Almost Upset

Preview on my series about great teams (almost) choking

Welcome to Almost Upset! A series on playoff series from 1984 to 2003 that nearly ended in epic disaster for juggernaut clubs.

(SCROLL DOWN to see links to the articles)

The basic parameters are that these near-upsets must be between a #1-#8 matchup or a #2-#7 matchup. We ain’t getting excited over a fifth seed almost “upsetting” a fourth seed.

Furthermore, the series doesn’t automatically qualify for Almost Upset just because it went the full five games.

(Remember, the first-round format these years was best-of-five. Indeed, that’s why I chose the 1984 to 2003 timeframe. The NBA expanded the playoffs to 16 teams in ‘84 and made the first round best-of-five. Not too short like it had been with a best-of-three miniseries and not too long like our current best-of-seven nonsense.)

If four of the games were blowouts, I’m not interested. Conversely, if the series went just four games, but three or four of those games were nail-biters, my interest is piqued and we’re throwing them in.

Basically, do you walk away from that series thinking, “Damn, that scrappy underdog almost upset this juggernaut. If only they caught a couple lucky breaks.” With that said, here are the series I’ll be chronicling over the next three months.

Holy shit I can’t wait for the Chuck Person-Larry Bird duel!


LINKS TO ARTICLES

1984: Boston Celtics (62 wins) vs the Washington Bullets (35 wins)

1985: Boston Celtics (63 wins) vs the Cleveland Cavaliers (36 wins)

1987: Atlanta Hawks (57 wins) vs the Indiana Pacers (41 wins)

1988: Detroit Pistons (54 wins) vs the Washington Bullets (38 wins)

1991: Boston Celtics (56 wins) vs the Indiana Pacers (41 wins)

1992: Utah Jazz (55 wins) vs the Los Angeles Clippers (45 wins)

1993: Phoenix Suns (62 wins) vs the Los Angeles Lakers (39 wins)

1993: Houston Rockets (55 wins) vs the Los Angeles Clippers (41 wins)

1998: Utah Jazz (62 wins) vs the Houston Rockets (41 wins)

2000: Indiana Pacers (56 wins) vs the Milwaukee Bucks (42 wins)

2002: New Jersey Nets (52 wins) vs the Indiana Pacers (42 wins)

2002: Detroit Pistons (50 wins) vs the Toronto Raptors (42 wins)

(these Nets and Pistons clearly aren’t juggernauts, but we’re gonna go there anyways just to remember how pathetic the East was in 2002)