2012 NBA Finals
The 2012 NBA Finals was the championship series of the 2011–12 season of the National Basketball Association, and the conclusion of the seasons playoffs. The Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat defeated the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder 4 games to 1 to win their second NBA title, Heat forward LeBron James was named the Finals MVP. The franchise had previously appeared as the SuperSonics in 1996 and it marked the Miami Heats third appearance in the NBA Finals. The Heat previously appeared in 2006 and 2011, both times against the Dallas Mavericks, the series began on June 12, five days than its originally planned June 7 start. This delay was due to the lockout that pushed the start of the season to late December, the series ended on June 21. Under the 2–3–2 rotation, the Thunder had home-court advantage, since they had a regular season record than the Heat. This was the second appearance for the Heat, after losing to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. This was their second Finals appearance in the Big Three era and their other Finals appearance was in 2006 when they defeated the Mavericks to win their first NBA title.
In the regular season, the Heat finished with 46 victories, defeated the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers, along the way, they managed to overcome series deficits that nearly sent them home but they had strings of victories to let them survive. The first was against the Pacers in the Conference Semifinals when they trailed in the series, the Heat responded by taking three straight victories to defeat the Pacers. The second was against the Celtics in the Conference Finals when they trailed, 2–3 and they responded by winning a decisive game 6 in Boston, taking the last two games of the series to advance to the Finals. This was the Thunders first NBA Finals appearance since the team relocated from Seattle in 2008, including their seasons as the Seattle SuperSonics, this was the clubs fourth Finals appearance, and first since 1996, when they lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls. The team was seeking their first NBA championship since 1979, the Thunder finished with 47 wins, second in the Western Conference.
During the playoffs, they defeated the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Thunder came into the Finals as the second-youngest finalists in NBA history. With the exception of Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed and Kendrick Perkins and they were the first Western Conference team in fourteen years to play in the NBA Finals without coming from the states of California or Texas. The season series was tied, 1–1, with teams winning at their home floor. All times are in Eastern Daylight Time The Thunder defeated the Heat, 105–94, Miami held the lead for most of the first three quarters, including a 13-point lead at one point during the second quarter. The Heat made five three-pointers to jump to a 29–22 lead by the end of the first quarter, the Thunder took the lead for good with 16 seconds left in the third quarter after Russell Westbrook made a free throw to make it 74–73
1990 NBA Finals
The 1990 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1989–90 NBA season. The series pitted the Detroit Pistons against the Portland Trail Blazers and this was the first NBA Finals since 1979 not to involve either the Lakers or the Celtics. The Pistons became just the third franchise in NBA history to win championships, joining the Los Angeles Lakers. The Trail Blazers last made the NBA Finals when they won the NBA championship in 1977, in between finals appearances, the Blazers made the playoffs every year except 1982, but most of the time were eliminated in the first or second round. The addition of Williams cost Portland once-promising center Sam Bowie, whose career had been curtailed by a series of leg injuries after being drafted second overall in the 1984 NBA draft. Early in the 1988–89 season, the Blazers fired head coach Mike Schuler and replaced him with assistant Rick Adelman, entering the 1989–90 season with modest expectations, the Trail Blazers surprised the NBA by posting a 59–23 record, good enough for the third seed in the Western Conference.
The Pistons won their first NBA championship a year earlier, despite the loss of Mahorn, the Pistons still managed to post a 59–23 record to lead the Eastern Conference. With Mahorn gone, Defensive Player of the Year winner Dennis Rodman picked up the slack, america the Beautiful was sung by a then-unknown Mariah Carey, who would release her self-titled debut album on the day of Game 4. In response to Careys performance, CBS Sports anchor Pat OBrien quipped The Palace now has a queen, the key moment in Game 5 of the Finals was Vinnie Johnsons series-clinching shot in the final seconds. On June 14,1990, Johnson landed a 14-footer in the last second, beating Portland 92–90 in Game 5 of the Finals, Bill Laimbeer tied Michael Cooper for the league record of most three-pointers made in a Finals game with six in the Pistons Game 2 loss. Michael Jordan would tie that in the 1992 NBA Finals, kenny Smith broke the record in the 1995 NBA Finals by connecting on seven three-pointers, a mark tied by Scottie Pippen and Ray Allen in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Allen bested this record by hitting eight three-pointers in Game 2 of the 2010 NBA Finals and this was the last Finals appearance for Earl Strom, a highly regarded referee, whose career spanned thirty-two years in professional basketball. This would be the last series to be played on a Tuesday–Thursday–Sunday rotation until the 2004 series, from 1991 to 2003, the series were primarily on Wednesday–Friday–Sunday. The Blazers led 90–80 with seven minutes left and looked poised to steal one on the road, after a timeout, Isiah Thomas got the Pistons going with a layup and a jumper. Then Joe Dumars completed a three-point play and Aguirre scored on an offensive rebound, in less than three minutes, Detroit had tightened the game to 92–89. Buck Williams hit a jumper to make the score 94–89, with 1,49 left, Thomas put a final dagger into the Blazers by sticking an open three-pointer for a 99–94 lead. The Pistons went on to win, 105–99 and this was the first Finals assignment for referee Dick Bavetta, who had been an NBA official since the 1975-76 season.
