NBA

The 6 Biggest Upsets In NBA Finals History

The 6 Biggest Upsets In NBA Finals History

Detroit Pistons
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The NBA Finals are not known for upsets. After all, a team has to be pretty good to get there. But there have been several cases where one team was heavily favored over the other and wound up losing the series. The Detroit Pistons easily defeated a Los Angeles Lakers team that featured four future Hall of Famers 10 years ago, but where does the Pistons upset rank among the greatest upsets in NBA Finals history?

6. 1969: Boston Celtics Over Los Angeles Lakers

Bill Russell Celtics
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6. 1969: Boston Celtics Over Los Angeles Lakers

Bill Russell Celtics
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It's hard to imagine that any series result between these two teams could be considered an upset, but that was the case in 1969. Led by player-coach Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics faced a Los Angeles Lakers team led by Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. In the series, the home team won the first six games, setting up the deciding game in LA. In Game 7, Boston won 108-106 on the road with Chamberlain out for the last five minutes.

5. 1975: Golden State Warriors Over Washington Bullets

Rick Barry Warriors
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5. 1975: Golden State Warriors Over Washington Bullets

Rick Barry Warriors
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The Washington Bullets went 60-22 in the regular season, while the Golden State Warriors were 48-34. Led by Wes Unseld, the Bullets looked primed to win the NBA title, but it was Warriors and Rick Barry who showed up. The Warriors managed to sweep the series, winning all four games by single digits. It was the only NBA title that the Warriors have won during their time in California.

4. 1995: Houston Rockets Over Orlando Magic

Hosuton Rockets
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4. 1995: Houston Rockets Over Orlando Magic

Houston Rockets
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The Houston Rockets were the defending NBA champions, but they didn't have a strong season in 1995; they were only the sixth seed in the playoffs in the Western Conference. Houston got hot in the playoffs and managed to reach the NBA Finals. The Orlando Magic featured Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway, and looked like the superior team. However, Houston got momentum after winning Game 1 in overtime and swept the favored Magic.

3. 2011: Dallas Mavericks Over Miami Heat

Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks
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3. 2011: Dallas Mavericks Over Miami Heat

Dirk Nowitzki Mavericks
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The previous summer, the Miami Heat assembled the Big Three by signing LeBron James and Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade. While the Heat had thee superstars, the Dallas Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki, who after multiple postseason failures, looked to exact revenge on Miami after losing the 2006 NBA Finals. The Mavericks shut down Miami's offense and got major contributions from Jason Terry, as the Mavericks won in six games.

2. 1977: Portland Trail Blazers Over Philadelphia 76ers

Portland Trail Blazers
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2. 1977: Portland Trail Blazers Over Philadelphia 76ers

Portland Trail Blazers
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The Philadelphia 76ers were loaded with talent, including Julius Erving, Doug Collins, George McGinnis and Darryl Dawkins. The Portland Trail Blazers, on the other hand, was led by Bill Walton. The 76ers jumped to a 2-0 lead with both wins in Philadelphia, but were blown out in the following two games in Portland. The Trail Blazers then seized the advantage, winning Game 5 in Philadelphia and wrapping up the series in Game 6 in Portland.

1. 2004: Detroit Pistons Over Los Angeles Lakers

Chauncey Billups Pistons
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1. 2004: Detroit Pistons Over Los Angeles Lakers

Chauncey Billups Pistons
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The Los Angeles Lakers had won three titles between 2000 and 2002. In 2004, they brought in Gary Payton and Karl Malone to give them a roster with four future Hall of Famers. With Phil Jackson at the helm, the Lakers were the heavy favorites against the Detroit Pistons. Instead of a Lakers domination, Detroit dominated the series, winning in five games, losing only Game 2 on the road in overtime.