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The #8 Golden State Warriors just beat the #1 Dallas Mavericks by double-digits (12, to be exact), leading to much joy
in the Bay Area today. Which got me wondering, when was the last time the team with the best record in the NBA lost its first playoff game?
Let us preface by noting ESPN's Elias Says
, embedded in the game's boxscore
, which mentions the following...
Only one other team in NBA history lost its first playoff game following a season in which it won more than 63 games. The 1966-67 Philadelphia 76ers won 68 games during the regular season and went on to win the NBA title despite dropping their playoff opener to the Cincinnati Royals (120-116 at Philadelphia, March 21, 1967).
If you look up the last 10 years of playoff results on Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1997_NBA_Playoffs
, where you can type in your desired year in the URL], you'll see that there are only two instances in the last 10 years when the team with the best record lost its first game in the playoffs...
- 2003: The Stephon Marbury-led Phoenix Suns defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 96-95, on Marbury's buzzer-beating bankshot trey.
- 1998: The Houston Rockets, behind Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley coming off the bench (?), and -- believe it or not -- an 18-and-14 by Kevin Willis, defeated the Utah Jazz by 13, 103-90. Utah tied the Chicago Bulls for the best record in the NBA that year and had the tiebreaker over the Bulls.
So now that they have botched Game 1 against the #8 seed, this means the Mavs are guaranteed to reach the Finals, because we know the 76ers did it 1967, Jazz in 1998, and Spurs in 2003.
Both the 1967 76ers and 2003 Spurs won the championship. Since the 1998 Jazz don't count because they faced Michael Jordan
's 2nd three-peat and impending retirement, as well as the Willis factor (remember, he's now on the 2007 Mavericks!), this means the Mavs will win the 2007 championship. I'm not a Mavs fan, I'm just showing you the voodoo.
Labels: charles barkley, clyde drexler, espn, hakeem olajuwon, kevin willis, michael jordan, stephon marbury, warriors