Top 10 Most Painful Chokes in NBA HistoryThe NBA has had a lot of memorable moments with very successful players like Michael Jordan and Kobe and Lebron but there’s also the other side to the story. Teams who had it all within their grasp but blew it away. Whether it was one bad game or one player or just couldn’t hold a lead Here’s some of the most painful chokes in the NBA history books
The Top Ten
This will forever be known as the greatest choke job in sports history. The Warriors were up 3-1. That practically means the opponent is dead meat. However all-time great performances from LeBron and Kyrie came back to make history in two respects. First the first team in the NBA Finals to come back down 3-1. Second they beat a 73 win team. That is insane. The Warriors had all the momentum in the world and they blew it.
The Warriors were set to make history as the greatest team in NBA regular-season history and they were dominating the Finals through four games. Then Draymond Green got suspended for Game 5. Then Andrew Bogut missed Games 6 and 7. Then LeBron James went absolutely nuts. And it was over. No team had ever come back from 3-1 in the Finals. To do it against the best regular-season team ever. Yeah. The Warriors had it all in their hands and to lose 3 straight games yikes.
Yeah this team was old though, but that's no excuse. Still a loaded starting lineup and they had one of the greatest coaches ever.
The Lakers were heavily favored in the series, having built a Super Team they looked to give one more run for the Kobe Bryant-Shaquille O’Neal-Phil Jackson trio with the addition of Gary Payton and Karl Malone before the season. But the Pistons had acquired Rasheed Wallace at the trade deadline and turned into a defensive monster, allowing just 78.2 points per game on 38.8 percent shooting in their final 24 games. They stymied Kobe Bryant (38.1 percent shooting in the Finals) and held the Lakers to 81.8 points, winning in five games. The Lakers Super Team just ran into a brick wall
After losing a heartbreaking 2006 Finals to Wade and the Heat, the Mavericks came back and won an NBA-best 67 games in 2006-07. The Warriors, meanwhile, were 42-40 in the regular season. They didn't boast a single All-Star that year. Their team leader in box plus/minus, Baron Davis, was
27th in the NBA (Nowitzki was first). Dallas had three players in the top 30 (Jason Terry and Josh Howard were the other two). There was no way the Mavericks could lose this series. Except they did, making this Warriors team just the third No. 8 in NBA history to knock off the top seed in the first round.
This series was won purely off the crowd. The Warriors crowd was insane and Baron Davis fed off that to deliver a insane upset.
Yeah the Warriors should of never went to the Finals. Imagine what happens if the Thunder win. KD doesn't go to GS. The Thunder possibly win a championship (I don't think they would though), and the Warriors probably don't become a dynasty.
The argument could be made that it is difficult to choke against the defending champs, especially a team like the Warriors, who have a demonstrably deeper roster than the Thunder. There’s no shame in losing to them especially at their peak the splash bro’s were a dominant force. But even with that the way the Thunder faded out in the West finals has to be considered an all-time great choke job. It's not just that OKC had a 3-1 series lead against the Warriors, it's that in both Games 6 and 7, the Thunder held 13-point leads that they just could not protect in the face of a flurry of Golden State 3-pointers. As star forward Kevin Durant said, "They beat us at the 3-point line. We beat them everywhere else."
This was the series that cemented Mutombo in NBA history. He played insane in this series.
In 1994 a 63-win Sonics team was going against the 42-win Nuggets in what was expected to be a cakewalk, especially after Seattle took the first two games of the series by a combined 34 points. However Dikembe Mutombo, who averaged 7.3 blocks and 14.7 rebounds in the last three games of the series, led the Nuggets to a comeback to win three straight games and become the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed. Mutombo grabbed the final rebound in Game 5 and fell joyfully to the floor, one of the NBA postseason’s most lasting images.
This is the only series that I believe LeBron James choked in. The rest of his Finals losses are excusable except for this one. Give credit to the Mavs though. Dirk, J Kidd, Jason Terry, Shaun Marion, Tyson Chandler and Deshawn Stevenson were a lethal squad.
Ah yes the first campaign of Miami’s big 3 Lebron Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh The regular season went just fine. They entered as the
favorites to win the title. They were 58-24 and finished with the league's best SRS. And the Big Three combined to average 70.9 points per game. They knocked off the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls in fairly rapid succession. Each series lasted five games. All was going well Then, they met
Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals. Their defense deserves plenty of credit, but we can't ignore LeBron's struggles. His
13.7 average game score wasn't even close to the 21.7 he posted in the regular season. In fact, LeBron had never posted an average game score that low in any season, not even his rookie campaign. Miami led 2-1 but after that Point Dallas never looked back. This one falls on Lebron more than anyone. Dwayne Wade at least tried to pick up the slack but it wasn’t close to being enough
2011 Champs Suckers!
The Bullets had won 60 games that year, and had knocked off Buffalo and Boston—the Celtics had won 60 games that year as well. The Warriors were the top seed in the West, but had been picked fourth in the Pacific Division and even with their surprise success, had won only 48 games. There was little optimism that any Western Conference team could keep up with the best in the East, especially the Warriors, whose home building was unavailable during the Finals, and their home games were moved to the Cow Palace outside San Francisco. But Rick Barry was dominant for the Warriors, averaging 29.5 points against the Bullets to outdo Washington stars Phil Chenier and Elvin Hayes and lead the sweep.
Yeah pretty embarrassing. That's why Elvin Hayes and Phil Chenier are never mentioned in great discussions and Rick Barry does.
Yeah the Lakers had a crazy comeback in this series.
The Lakers were on the ropes and in all honesty they should have been here after already blowing a 3-1 series lead to even open the door for a Game 7. They trailed, 75-60, with 10:28 to play, and Lakers coach Phil Jackson would say, “I never … had a team that I thought had run out of gas as much as I thought they had in the third quarter.” But the Lakers got some spark together in the fourth quarter, going on a 15-0 run to tie the game, and taking an 85-79 lead on a memorable alley-oop pass from Kobe Bryant to Shaquille O’Neal that nearly blew the roof off the Staples Center.
I wouldn't say they exactly choked the series, but they did definitely choke at the end of games.
The Celtics and Sixers had each won 62 games that year and met in the Eastern Conference finals for the right to face the Rockets, who figured to be overmatched by either foe. In a series in which was very evenly matched as five of the seven games were decided by two or fewer points, it may seem harsh to say that the Sixers choked. But in what should have been a Game 5 clincher, the Sixers were outscored, 8-0, in the final 1:51 to set up the 111-109 loss. Then, the Sixers blew a 17-point lead in Game 6. Finally, in Game 7, Philly scored one point in the final 5:23, turning an 89-82 advantage into a 91-90 loss.
Phoenix had won 54 games that year, despite losing Amare Stoudemire to a knee injury. But the Lakers—a No. 7 seed — were able to push Phoenix to the brink of elimination thanks in large part to a last-second layup to send Game 4 into overtime, then another last-second shot to win the game, 99-98, in overtime. It was the first time that Phil Jackson had lost a first-round series, though, in his defense, his starters around Bryant and Lamar Odom included Kwame Brown and Smush Parker.
Well that Suns team was really good.