My top 5 most impressive championship runs ever:
- 2004 Detroit Pistons – one all star on the team (Ben Wallace) with no one scoring more than 17 pts a game – defeats heavily favored Lakers team with 4 HoFers in 5 games. It was the series that showed everyone that you can’t just put a bunch of stars on one team and expect it to beat a team with really good chemistry.
- 1995 Houston Rockets – this championship is so impressive because they were only a 6th seed in the playoffs! Hakeem was the only all star that year. But they went all the way to the Finals and SWEPT the Orlando Magic (who had beaten Jordan’s Bulls on the way there). Pretty great run.
- 1975 Golden State Warriors – another team with only one all star (Rick Barry), who wasn’t expected to contend for a championship that year, let alone make it to the Finals and SWEEP the heavily favored Bullets with 2 HoFers on that team. Considered one of the biggest upsets ever.
- 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers – you all know the story. They were down 3-1 in the Finals against a 73 win juggernaut, the Warriors stumbled and it came down to the closing minutes of the game 7 when Lebron made the most famous block ever and then Kyrie made one of the clutchest shots ever. I lost $2500 on a bet because of this series. At that time everyone thought the Warriors had it in the bag.
- 1969 Boston Celtics – This championship was the last of Bill Russell’s and it was impressive because the Celtics were running on fumes at that point. Russell and Sam Jones were both in their last season. They were 4th seed going into the playoffs. They beat a very talented Knicks team and went to 7 games against the heavily favored LA Lakers with 3 top 25 players ever- Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain. Bill Russell who proved that he was one of the most clutch players of all time – told Jerry West that those balloons aint coming down from the ceiling and won the Game 7 by 2 points. Came into the league a champion, went out a champion.
I also want to shout out the 2011 Mavericks (obviously another huge upset as well), 1977 Blazers (defeated the favored Dr J / McGinnis 76ers) and the 1998 Bulls (easily the worst of the Bulls championship teams) for great runs as well.