24. 1999 San Antonio Spurs
Regular season record: 37-13
Conference Quarterfinals: Defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves in 4 games
Conference Semifinals: Defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in 4 games
Conference Finals: Defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in 4 games
NBA Finals: Defeated the New York Knicks in 5 games
San Antonio’s first NBA Championship came at the end of a lockout shortened season. Led by All-NBA Center Tim Duncan, the Spurs overcame a 6-8 start to finish a league best 37-13. The Spurs waltzed through the playoffs with a record of 15-2, including a 4-1 victory in the Finals over an average version of Patrick Ewing and the New York Knicks. Had the Spurs played an entire season, there is a good chance they’d be seen in a more favorable light.
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23. 1995 Houston Rockets
Regular season record: 47-35
Conference Quarterfinals: Defeated the Utah Jazz in 5 games
Conference Semifinals: Defeated the Phoenix Suns in 7 games
Conference Finals: Defeated the San Antonio Spurs in 6 games
NBA Finals: Defeated the Orlando Magic in 4 games
For a second year in a row, the Houston Rockets took advantage of Michael Jordan’s sabbatical by claiming another title. Led by Finals MVP Hakeem Olajuwon, and in-season acquisition Clyde Drexler, Houston staggered through the second half of the season on their way to a third place finish. After narrowly defeating the Jazz and Suns in two series that went the distance, Houston dispatched the Spurs 4-2 to reach the Finals. In a showdown between Olajuwon and Shaquille O’Neal, the Rockets swept the Orlando Magic, thanks in large part to Olajuwon averaging 32.8 PPG.
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