He would go on to set the record for most games officiated and was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015
1986 NBA Finals
The 1986 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1985–86 NBA season. It pitted the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics against the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets, the Celtics defeated the Rockets four games to two to win their 16th NBA championship. The championship would be the Celtics last until the 2008 NBA Finals, Larry Bird was named the Finals MVP. Until the 2011 series, this was the last time the NBA Finals had started before June, since game three, all NBA Finals games have been played in June. Starting with the year, the NBA Finals would be held exclusively in the month of June. It was the last NBA Finals series to schedule a game on a Monday until 1999, CBS Sports used Dick Stockton and Tom Heinsohn as the play-by-play man and color commentator respectively. Meanwhile, Brent Musburger was the host and Pat OBrien and Lesley Visser were the sideline reporters, the Celtics made the 1985 NBA Finals, but lost in six games to the Los Angeles Lakers. The series exposed some of Bostons weaknesses, such as the lack of bench scoring, in addition, Larry Bird played through an elbow injury, which severely affected his shooting.
In the offseason, president Red Auerbach decided to tweak the roster and he made a trade with the Indiana Pacers, acquiring the younger Jerry Sichting for an aging Quinn Buckner. These moves would pave the way for the Celtics greatest season yet, entering the 1985–86 season, the Celtics surged to a league-best 67–15 record, powered by an NBA record 40 victories at home. Their incomparable home record alone put the Celtics in the conversation among the NBAs greatest teams in a single season. In the playoffs, Boston needed just three games to defeat the Chicago Bulls in the first round, despite a playoff record 63 points by Michael Jordan in Game 2. When asked about Jordans performance in Bostons 135-131 2OT victory, Bostons coach K. C. Jones said, in retrospect, this game is considered to be a classic clash of the NBAs greatest player and the NBAs greatest team, Birds 86 Celtics. In the second round, Boston eliminated the Atlanta Hawks in five games, in the conference finals, Boston swept the Milwaukee Bucks in four games, a direct reversal of their second round meeting in the 1983 NBA Playoffs.
Following their previous Finals appearance in 1981, the Rockets entered a rebuilding period. Long-time Rockets Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich retired, while Mike Dunleavy, Sr. Bill Willoughby, Tom Henderson, but the biggest move came during the 1982 offseason, when the Rockets traded Moses Malone to the 1983 champions Philadelphia 76ers. The loss of Malone sent the Rockets to a league-worst 14–68 record in the 1982–83 season, after which the Rockets were awarded the top pick of the 1983 NBA draft and selected Ralph Sampson. After a 29-win season in 1984, the Rockets were once again rewarded with the top pick in the 1984 NBA draft and they selected another center in Akeem Olajuwon, and paired alongside Sampson, they were dubbed as the Twin Towers
2005 NBA Finals
The 2005 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 2004–05 National Basketball Association season. The San Antonio Spurs of the Western Conference faced the Detroit Pistons of the Eastern Conference for the title, with the Spurs holding home court advantage, the series was played under a best-of-seven format. It marked the Pistons first NBA Finals loss to an other than the Lakers since 1988. The Spurs won the four games to three in the first NBA Finals to go to a Game 7 since 1994. The games were broadcast on ABC, with Al Michaels and Hubie Brown commentating, National radio coverage was provided by ESPN Radio through announcers Jim Durham and Dr. Jack Ramsay. The Spurs were considered capable of playing at a faster pace. However, both teams performed well when scoring over 100 points. Going into the 2005 Finals, the Spurs had won two championships, while Detroit had three, the 2004 Championship was considered a major upset by some sportswriters because of the Lakers big name talent. Others saw the result as legitimate, pointing out that Detroits defense outplayed the Lakers offense.
