When David Beat Goliath: The Biggest Upsets in the History of the NBA Playoffs

Source: nba.com

The NBA 2024-21 has reached its most interesting part a few days ago – the playoffs and the plot of the season began. Admittedly, this year we got an extra dose of adrenaline due to the play-in matches that brought the last four teams to the bracket of the post-season, but after that, the real thing started.

This season has given us so much: a lot of excitement, a lot of injuries, and crazy encounters – and all that is and should be forgotten when the playoffs and the fight for the ring, in which the following teams will meet and on which you can bet by visiting some of the world’s best bookmakers at Bookmaker-Expert.com, starts:

Western Conference

  • LA Clippers vs Dallas
  • Denver vs Portland
  • Phoenix vs LA Lakers
  • Utah vs Memphis

Eastern Conference

  • Milwaukee vs Miami
  • Brooklyn vs Boston
  • Philadelphia vs Washington
  • New York vs Atlanta

Every team that enters the playoffs seems to start from scratch. The regular season is important only because of the opponents you will get, everything else is forgotten. The best example of this is the Cavs, who once had a relatively bad regular season, only to reach the Grand Finale in the playoffs on the wings of LeBron. But that is the charm of the post-season – everyone can beat everyone and, if the matchup does not suit you, it is no use having the best score in the league.

So it has been a lot of times in the history of the NBA, thus we decided to single out the top 5 biggest upsets in the playoffs. The moments when David knocked down Goliath, when the lower-ranked teams, i.e. underdogs, beat the favorites.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Spurs in the First Round of 2011

Source: poundingtherock.com

The Tennessee team entered this series as an eighth-ranked side. The Spurs took first place in the West, but the matchup against the Grizzlies did not suit them at all. That proved to be the most important item in this series because, in the end, the team that moved from Vancouver a decade earlier went further with a total of 4-2.

The Texans did not have a solution for Zach ‘Z-Bo’ Randolph, who averaged 21.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in the series, and in the crucial sixth game, he scored as many as 31 points from only 12 shots.

The Cleveland Cavaliers Against the Boston Celtics in 2010 in the East Semifinals

Source: crowdwisdom.live

This was the last year of LeBron’s contract with the Cavs (in his first era at the Ohio club) and there was a lot of talk before the season about where the ‘King’ would end up at the end of it. The Cavs managed to take first place in the East and looked like the main favorites for the finals. And also for the title of league champion.

They even had a 2-1 lead against the Celtics, but the experienced team on the other side on the court turned around the series and eventually came away with a 4-2 overall victory. This was actually James’ last game for Cleveland, and this game was probably crucial to take his talent with him and move it to South Beach.

The Detroit Pistons vs The la Lakers in the 2004 Grand Final

Source: silverscreenandroll.com

Everything in Hollywood was ready for the celebration of the NBA title. Payton and Malone came to LA near the end of their careers to take the ring, we had Kobe and Shaq in full force, while on the opposite side stood the Pistons without a single distinct star.

But with incredible defense and physical play, the team from ‘Motor City’ limited the Lakers to only 81.8 points per game and, in the end, allowed them only one victory in the series. The MVP of the final was the great point guard Chauncey Billups, and the modern-age ‘Bad Boys’ came to their well-deserved title.

Denver Nuggets vs Seattle Supersonics, 1994

Source: thescore.com

This was the first time in NBA history that an eighth-ranked team knocked out the top seed. As you could already read – not the last time. The Sonics were the first team of the West, and against the Nuggets they took the first two games in the series for a 2-0 lead. At that time, the best of 5 formats was played, which means that they only needed one more victory to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

But the Nuggets did not give up and took three games in a row, led by the majestic Mutombo, who made as many as 31 blocks in the series. Denver is far from underdogs today, with a potential league MVP Nikola Jokić. But back then…

Golden State Warriors vs Mavs in 2007

Source. mavsmoneyball.com

Many texts and analyzes have been written about this comeback. We are, of course, talking about the famous ‘We Believe’ squad. Back then, the Warriors, steered by great scorers Davis, Jackson, and Harrington represented an awkward matchup to the Mavs who were the league’s first team. Golden State absolutely stunned them and knocked them out in 6 games of the series.

Before that, there was mediocrity in Oakland for a long time. Before the start of that fateful 2006-07 season, they were the team that missed the playoffs the most times in a row in NBA league history. They have not been in the playoffs since Chris Webber led them there in 1994 when he was a rookie.