Questions regarding canceled events? Click here to learn about our Buyer Guarantee Canceled events: Learn about our Buyer Guarantee
Company Other

NBA Playoffs Biggest Upsets in History

April 10, 2018

For an upset to be Big it doesnt necessarily have to be about seeding. Its about surprising us. Doing something so unexpected that the entire sports world turns its attention to that game, and then cant stop talking about it for weeks or years after.Weve already seen a basketball upset for the ages this year, with University of Maryland, Baltimore County, stunning Virginia to become the first 16 seed to ever knock out a 1 seed in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.Could we be in store for a similar upset in the NBA Playoffs this year? Will the Rockets who have dominated the league in surprising fashion succumb to the pressure of high expectations? Will the Raptors continue their playoff frustration? The Cavaliers be as vulnerable in the playoffs as theyve been at times during the season? Or the Celtics finally be overwhelmed by their injuries?Only time will tell if well be talking about those teams and the team that takes them down for years to come. But, as we head into the 2018 NBA Playoffs, we know for sure that we still havent stopped talking about the following five NBA Playoff upsets.5. 1977 NBA Finals: Portland Trailblazers vs Philadelphia 76ersWere stepping into the way-back machine for the first big upset on our list. And maybe this one is as much about expectations as it was reality. Once the powerhouse 76ers had taken a 2-0 lead in these finals, powered by Dr. J and Darryl Dawkins, the writing seemed to be on the wall for continued East-Coast dominance of the basketball universe.Then one of the most interesting men in the universe Bill Walton stepped up to change the narrative. Rallying the Trailblazers to a series win in Game 6, where he tallied 20 points and 23 rebounds to etch his name in NBA history as one of its all-time talents.4. 2011 Western Conference First Round: Memphis Grizzlies (1) vs San Antonio Spurs (8)Hall-of-Fame level coaching, an historic run of greatness, and a core of Parker, Ginobli and Duncan surprisingly werent enough to guarantee the Spurs a ticket to Round 2 of the NBA Playoffs even though they were matched against a franchise that had never won a playoff series.The Grizzlies used a Game 1 upset (a game that Manu Ginobli missed due to an elbow injury) to set themselves on course for a series victory and showing the world that their Grit and Grind style of play could match up with the leagues best collection of talent. That bruising style was almost enough for the Grizzlies to pull of a second stunning upset in Round 2, this time of a young, energetic Oklahoma City Thunder squad. But the dream ended in Game 7 of that series.3. 2004 NBA Finals: Detroit Pistons vs Los Angeles LakersHow many future Hall of Famers can you pack on a roster, and still lose? That question was answered by the 2004 Los Angeles Lakers, who boasted a starting lineup with Gary Payton, Kobe Bryan, Karl Malone and Shaquille ONeal as they headed into a final series against a Detroit Pistons lineup bereft of any Hall of Fame talent but brimming with overall talent.With suffocating defense and just enough offense to pull off the upset, the undermanned Pistons sent the future Hall of Famers packing in just five games, ultimately leading to the breakup of what had looked to be a Lakers dynasty.2. 1994 Western Conference First Round: Denver Nuggets (8) vs Seattle Supersonics (1)Being the first to do something is always a ticket to being remembered by history (See the UMBC vs. Virginia matchup mentioned above). For that reason alone, the 1994 Nuggets becoming the first 8 seed to take down a 1 seed in the NBA Playoffs have to earn a spot on any NBA Playoffs Upsets list.With Dikembe Mutombo finger-wagging all over Shawn Kemp, the Nuggets shocked the basketball world by coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the 63-win Sonics in this best of five series. Nine years later the NBA would change the first round to a best-of-seven format, and wed hazard a guess that avoiding upsets such as this (and keeping the best teams playing late into spring) was a driving reason.Of course, even seven games couldnt protect our next victim on the upset list1. 2007 Western Conference First Round: Golden State Warriors (8) vs Dallas Mavericks (1)When a teams slogan is We Believe, you know that theyre a longshot. And that was definitely the case in the first round of the 2007 Western Conference playoffs when Baron Davis drove the Golden State Warriors to a first round upset of the powerhouse Dallas Mavericks.That year, Dirk Nowitzki had powered the Mavericks to the NBAs best record at 67-15, while the Warriors barely pulled into the playoffs above .500. But they throw the records out the window once the playoffs start, and an inspired Warriors squad threw their offense into overdrive in April outscoring the Mavericks by seven points a game as they raced into second round.And while the Warriors (like the Nuggets before them) werent able to fly by the Utah Jazz in the second round, we did get one of the all-time great dunks out of that series. If you havent seen it, here it is:
Image Source: AP

Never miss a show!

Sign up for savings, info, and more!

Please enter a valid email address.
Please enter a valid zip code.