Further, the balanced Detroit offense proved difficult to deal with when Karl Malones injured knee left the Lakers without a reliable presence to slow down the Pistons Rasheed Wallace. Many thought that a factor to the Lakers loss was the well-publicized tension between superstars Shaquille ONeal and Kobe Bryant. Both the Spurs and the Pistons were ranked number two in their conferences, with the Phoenix Suns ranked number one in the West. Sportswriters all across the country generally considered one of the few too-close-to-call series to occur. Most picked the series to go to six or seven games, the Spurs breezed through the playoffs with relative ease, compared to the Pistons. They defeated the Nuggets 4-1 to open the playoffs, winning four straight after losing the home opener, the SuperSonics were dispatched in six games. Phoenix was expected by many to put up a challenge, but the Spurs won the series easily, the Pistons had a slightly tougher road back to the Finals. The opening round was a fairly easy victory over Philadelphia.
Next, the Pistons faced the Indiana Pacers, one of the NBAs most resilient teams, the Pacers mounted a formidable challenge but after a Game Six loss, Reggie Millers storied 19-year career was over
1999 NBA Finals
The 1999 NBA Finals was the championship round of the shortened 1998–99 NBA season or the 1999 season. The San Antonio Spurs of the Western Conference took on the New York Knicks of the Eastern Conference for the title, the series was played under a best-of-seven format, with the first team to collect four game victories winning the series. As of 2016, this is the last NBA Finals where neither team scored 100 or more points in any game during the series, will Lyman narrated the season-ending documentary Go Spurs Go. for NBA Entertainment. The 1999 NBA season was shortened due to a dispute that led to a lockout, canceling the first 3 months of the season, literally making this the 1999 NBA Season. The NBA schedule consisted of 50 regular season games, and a playoff schedule. As a result of the start, veteran coach Bob Hill was fired and replaced by then-general manager Gregg Popovich. In the first season of the Duncan/Robinson tandem the Spurs won 56 games but were eliminated by the Utah Jazz in the round of the playoffs.
The victory over Portland gave the Spurs their first ever trip to the NBA Finals, the Knicks had a harder time getting to the playoffs than the Spurs did. Instead, New York fired general manager Ernie Grunfeld and allowed Van Gundy to lead the team to the playoffs, the Nuggets were led by Dikembe Mutombo in that series, a center who now was playing for the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks next opponent. Although the center from Zaire guaranteed a victory, the Knicks won in a sweep to set up a matchup with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference Finals. Ewing could not continue due to an injury and was lost for the series after the first two games, in the third game, with 11.9 seconds left and the Knicks trailing 91–88, Johnson looked to attempt a three-point shot but was unable to shake the defender. He continued moving and got off the shot while being fouled and he made the basket and converted the subsequent free-throw for a game-winning four-point play and gave his team a 2–1 lead in the series.
The Spurs won the series 4 games to 1, Spurs forward Tim Duncan was named the Most Valuable Player of the finals. On June 25 with 47 seconds to go in Game 5, johnsons shot was followed by a Latrell Sprewell miss that would have sent the series back to San Antonio. This was the first of San Antonios five NBA Championships, New York has yet to return to the Finals. The Spurs would be the first champions since 1986 to not go on to repeat as champions, from 1987 to 1998 every champion either repeated or three-peated. As of the 2014 NBA Finals, June 25 is the latest in the calendar that any NBA Finals game has ever been played, had a Game 7 been required it would have been played on Tuesday, June 29. The Knicks and Spurs did not meet in the regular season, naismith Basketball Hall of Fame‡ The Finals were played using a 2–3–2 site format, where the first two and last two games are held at the team with home court advantage
2000 NBA Finals
The 2000 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1999–2000 National Basketball Association season. The Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference took on the Indiana Pacers of the Eastern Conference for the title, the series was played under a best-of-seven format, with the Lakers holding home court advantage. The Lakers won the series 4 games to 2, Lakers center Shaquille ONeal was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player of the series, his first of three consecutive honors. Until 2008, this was the most recent NBA Finals where both number one seeds from both conferences faced off in the final. Although the Lakers were one of the more talented teams in the NBA the previous year, twenty-four days after being swept by the eventual league champion, the Lakers signed Phil Jackson as head coach. Jackson, famous for coaching Michael Jordan and the six-time champion Chicago Bulls, would build his triangle offense around Shaquille ONeal, general Manager Jerry West surrounded ONeal and Bryant with effective role players such as Glen Rice, Ron Harper, and A. C.
