playoffs.
In the NBA Finals, the Pistons looked severely outmatched against the Hall of Fame, big names of Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Gary Payton, and Karl Malone. Despite all that, Detroit’s five-game NBA Finals triumph over the Laker super team was a major upset. Simply put, the Pistons defense shut down the Lakers. For more on this unlikely championship run and what happened with the Lakers, check out this oral history.
Dallas Mavericks Take It Home 2011
LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavs were the underdogs in 2016, but his teams have been favored before. James along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh formed the Miami Heat’s super trio in the 2010–11 season. At 58-24 going into the postseason, the Miami Heat bested the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, and Chicago Bulls only losing three games going into the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.
In those NBA Finals, LeBron would take a 2-1 lead over Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks and would infamously mock the 7-0 future Hall of Famer. It seemed every one thought that the Heat would romp. With a great supporting cast of former NBA All-Stars Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Tyson Chandler along with the outside shooting of Jason Terry and playmaking abilities of the undrafted José Juan Barea, the Mavs would stun the Heat to win the Finals in six games. Nowitzki would average 23.7 points and 9.3 rebounds to stun the NBA.