Behind masterful performances from Jimmy Butler and Co., Miami — who won the series four games to one — advances to play the New York Knicks, winners of their first playoff series in a decade. Those teams have met in the playoffs before, including one of the 8-over-1 upsets we’ll explore below.
2023: Miami Heat 4, Milwaukee Bucks 1
As our Sam Fels pointed out in The Mourning After, Milwaukee — the 2021 champs — choked this series away.
“...I know a deer caught in headlights look when I see one, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer spent all of Game 5 with that look on his face. That’s when he didn’t have both hands wrapped around his throat.”
Jimmy Buckets came to play, dropping 56 points in Game 4 with Victor Oladipo and Tyler Herro out.
As our DJ Dunson noted, “In the pantheon of postseason performances, Butler’s 56 points against the Milwaukee Bucks was a spiritual awakening. Butler came stomping into Game 4 in his Black Air Force 1s and left everything ounce of energy he had left on the floor.”
2012: Philadelphia 76ers 4, Chicago Bulls 2
Derrick Rose tore his ACL near the end of Game 1 and his, as well as the Bulls’, future changed.
2011: Memphis Grizzlies 4, San Antonio Spurs 2
2007: Golden State Warriors 4, Dallas Mavericks 2
Golden State became the first team to pull off the 8 over 1 upset in a seven-game series. Dallas lost in the 2006 finals, won 67 games the next season, and still came up short against the “We Believe” Warriors, which featured Baron Davis, Monta Ellis, Al Harrington, and Stephen Jackson, amongst others.
1999: New York Knicks 3, Miami Heat 2
For a franchise with such a proud tradition, the Knicks haven’t been able to win a title since 1973.
They knocked on the door in 1994, and put together a run during the lockout-shortened ‘98-99 postseason.
This was the third straight year these teams met in the postseason.
Allan Houston (pictured) was the Game 5 hero, sinking a bucket in the waning seconds. Despite being the only No. 8 seed to advance to the finals, New York lost in a gentleman’s sweep to the Spurs.
1994: Denver Nuggets 3, Seattle Supersonics 2
Not in my house, no, no, no. Dikembe Mutombo and the were the first-ever eight seed to knock off the No. 1 squad. In 94, that was the Seattle Supersonics (Editor’s note: BRING THEM BACK!) led by Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, and Detlef Schrempf.
The Nuggets overcame an 0-2 deficit to advance before falling short — 4-3 — to Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Utah Jazz.