Green. Along with these starters, the Lakers possessed a strong bench, Robert Horry not only had championship experience with the Houston Rockets but was a threat on the perimeter and a defensive star. Derek Fisher was a defensively minded point-guard with the ability to shoot well from long range, Rick Fox, acquired after being released by the Boston Celtics, was the Lakers sixth man. Although many expected the Lakers to reach the Finals, the road would be a rocky one, in the first round, the Lakers won the first two games against the Sacramento Kings, only to drop the next two games in Sacramento. The Lakers defeated Sacramento in Game 5, 113–86, to face the Phoenix Suns in the conference semifinals, the Lakers clobbered the Suns, winning the series 4–1. The Trail Blazers stormed back in the game, giving the Lakers their worst home loss of the season in a 106–77 shellacking. This setback did not affect Los Angeles, as assembled a 3–1 series lead by winning the next two games in Portland. The Lakers underestimated the Trail Blazers, led by former Jackson linchpin Scottie Pippen, Portland won back-to-back elimination games and forced a series-deciding Game 7.
Amid several controversial foul calls by referee Dick Bavetta against members of the Trail Blazers, rallying back with a 25–4 run, the Lakers won the game and secured a berth in the NBA Finals. In the 1997–1998 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls narrowly defeated the Pacers,4 games to 3, the 1998–1999 NBA season began with a lockout but saw Indiana return to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they fell to the New York Knicks. The 1999–2000 NBA season brought major changes to the Pacers. It was their first season at Conseco Fieldhouse, as well as their first since 1993 without center Antonio Davis, Jalen Rose replaced Chris Mullin in the starting line up, winning the NBA Most Improved Player award, while Austin Croshere replaced him as the sixth man. The Pacers started the season 7–7 but eventually finished with an Eastern Conference best 56–26 record, the Pacers, like the Lakers, struggled in the playoffs
1988 NBA Finals
The 1988 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1987–88 NBA season. One of Los Angeles Lakers head coach Pat Rileys most famous moments came when he promised the crowd a repeat championship during the Lakers 1986-87 championship parade in downtown Los Angeles. With every team in the league now gunning for them, the Los Angeles Lakers still found a way to win, taking their seventh consecutive Pacific Division title. While the 1988 Lakers did not produce as many wins in the season as the 1987 Lakers, they were just as successful in the playoffs. The Lakers met the physical Detroit Pistons in the 1988 NBA Finals, one of Piston guard Isiah Thomas career-defining performances came in Game 6. Despite badly twisting his ankle midway through the period, Thomas scored a still-NBA Finals record 25 third quarter points, as Detroit fell valiantly, 103-102, Thomas still managed to score 10 first-half points in Game 7, as Detroit built a 5-point lead. In the 3rd quarter, the Lakers, inspired by Finals MVP James Worthy and Byron Scott, the lead swelled to 15 before Detroit mounted a furious 4th-quarter rally, trimming the lead to 2-points on several occasions.
Still, several Detroit miscues enabled the Lakers to win with a 108-105 victory, during the 1987 championship parade in Los Angeles, Lakers coach Pat Riley guaranteed a repeat championship, a feat that had not been achieved since the Boston Celtics won the 1969 NBA Finals. Motivated by their coachs boast, the Lakers once again earned the leagues best record in the 1987–88 season, the playoffs proved to be a difficult climb for the Lakers, however. After sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in the first round, they were pushed to the brink in the two rounds by the Utah Jazz and the Dallas Mavericks. The Lakers eventually prevailed in both series thanks to their championship experience, the Pistons of head coach Chuck Daly were an up-and-coming team that gradually moved up the Eastern Conference ranks. Midway through the season, Detroit gained a valuable backup to Laimbeer, the 1987–88 season marked a further ascension for the franchise, as Detroit won the Central Division title with a 54–28 record.
