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5 NBA teams that ended dynasties

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May 29th, 2020

Victory is never permanent. These five teams faced titans of the NBA and exposed their mortality, ending a prolonged run of dominance.

Golden State hits the end of the road in Toronto (2019)

The Golden State Warriors had previously been denied at the peak of their powers by LeBron James, but everything fell apart as the Warriors faced another potential three-peat as they took on the Toronto Raptors. While Kawhi Leonard and the motivated Raptors were a tough enough task, injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant were too much for Golden State to overcome and the Raptors won in six.

San Antonio cools the Heat (2014)

When LeBron James joined Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, James boasted Miami was about to usher in a new era of basketball. The only thing standing in their way of a third straight title was the aging San Antonio Spurs, who they previously conquered the season before. San Antonio made their adjustments and stuck to their fundamentals for the rematch, picking apart the mighty Heat squad to the point where it seemed they gave up. The humbling finals defeat sent James back to Cleveland, closing the book on the most disappointing super team of all time.

Wilt Chamberlain stops Boston’s reign of terror (1967)

Prior to the 1966-67 season, the Boston Celtics went on an unprecedented run in which they had won eight straight championships. After being denied by Boston a season before, the Wilt Chamberlain-led Philadelphia 76ers finally put a dent in the Celtics’ run with the best regular season record in league history up to that point. Philly and Boston collided in the playoffs, but this time, the Sixers had more in the tank to unseat the Celtics in five games. Though Boston would return the favor the next year, the 76ers stopped what could have been nine consecutive titles.

Rockets go from dream to nightmare in Seattle (1996)

Houston had emerged as the top team in the NBA following Michael Jordan’s first retirement and were the reigning and defending champions two years running in 1994 and 1995. While it would have been a sight to see if those Rockets could contend with the resurgent Bulls, the Seattle Supersonics tore the Rockets apart in a four-game sweep in the 1996 NBA Playoffs as they began their march against the legendary 72-10 squad. Even adding Charles Barkley the following season couldn’t give the Rockets the spark to remain a contender in the west.

The Pistons kick Larry and Magic to the curb (1989)

The magical era of Bird vs. Magic came to an end at the hands of the chronically underrated Detroit Pistons, who ended both teams’ run in their decade of dominance. The Bad Boys would deny the Celtics another run at the title in 1988 and swept them out of the playoffs in 1989. In 1989, the Pistons would gain a measure of revenge over Magic Johnson and the Lakers as they swept them in a rematch of their finals loss the year before. Two dynasties fell in sequence to the mighty Pistons, ending this fondly remembered era with a bang.

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