Championship Favorites Who Got Bounced In The First Round

Championship Favorites Who Got Bounced In The First Round

The Boston Celtics have swept the ‘Title Favorites’ Brooklyn Nets in the 1st round of the playoffs itself. This is an embarrassment for a team who was predicted to win the NBA Championship before the season even began.

But the Nets aren’t the only favorites to be put away in the 1st round. In NBA history, they join 2 other teams who were title favorites but they exited the Playoffs in the 1st round itself. It’s always surprising for the fans to see such a top-heavy team being manhandled and then dethroned in the 1st round itself. Here are the teams to disappoint the fans as title favorites.

Dallas Mavericks (2006-07)

The 2006-07 Mavericks were the 1st seed in the West. This was the year that Dirk had led his team to a franchise record in wins during the regular season. Plus he even won the MVP. Dirk was at the peak of his games and his unstoppable fadeaway was a glory to behold.

It seemed like nobody could stop the Mavericks after they had just made a Finals trip the previous post-season. Unfortunately there was one team who believed in themselves more than the Mavericks and that was the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors led by Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson and Jason Richardson absolutely destroyed the Mavericks.

That Warriors team had team chemistry like no other and despite not having any notable all-star, they kept their cool and played very aggressively. Dirk was not the kind of player who could do well when guarded so tightly and hence he was held to only 19 points on bad shooting.

Dallas Mavericks (2007-08)

The following year despite being in the 7th seed, the Mavericks were the title favorites again and they were expected to go all the way. But the young New Orleans Hornets who was led by a 22-year old floor general, Chris Paul had other plans.

The Hornets were a bad matchup for the Mavericks as they depended on Paul to space the floor and push the tempo of the game. Dirk had a great series but his teammates could not support him as they struggled to put points on the board.

While on the other hand, Paul elevated his teammates and made sure they were in the right place at the right time. The Mavericks could not answer the Hornets attacks and they fell to them in 5 games.

Los Angeles Lakers (2020-21)

This is the most recent outcome featuring LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Lakers were the favorites to lift the silverware again following a championship in 2020 Playoffs. The Lakers were out to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke although they finished as the 7th seed in the West.

They went up against the Phoenix Suns who were not even considered to reach the next round. The Lakers were predicted to sweep them but the Suns did not let the media talks bother them. The Lakers won the first 2 games and it felt like the predictions would come true.

But Davis got injured and could not play well the rest of the Playoffs. It was a tough job for the Lakers to win with only LeBron. The Suns proceeded to win the next 4 games and bury the wounded Lakers as they proceeded to go all the way to the Finals.

It is clear that these teams had expectations surrounding them while their opponents did not. It cannot be said that the pressure got to them but it was more like their opponents wanted to make a statement of their existence in the league. Of course, the favorites do not always win. But not being able to meet the fan’s expectations always has a price and the Brooklyn Nets will now be facing that consequence.

“Ladies and gentleman you have witnessed the 2nd greatest performance in NBA history.” That’s the way Soham was introduced to the world of Basketball. He is an ardent fan of the game capturing every moment, whether it be the long and turbulent regular season or the nail-biting playoff series. His perspective as a player provides valuable insight to the game. A follower of Kobe Bryant, he brings his mamba mentality in gathering every piece of information of the NBA.