The second-seeded Pistons overcame the Washington Bullets and the Chicago Bulls in five games each and this time, the Pistons were the better team, eliminating the Celtics in six games for their first NBA Finals appearance since 1956. The Lakers were tired, and it showed, adrian Dantley scored 34 points, hitting 14 of 16 shots from the field. The Pistons took control of the game with four seconds left in the first half when Bill Laimbeer hit a three-point shot to put the Pistons up 54-40. Isiah Thomas stole Kareems inbound pass at half court and let fly with another three-pointer which hit nothing, the Pistons had a 57-40 halftime lead and never looked back, stealing Game 1 with a 105-93 win. Facing the possibility of going down 2-0 with three games to play in Detroit, the veteran Lakers found resolve with a 108-96 win, James Worthy led the Lakers with 26 points, Byron Scott had 24, and Magic Johnson 23 despite battling the flu. With Magic still battling the flu, the Lakers got a key win in Detroit, 99-86, the Lakers took control of the game in the third period, outscoring the Pistons 31-18
1991 NBA Finals
The 1991 NBA Finals was the championship round of the 1990–91 NBA season. It was the first NBA Finals broadcast by NBC after 17 years with CBS, the documentary Learning to Fly, narrated by Jeff Kaye, recaps Chicagos successful first championship season. The theme song is Learning to Fly by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Chicago Bulls of the Eastern Conference took on the Los Angeles Lakers of the Western Conference for the title, with Chicago having home court advantage. It was Michael Jordans first NBA Finals appearance, Magic Johnsons last, the Bulls would win the series, 4-1. Jordan averaged 31.2 points on 56% shooting,11.4 assists,6.6 rebounds,2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks en route to his first NBA Finals MVP Award. The series was not the first time that the Bulls and Lakers faced off in the playoffs, prior to 1991, they met for four postseason series, all Lakers victories. Chicago was a member of the Western Conference at the time, the 1991 Finals marked the first time the Bulls defeated the Lakers in a playoff series.
This series would mark the end of the Lakers Showtime era, the 1991 Lakers were led by Johnson, already in his thirties, playing in his last full year, as was fellow All-Star teammate James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had retired two seasons earlier. When it was all said and done, Michael Jordan became only the man in NBA history to capture the scoring title. Until 2015, the Bulls were the last team to win an NBA championship despite fielding a full roster lacking in championship or Finals experience, none of the Bulls players had logged even a minute of NBA Finals experience prior to this. The 1990–91 season marked the Bulls 25th in franchise history and they managed to put it all together that season, winning a then-franchise record 61 games. Jordan won the title for a fifth consecutive season. Instead, Jordan distributed the ball with regularity, thanks in part to the triangle offense instituted by head coach Phil Jackson. Jordans improved all-around play earned him his second MVP award, in the playoffs, the Bulls lost only once in the first three rounds.
They swept the New York Knicks in the first round, eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round, the Lakers were coming off a stunning second round loss to the Phoenix Suns in the playoffs. The Lakers replaced Riley with Mike Dunleavy, Sr. formerly an assistant coach with the Milwaukee Bucks, in the playoffs, the Lakers swept the Houston Rockets in the first round, eliminated Run TMC and the Golden State Warriors in the second round. Next up for the Lakers were the Portland Trail Blazers, who were coming off a trip to the NBA finals the previous year, the Lakers stunned the Blazers in Portland to open the series, and they went on to win the conference finals in six games. Both teams split the two meetings, each won by the team, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame‡ Michael Jordan started dominating with 15 points,3 rebounds and 5 assists in the first quarter alone
1993 NBA Finals
This series was notable in that the road team won each game, with the exception of Phoenix in Game 4. This series was aired on NBC with Marv Albert, Bob Costas, Mike Fratello, Magic Johnson, Quinn Buckner, Ahmad Rashād and Hannah Storm calling the action. The 1993 NBA championship documentary, Three-Peat, marked the first time since 1982 that NBA Entertainment used film in on-court or off-court action and it was narrated by Hal Douglas, who narrated the NBA Championship documentaries of 1992,1993,1994,1995,1996 and 1997. With two consecutive NBA championships, the Bulls aimed at an elusive three-peat, no team had won a third consecutive NBA title since the Boston Celtics achieved a run of eight titles in a row from 1959 to 1966. In the offseason, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen played for the Dream Team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, winning the gold medal. They entered the new season with little rest, but it did not stop both Jordan and Pippen from leading the Bulls to a 57–25 record, good for second in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago began its push for a three-peat with back-to-back sweeps of the Atlanta Hawks, but against the top-seeded New York Knicks, the Bulls fell behind 2–0, before winning the next two games in Chicago, tying the series. The Suns were a team on the rise, led by their All-Star point guard Kevin Johnson, Johnson arrived via trade in 1988, and propelled the Suns to two consecutive trips to the conference finals in his first two full seasons. In the 1992 offseason, the Suns made a trade, acquiring Charles Barkley from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Jeff Hornacek, Tim Perry. They hired Paul Westphal as head coach, unveiled new logos and uniforms, the Suns made the most of these moves, winning a franchise record 62 games. Barkleys efforts won him the MVP award, in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs, the Suns eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. In the second round the Suns defeated the San Antonio Spurs in six, for the Suns, it was their first NBA finals appearance since 1976 and second overall.
