Saturday, June 6, 2009

History Of Game 1 Losers Who Go On to Win NBA Finals

The Orlando Magic are right. Just because you lose the first game on an NBA Finals doesn't mean that you are already done. The loser of that first game has gone on to win the series before (but it doesn't happen very often and not to teams who don't have the home court advantage).

Here is the times it has happened in my lifetime.

2006: Mavericks beat Heat. This was one Finals that really didn't act like many others. Dallas won the first two games at home in fairly impressive fashion. The series changed when it moved to Miami when the Mavs choked away Game 3 (with a little help from the refs). Miami would win the next two in Miami, becoming only the second team to ever win the middle three games at home. Miami closed out Dallas in Texas for Game 6.

2001: Sixers beat Lakers. This one was a bit different than the 2006 series. Philly surprised the Lakers in their building in overtime when Allen Iverson dumped 48 points. That was the only time all postseason long that the Lakers would lose a game. LA ran off four straight wins for their second of three consecutive titles.

1998: Jazz beat Bulls. Utah had the home court in this series and many people felt that they were destined to end Michael Jordan's run of titles. Utah won the first game at home when Scottie Pippen bricked a three at the buzzer. Chicago would win the next three games, however, and set up that memorable shot by Jordan in Game 6.

1991: Lakers beat Bulls. Sam Perkins popped a three in the closing seconds to give the Lakers the upset victory over the Bulls. Jordan didn't like that. Not. One. Bit. So, he and the Bulls bulldozed their way through the rest of the series and winning it in five.

1988: Pistons beat Lakers. Detroit finally got to the Finals and jumped all over the Lakers. They won Game 1 by 12 points and made the Lakers look tired. This is still my favorite NBA Finals of all time. Great games, great emotion and a tough, hard fought seven-game series. The Lakers would win Games 6 and 7 to claim their back-to-back title.

1985: Celtics beat Lakers. This is the most relevant so far. The Lakers were completely spanked in Boston in the Memorial Day Massacre. 148-114. Yet, the Lakers would stun Boston in Game 2. They would win four of the next five games (the only Boston win was on a Dennis Johnson buzzer-beater) and the title.

1984: Lakers beat Celtics. Same thing, different year. Lakers went into Boston and beat the Celtics. Yet the Celtics would go on to win the series in seven games.

1979: Bullets beat Sonics. Washington won Game 1 at home. Seattle would win the next four and avenge their loss to the Bullets in the previous Finals.

1978: Sonics beat Bullets. Seattle won Game 1 in Washington. That's not as historical as them also winning Game 7 in Washington for the championship.

1977: Sixers beat Blazers. Pretty much like the 2006 series. Philly won the first two at home. Then Portland went home in front of their rabid fans and took the next two in blowouts. They would go back to Philly and blow out the Sixers in Game 5. Dr. J tried to keep them in Game 6, but the Sixers bowed out.

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