In the last years, there have definitely been several upsets in the post-season. Super teams lost Finals they should’ve won, teams that barely even made it to the playoffs advance to the second round and more talented teams lost to hard workers.
Comeback kid Cleveland wins title over Warriors (2016)
Of course, the Cavs had three big stars on their roster: LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, so their title definitely didn’t come out of nowhere. But, as soon as the series began, and the Cavs were trailing 3-1, everybody, except the Cavs, had given up. So, with only one game to go, the fans were already getting ready for the off-season, and looking forward to the new one.
But, the Cavs were set on winning the first professional sports championship for a team out of Cleveland, and James stood up to make this happen. He led the entire Finals and led in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Eventually this comeback led to a Game 7 in Oakland. The Warriors had the home advantage, but the Cavs had the winning streak. During the game there were 20 lead changes and 11 ties, and the Cavs eventually won the game by four points. They became the first team in NBA history to come back from a 301 deficit and win the Championship.
Memphis Grizzlies beat the Spurs (2011)
The Grizzlies had just managed to reach the playoffs as the 8th seed, but that immediately meant they had to go up against the number 1, the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs had a strong roster, with Parker, Duncan and Ginobili, but, the Grizzlies had their ‘secret’ weapon: Zach Randolph. He led the young Grizzlies team throughout the whole series, and played a very important role in all games.
The Grizzlies won the series after a 6 Game series, and moved on to the second round. Unfortunately, their post-season run ended there, as they lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Conference Semi-Finals.
Dallas Mavericks win Championship (2011)
The Miami Heat was already had the winning hand, before the season even started, as they had assembled a super team. LeBron James and Chris Bosh has joined Dwyane Wade in Miami, making them the strongest, but most hated, team in the league. Though they had, quite easily, made it to the Finals, the Heat hadn’t totally figured out how to play with three big stars on one team yet, and that’s what finally broke them against the Mavericks.
Dallas, led by Nowitzki and Jason Terry, played as a well-oiled machine, but failed to make a real difference in the first four games, and the series were tied 2-2. Then, the Mavs broke the 100-point ban and won the next game. The last game, Game 6, seemed to go to the Heat, as they started the game with a lead, but the Mavs took over, turned the game around, and led the last 22 minutes of the game. After their victory, Nowitzki was named the Finals MVP.
Golden State advances (2007)
Just to remind you, this was still in the pre-Stephen Curry era. The Warriors had been rebuilding for some time now, but they had yet failed to show the progress. In January of 2007, they traded half their roster, and thanks to a 16-5 run to end the season, they grabbed the 8th spot in the Western Conference.
As good as that was, they weren’t at all expected to have a chance in the first round, as they had to go up against the 1st seeded Dallas Mavericks, with a phenomenal Dirk Nowitzki on the team. Nowitzki would even become the MVP that year. But, the Mavericks hadn’t counted on what it meant to the players and the fans to be in the playoffs after a 13-year absence. The Warriors had a 3-2 lead, before they came home to the Bay Area for Game 6. This would become one of the most memorable playoff games, as the Warriors advanced over Dallas with a 111-86 blowout game.