Now that the NBA Finals are tied 2-2, the Golden State Warriors, who won 67 games during the regular season, could finish as one of the best NBA betting teams ever to win 67 games and walk away without a title… if LeBron can keep the Cleveland magic going. So who are some of the other great regular season teams to be denied in the playoffs? Here’s a list.
Best NBA Betting Teams Never to Win The Championship
1992-93 Phoenix Suns
Record: 62-20, best record in the NBA, lost finals to Chicago, 4-2
The Suns had home court against the Bulls. The Suns won two of the three games in the series that were played in Chicago. This happened when the Bulls still played in Chicago Stadium, where there was no reliable air conditioning, and if a game happened to be soon after the stock show, the stench of animal manure would hang in the building. However, the Bulls won all of the games in Phoenix. This was Charles Barkley’s first season in the desert. He won an MVP and led his team to greatness, only to have them falter in the last series.
1995-96 Seattle SuperSonics
Record: 64-18, best record in the Western Conference, lost finals to Chicago, 4-2
The Sonics had the misfortune of running into the Bulls during Michael Jordan’s first full season back from his experiment in baseball. The Bulls won 72 of 82 games that year and won 14 of their first 15 playoff games. The Bulls went up 3-0 to start the finals, but then the Sonics took the next two at home behind the leadership of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. Detlef Schrempf was a stellar sixth man for those Sonics, and Hersey Hawkins came out of nowhere to have a career year. Too bad they ran into the Bulls juggernaut.
1997-98 Utah Jazz
Record: 62-20, tied for best record in the league, lost finals to Chicago, 4-2
This was one of the great Utah teams that featured Karl Malone and John Stockton. In fact, the Bulls were a push-off away from having to go to Game 7, which would have been Jordan’s first to face in an NBA finals. The shot Jordan made to close the series was the last he would shoot as a Bull.
2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers
Record: 66-16, best record in league, lost Eastern Conference Finals to Orlando, 4-2
When it comes to Cleveland meltdowns in the playoffs, most people remember the awful loss to the Celtics in 2010, when LeBron James basically stood on the court and watched his team lose. However, he may have decided to head out of town starting the year before, when his team won 66 games and didn’t even make the NBA finals. This was a good team, but LeBron still had to carry it. He averaged almost 38 points per game in the series against Orlando, along with 8 boards and 8 assists, but Dwight Howard was in his prime for Orlando, and the Cavs weren’t enough.
2001-02 Sacramento Kings
Record: 61-21, best record in league, lost Western Conference Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers, 4-3
There have been better teams to fail to win the finals, but the Kings are the best team ever to have had a chance at a title taken away from them. The Kings had a 3-2 series lead over the Lakers when the Lakers still had both Kobe and Shaq, but then the officiating really got bad, not just in Game 6 but also in Game 7. This great team that had Mike Bibby, Chris Webber and Vlade Divac should have made the finals. The most important shot of the series did end up in the hands of Doug Christie, who was 2 for 10 in that game, but the NBA still should be ashamed of the way the Lakers “earned” that win.