2. 2006: Miami over Dallas, 4-2, NBA Finals. This is of course, the series that turned Dwyane Wade into a superstar. He did it by not only scoring a ton (34.7 points, 7.8 boards, 3.8 assists per game) but by winning the close games a younger player should be able to yet. He was so precocious in his first finals that if you throw out a blowout Game 4 win, the Heat won by an average of just two points per game.
Game 3 was the first break in Dallas’ back. Up 13 points with half the fourth quarter to go, Wade scored 15 of his 42 points to lead Miami to the crucial first win that foretold three more.
1. 1977: Portland over Philadelphia, 4-2, NBA Finals. The Blazers were rolled in this series until one punch. Maurice Lucas landed a blow on Darryl Dawkins in Game 2 after Dawkins flipped Portland’s Bobby Gross onto the floor. Gross protested, Doug Collins held him back, and then Dawkins popped Collins when Gross ducked the punch. Then Lucas came hunting Dawkins from across the court. Everything changed in Portland’s attitude. “The Enforcer” was born.
The next two games were all Portland led by finals MVP Bill Walton (18.5 points, 19.0 boards and 5.2 assists per game). Portland won by 22 and 32 points, respectively, in Games 3 and 4 before winning tight closeout games back in the Northwest. Words like “playoff fight” sometimes get mentioned about a team clawing back from a hole. Lucas actually did it, and it lit a spark that carried the Blazers to a title. No team has ever come back quite like that.
The other nine comebacks:
1969: Los Angeles over San Francisco in the Western Division Semifinals
1971: Baltimore over New York in the Eastern Conference Finals
1994: Houston over Phoenix in the Western Conference Semifinals
2004: Los Angeles over San Antonio, Western Conference Semifinal
2005: Dallas over Houston in the Western Conference First Round
2005: Washington over Chicago in the Eastern Conference First Round
2007: Utah over Houston in the Western Conference First Round
2007: Cleveland over Detroit in the Eastern Conference Finals
2008: San Antonio over New Orleans in the Western Conference Semifinals
Where would Boston and Oklahoma City rank?
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