When a team wins the championship, all eyes, ears and praises are towards them. The losing team would most likely end up as the receiving end of hate and memes (3-1 remember? haha). Regardless of battling a grueling 7 game series or being the end of a humiliating sweep, they still did their best and deserve some credit too. After all, they still reached some sort of an achievement. The last decade featured some interesting runners up. Some teams just came up short of a hair (2013 Spurs) while we might feel that the others don’t even belong to the finals (2018 Cavs). I will be focusing on those teams that most reached the top. The team need not to extend the series to a game 7; they do not always show the competitiveness or grit between the two teams. Nevertheless, they gave the championship teams a run for their money.
6) 2012 Thunder
Despite being young and finished in 5, this thunder team showed alot of firepower and potential. They had 3 future MVPs in their roster and they eliminated the Mavericks from the playoffs. KD was the scoring leader as usual, Russ althoufh inefficient was able to make it up through his hustle and all around game. Harden was the leading facilitator in the bench and won 6th man that year. The team also featured the best year from Ibaka’s “Iblocka” persona– he was a beast in protecting the rim way back. They also had a great support cast that year. Durant and the squad looked unstoppable in their run until they met te rejuvenated LeBron-led Miami Heat. Their lone finals appearance would also prove to be the breaking point as they would never reach that place again as they traded away James Harden; many thought Harden was the key for their strong year. However, KD and Russ would be a consistent playoff team-even reaching the WCF a few times.
5) 2019 Warriors
Though a turbulent regular season, the Dubs still pulled it off and proved to be dangerous. Not taking away anything from the Raptors but they needed everything to be on their favor and they needed most of the Warriors injured. Their turbulent season turned around during the playoffs and they seemed to be rejuvenated as they completely anihilated the Western conference. Even without KD and Klay, they were still deep and talented; DeMarcus played well and they had great bench support that would have won them another ring if not only the injuries.
4) 2013 Spurs
The 2013 finals featured alot of storylines and historical moments: Spurs’s dominance over the decades, Ray Allen’s three, LeBron’s legacy on the line, LeBron James’ block on splitter. The series was back and forth and featured the best of what both teams can do. It highlighted how the Heat respond to adversity and the Spurs featured the best passing and teamwork in recent memory; sheer creativeness and raw savvy in passing the ball around like its a hot potato. It felt like the Spurs were going to have it after stealing game 1 and leading the series 3-2. Duncan, Parker, and Manu played their best series in a long time; they looked rejuvenated. They were also supported by a deep bench like Diaw, Belinelli, and they were poised to win it but Ray Allen’s three happened and the rest is history.
3) 2017 Cavaliers
This team was tasked to be the first ibstacle of the 73-9 Warriors that just added KD to their team. Again, just a 5 game series but it was inevitable. This year was the best year of the LBJ-Kyrie-Love trio. As the season progressed, they jelled well and thus improving the team. The team was also the healthiest in their whole tenure. Outlet passes here, Lobs there, and corner threes; it was supposed to be the best version of the Cavaliers. But they just lost a whole lot better and talented team all around.
2) 2010 Celtics
Both teams defended each other well as everybody struggled to put up their own shot. It was generally a low-scoring series. But the Boston Celtics showed they are hungry and ready to win another ring. They almost won it as they led 3-2 against the Lakers. Bench depth was great as they had Nate Robinson and other decent pieces. Doc Rivers was in the helm and even though only a 4-seed, they managed to cruise past and dominate the Magic in the ECF. Rondo was doing Rondo things and helped lessen the burden of their aging triumvirate. The battle of the greatest NBA rivalry was also at stake here because the Celtics had 17 rings while the Lakers had 15 prior to winnin the series. It was a close, grueling, and truly the epitome of what te NBA finals should be.
1) 2016 Warriors
This was the 73-9 team that was supposed to win it all after all, the championship belongs to the best team. Prior to the season, nobody expected this much improvement from te Dubs and to Curry (who was even in the top 10 of winning MIP as the regning MVP). Steph and the Warriors totally owned the regular season as they shattered records here and there and built records of their own with ease. They took off; changed the game’s focus and and so much more. They looked dominating and were expected to do the same come playoffs time. But, we all knee what happened. However Icould try but I could only attribute the Cavs’ win to sheer heart and a little dash of luck. Important circumstances took place like Draymond’s suspension or Bogut’s injury. Especially in game 7, even if Curry made some questionable decisions whatnot, the Dubs were an inch close to the trophy. People may look down on them but people tend to forget how this Warriors team set the NBA world on fire and took the league by storm.
Written by: Le Miguel Ylanan Jumonong