The NBA is a competition of marked slogans . The weekend of the All Star must be a party that brings together talent, Christmas duels present the teams projected to reach the ring, the Finals MVP is awarded to a player of the champion squad or in phase 82 games are held religiously . However, the rule always has exceptions that confirm it, whether due to unfulfilled forecasts, the appearance of injuries, epic deeds or social movements.
The latest circumstantial change concerning the best basketball league in the world is related to the calendar . The pandemic by coronavirus caused its natural course to be interrupted, as in most large and small sports competitions. The positive of Rudy Gobert precipitated everything causing, for the third time in history, not all regular phase duels to be completed.
Since the 67/68 season, the courses that have had their calendar reduced are those corresponding to 98/99 and 12/13 (both due to a lockout induced by the lack of agreements between the owners of the franchises and the players) and, now, on 19/20 by the aforementioned COVID-19. These strange years are always for the memory of the fans, but he places special emphasis on the champion teams. They have a ring and the Larry O’Brien trophy, no one would dare to take away their glory, as neither nor the nickname that accompanies them: champions with an asterisk .
San Antonio Spurs (1998/1999)
In 1998, l the NBA was orphaned by Michael Jordan for the second time (this time seemed the definitive) and was looking for a new dominator. The Bulls had harvested six wound in eight years and would not repeat in the adventure of the seventh. Jerry Krause destroyed the winning pillars of the Chicago ones to start an unsuccessful reconstruction, so the game was left open.
The bets placed the last victims in the era of '23' at the head: Utah Jazz and Indiana Pacers. The Mormons had fallen twice, consecutively, in the finals; while the boys of Larry Bird had forced the hexacampeones to a seventh encounter in the Final of the East. It was a rematch, although, to his regret, that year a new dynasty was to be born: the Spurs of Duncan and Popovich.
The previous year, this duo of NBA 'rookies' reached the Western semifinals. Only the lack of experience caused them to be run over 4-1 by the iconic Malone-Stockton couple. With the memory of the defeat in the subconscious, they managed to close the regular phase of 98/99 with the best balance in the league (37-13). They were the best, although they also took advantage of a short championship (started in February) to start an unstoppable winning inertia. They also found no rival in any of the Playoff rounds. In fact, of the 17 duels they won in 15.
The finals against the Knicks of the wayward Latrell Sprewell, the fine marksman Allan Houston and the veteran Pat Ewing, f They were listed, before beginning, as one of the most unbalanced in history . Not surprisingly, it was the first time that the eighth team in either conference had reached the title challenge. New York coach Van Gundy knew how to take advantage of the volatility of his outside players, but he only managed to steal a game from the Spurs at home. Those of San Antonio, to the rhythm Duncan MVP with 27.7 points and 14 rebounds, and the always reliable 'Admiral' Robinson, based their game on these two 'Twin Towers' to get the first title of franchise champion. Then, four more arrived, until the last one was raised in 2014.
Miami Heat (2011/2012)
Lebron James came to the state of Florida to win, although he had to wait for the second year as Heat. In the previous season, they perished against prognosis against Dirk Nowitzki's Dallas Mavericks. They were his worst endings (of the nine disputed to date), where he accused the pressure of showing that he could be considered as one of the best players in history.
The NBA 'King' worked in the summer harder and came back stronger. He managed to be awarded the MVP of a regular season of 66 games, which was saved again 'in extremis' as in the lockout of '98, and catapulted those of Miami to a neat 46-20 , to start as the second seed in the East.
The privileged position was for the Bulls of the explosive Derrick Rose. They aspired to everything, although the dream was diluted in the first game of the Playoffs, when Rose broke the cruciate ligament of her left knee. Farewell to the youngest MVP in NBA history and to the aspirations of those of the 'Windy City', who were beginning to be important after the post-Jordan depression.
In this way, the way was paved for the Heat. In the first round, they tamed the Carmelo Anthony Knicks, also helped by a backcourt ravaged by the injuries of Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert, and, in 'semis' they had to work to beat the proud Pacers of the nascent Paul George and from the giant Roy Hibbert. But the real litmus test came against the Celtics, whose 'Big Three' champion in 2008 still continued to offer battle . And the greens had the finals close, thanks to a favorable 3-2 and a game against their public, but Lebron was going to answer with 45 points and 15 rebounds in the Garden and with 31 goals and 12 sacks in the seventh.
Title games would not be a problem, beyond the Oklahoma City Thunder's initial scare in the first game. Spurred on by defeat, and by the inexperience of Durant, Westbrook, and company, the Os Heat triumphed in the next four to reach Lebron's long-awaited ring and fulfill the promise he swore on his arrival in Miami.