Also, before the game a moment of silence was observed in memory of New Jersey Nets guard Dražen Petrović, both teams came were locked in battle throughout the first quarter until Chicago took over in the 2nd quarter shooting at a greater shooting percentage. In the 2nd half, the Suns begin to put pressure on the Bulls. Scottie Pippen blocked Danny Ainges 3-point attempt to seal the win, the Phoenix Suns won Game 3 in 3OT, 129–121. Suns Head Coach Paul Westphal became the person to appear in both triple-overtime finals games, the first was the classic 1976 contest against Boston, in Game 5 as a player. His Suns appeared in that years finals, thus becoming the team to appear in two triple-overtime finals games, the first of which they lost 126–128. Suns, Kevin Johnson 25, Dan Majerle 28, Charles Barkley 24, Mark West 11, Richard Dumas 17, Danny Ainge 10, Tom Chambers 12, Oliver Miller 2, Frank Johnson 0, Jerrod Mustaf 0 Bulls, B. J
2008 NBA Finals
The 2008 NBA Finals were held June 5 through June 17 of 2008, to decide the winner of the 2007–08 NBA season, and conclude the seasons playoffs. The Boston Celtics, top-seeded champions of the Eastern Conference, defeated the Los Angeles Lakers, top-seeded champions of the Western Conference and this was Bostons first title since 1986 and 17th overall. 2008 marked the first time since 2000 that the top seeds from both conferences met in the Finals and the first time since 2003 that any top seeded team played in the NBA finals. The Lakers appeared in the Finals for the first time since 2004, the Celtics appeared in the Finals for the first time since 1987 and second-best 20th time overall. Going into the series, the Celtics had won the most championships of all-time with 16, the two clubs, the most successful teams in NBA history, looked to renew a longstanding rivalry 21 years after their last Finals meeting in 1987. They narrowly missed meeting each other in 2002, when the Lakers advanced to the Finals, but the Celtics, the Celtics 66–16 record gave them home court advantage over Los Angeles.
This was the first time since 1997, when the Chicago Bulls beat the Utah Jazz for the championship, and this was the first NBA Finals series since 1998 to not feature Tim Duncan or Shaquille ONeal. Rodd Houston narrated the Boston Celtics championship season documentary on NBA Entertainment, the made-for-TV version of this documentary is narrated by Kevin Harlan. Note teams in Bold won that game The Celtics were making their first NBA Finals appearance since a loss to the Lakers in 1987. Over the next 20 years the Celtics would suffer through several lean years, but hope was on the horizon. The 2007 off-season saw Celtics GM Danny Ainge acquire Ray Allen, the newly formed Big Three led the Celtics to a dramatic 42-game turnaround, finishing with 66 wins. The Celtics would finally break their road woes in a win against the perennial Eastern Conference powerhouse Detroit Pistons. After losing to the Pistons in the 2004 NBA Finals despite a talent-laden roster, soon after the Lakers decided to rebuild by trading away Shaquille ONeal to the Miami Heat for Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and Brian Grant.
The 2004–05 season saw the Lakers miss the playoffs for only the time in team history. Even though he had written a book called The Last Season, going as far as calling Kobe Bryant uncoachable and Bryant would patch their differences, but after a pair of first-round exits, Bryant demanded, but retracted, a trade in the off-season. The Lakers 2007–08 season saw the team win 57 games, along the way adding Spanish forward Pau Gasol in mid-season while Andrew Bynum was recovering from a knee injury. The Boston Celtics won both games in the season series, All times listed below are Eastern Daylight Time. Kobe Bryant struggled with his touch, finishing 9–26 from the field with 24 points