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How Many No. 8 Seeds Have Eliminated No. 1 Seeds in the NBA Playoffs?

The Heat have the Bucks on the ropes after a 119–114 victory in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference first-round series Monday night. Miami is within a win of knocking out a Milwaukee team that went an NBA-best 58–24 in the regular season, and would become the first No. 8 seed to hold a No. 1 seed to just one win in a series if they can close out this series in Game 5.

Monday’s surprising outcome raises the question: how many No. 8 seeds have eliminated No. 1 seeds since the playoffs expanded to their current 16-team size in 1984?

The answer is five, and that includes the following teams.

1994: Nuggets d. SuperSonics 3–2

In a stunning upset 10 years into the best-of-five era, the Nuggets knocked out a SuperSonics team that finished a whopping 21 games better than them in the regular season. Hall of Fame center Dikembe Mutombo and guard Robert Pack helped a no-name Denver team overturn a 2–0 series deficit to pull off the upset.

1999: Knicks d. Heat 3–2

After the lockout-abbreviated shortest NBA season in 50 years, the Knicks added a new chapter to their classic rivalry with the then-nascent Heat. Future All-Star guard Allan Houston drilled the series-winner with 0.8 seconds left in Game 5.

2007: Warriors d. Mavericks 4–2

Maybe the most famous upset of the five. Backed by a raucous Oakland crowd and buoyed by guards Baron Davis and Stephen Jackson, the Warriors made Dirk Nowitzki’s Mavericks the only 65-win team in history not to advance past the first round.

2011: Grizzlies d. Spurs 4–2

A high-water mark for the Grit n' Grind Grizzlies. Memphis captured its first playoff series in franchise history thanks to suffocating defense from guard Tony Allen, center Marc Gasol and forward Zach Randolph.

2012: 76ers d. Bulls 4–2

Another lockout-aided anomaly, facilitated by a catastrophic injury. Bulls guard Derrick Rose tore his ACL in the fourth quarter of Game 1, and the 76ers captured the next three games and eventually the series.