Best Runner-Up in NBA History

Ingrid Cliff
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Best Runner-Up in NBA History

I'm curious as to what people think were the best teams that lost in the NBA Finals were. As a Jazz fan, I immediately think of the 1998 team that lost to Jordan and the Bulls, but that's admittedly a homer pick.

So, which team was the best runner up in history? Why?

How do you think they would stack up in today's NBA climate?

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Before I even read your post

Before I even read your post I waa thinking how Jordan was robbing them in The finals those two yrs lol they really were a great team

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Not saying this team is the

Not saying this team is the best runner-up but depending on their future, they could be. The '10 Miami Heat.

IF they win the next 2 or 3 titles, they would go down as a dynasty, not to mention, a dynasty that started with a loss in the finals.

Another one to remember is the Boston Celtics in the 50s/60s when they won a title, lost in the finals and then won 10 of the next 11 NBA championships.

The Laker or Celtic teams that lost in the 80s could also be included.

'04 Lakers also come to mind.

Chilbert arenas
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'93 Suns... Yes, total homer

'93 Suns... Yes, total homer pick.

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That 1997 Jazz was very good

That 1997 Jazz was very good despite being quite old (their three best players Malone, Stockton and Hornacek were 33, 34 and 33 years old respectively).

They went 64-18 and lost to arguably the second best team in NBA history in 6 games.

However I'd give the slight edge to the 1985 Boston Celtics. 63-19 in the regular season, they had the greatest frontcourt in NBA history and all three of them were in their prime (Bird was 28, McHale 27 and Robert Parrish 31). Future Hall of Fame point guard Dennis Johnson was still near his prime as well at the age of 30, as was Cedric Maxwell at the age of 29 and Danny Ainge at the age of 25. They had a staggering 4 Hall of Famers at or near their prime!

They lost to a very good Lakers team in the finals in 6 games and beat a very tough 76ers team in 5 games in the Eastern Conference finals. IMO the 1985 Celtics were younger and deeper than the 1997 Jazz team although I can certainly see an argument either way.

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I like your pick.

1997-98 Jazz. I agree. I read a study examining every NBA team in history with advanced metrics to project how good teams were compared to other great teams of different eras. The study rated this Jazz team as the #7 team ever assembled. Unfortunately for Utah, the 1997-98 Bull team rated as the #1 team ever assembled.


2010-11 Heat: Amazing team that was clearly the most talented team in the league, but was in search of an identity. Personnel wise, there's very little difference between the '11 Heat that lost to the Mavs and the '12 NBA Champs.

2003-04 Lakers: The ultimate "what should have been but never was." Entering the season this team looked unstoppable. Shaq was coming off a 21.5/11.5 season. Malone had gone 20.6/8 the year before. Kobe had put up a relatively efficient 30 ppg. Payton had just posted 19.6/7.4. Unfortunately, in addition to showing age, Malone and Payton were unable to shine in a Kobe-centric offense. Kobe's production dropped off sharply when the offense moved away from him more than he was used to. Shaq and Kobe began hating each other more than they had previously. This team was the most talented team to ever fail, but they were hardly a great team by the time the finals rolled around.

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any of those

90s Knicks finals teams,its really unfair that Ewing didnt win title

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96 Sonics

1996 Seattle SuperSonics

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I'm a Bulls fan and I think,

I'm a Bulls fan and I think, of the later three peat, that the Sonics were the Bulls' toughest Finals opponent. I think they were a better team than the 97' and 98' Jazz squads mentioned on this thread. They were a terrific defensive team with a nice balance of offense.

The 95-96 Bulls were the best of all 3 of the 2nd three peat teams and I think they would have gone 4-1 with the 97 or 98' Jazz teams.

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2010 Celtics )': still haunts

2010 Celtics )': still haunts me to this day

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Definitely one of the 80's

Definitely one of the 80's Celtic or Laker teams anyone saying anybody else has no clue

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Allen Iverson. Haha. That

Allen Iverson. Haha. That team was not very good but Iverson by himself made them a finals teams.

realistically, I like 93 suns, 98 jazz, 95 magic, any Laker team that lost to the Celtics in the 80s and vice versa.

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