The biggest NBA playoff upsets of all time

ADVERTISEMENT


One of the best things about sport is that you can’t count anybody out until the game is over. These NBA playoff victories might have seemed unlikely at the beginning of each series, but at the conclusion, fans and experts were rejoicing in the miracles they had witnessed.

Cleveland Cavaliers beat Golden State Warriors

A team with LeBron James should never be considered an underdog, but losing 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals, few predicted the Cleveland Cavaliers winning. The pressure was on the Cavaliers, and all the Warriors needed to do was to eke out one victory in the remaining four games to become champions.

Even going into the series Cleveland were unfancied, but with their backs to the walls they pulled off a masterclass and took the series. Thanks to “King” Lebron James, the Cavaliers were champions, and the series was one of the most entertaining in the history of the NBA.

Memphis Grizzlies beat San Antonio Spurs

The year was 2011, and in the first round of the Western Conference playoff Memphis Grizzlies were taking on the San Antonio Spurs. The Grizzlies had never won a playoff game and they came really close in the fifth game, but the Spurs managed to snatch a buzzer-beating point, before winning in overtime. The series went to a sixth, and with momentum in the Spurs’ favor, they were expected to win.

After being behind for much of the game, San Antonio took the lead with five minutes to go, but the Grizzlies were not beaten yet. The Grizzlies came back to win their first-ever playoff game, and send the Spurs crashing out in the first round.

Detroit Pistons beat Los Angeles Lakers

In the 2004 NBA Finals the Lakers seemed like a guarantee for the crown, they had the players, and they were surely going to be too strong. With a team boasting Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton, Karl Malone, and the one, the only, Kobe Bryant, there was no way the Lakers were going to lose. Seemingly unbeatable, the Lakers marched all the way to the final and looked set for NBA final glory.

No one told the Pistons they were supposed to lose, and the team from Detroit ruthlessly swept the Lakers aside. It took them just five games to close out the series and emerge the victors, upsetting the odds and the star-studded Lakers team in the process.

Golden State Warriors beat Dallas Mavericks

The Golden State Warriors winning in the first round of the West Playoff seems pretty likely nowadays, but in 2007 they were expected to lose heavily. Dallas had breezed through their conference with a 67-15 record, while the Warriors had to wait until the last game to squeeze into the playoffs. The odds were stacked in the Mavericks’ favor, but they succumbed to a 4-2 loss in the series at the first postseason hurdle.

These playoff games shocked the entire basketball world as each unlikely winner overcame the odds to upset the favorites. They showed that hard work, dedication, and togetherness can overcome most situations.