The eighth-seeded Sixers stumbled late in the regular season, giving many the impression they had no shot against the top-seeded Bulls, who had MVP point guard Derrick Rose and big man Joakim Noah. But when Rose went down with a torn ACL in Game 1 and Noah sprained his ankle in Game 3, the Sixers' road got a lot easier -- and they took advantage. Philadelphia finally ended the Bulls' run in a thrilling Game 6, in which Andre Iguodala won it on a pair of free throws with 2.2 seconds left to cap the series, 4-2. With the win, the Sixers earned their first trip to the conference semifinals since 2003 and became just the third No. 8 seed in NBA history to knock of a No. 1 seed in a best-of-seven series (the fifth overall).
2 of 18Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Grizzlies defeat Spurs
The Spurs were the West's best regular-season team with a 61-21 record, but a late-season slide (they lost eight of their last 12 games) continued through the postseason and they fell to the 46-win and eighth-seeded Grizzlies in six games. It marked only the second time in NBA history that a No. 1 seed had lost to a No. 8 seed in a best-of-seven series.
3 of 18Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Warriors defeat Mavericks
Pick a storyline, this series had it all. Golden State becoming the first No. 8 seed to beat a No. 1 in a seven-game series. Coach Don Nelson getting revenge on his former team and bitter enemy, Mavs owner Mark Cuban. The Warriors winning their first playoff series in 16 seasons. Baron Davis, on a gimpy hamstring, pulling a Willis Reed to score 20 points in the Game 6 clincher.
4 of 18John W. McDonough/SI
Nuggets defeat Seattle
Though they barely finished over .500 (42-40), the Nuggets, fueled by Dikembe Mutombo, defeated top-seeded Seattle in overtime of Game 5 to win the series. It was the first time in history that an eighth seed had defeated a No. 1. Seattle, led by Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, was plagued by Mutombo, whose 31 blocks set a record for a five-game series.
5 of 18Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Warriors defeat Bullets
Golden State (48-34 in the regular season) swept Wes Unseld- and Elvin-Hayes-led Washington (60-22) in four tight games -- two one-point victories, a six-point win and an eight-point triumph. Rick Barry was named Finals MVP.
6 of 18Manny Millan/SI
Knicks defeat Heat
This matchup, which came after a 50-game, lockout-shortened regular season, will forever be remembered as one of only five series in which a No. 8 defeated a No. 1. The Knicks (27-23) won two games in Miami (33-17), capped by a memorable Game 5 in which Allan Houston put up a runner in the lane that bounced off the backboard and the rim before falling in with 0.8 seconds left to give the Knicks a 78-77 win.
7 of 18Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Mavericks defeat Lakers
The Lakers were a on quest for their third straight championship and Phil Jackson's fourth three-peat. They were again favored to go all the way, despite a shaky first-round win over the seventh-seeded Hornets. The Mavericks were the Mavericks -- that team with an impressive regular-season record and loads of potential who was again expected to fall short in the postseason. But anything but the expected happened. The Lakers stunningly collapsed, while Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks dominated in a sweep. In Game 4, Jason Terry (pictured) drained a record-tying nine threes (of out 10 attempts) while Peja Stojakovic added six treys and the Mavs blew out the Lakers 122-86 in Dallas.
8 of 18Andy Hayt/SI
Rockets defeat Lakers
Though this first-round series was only a best-of-three affair, nobody gave the Rockets much of a chance to defeat the defending champion Lakers, who finished the season with 14 more wins than Houston (40-42). But Moses Malone (pictured), Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich were able to contain Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and second-year star Magic Johnson as the Rockets won the deciding Game 3 89-86. Houston continued its surprise run all the way to the NBA Finals before losing to Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics.
9 of 18James Drake/SI
Celtics defeat Lakers
The aging Celtics, with player-coach Bill Russell and fellow 35-year-old Sam Jones, slumped (by their standards) to a 48-24 record and fourth-place finish in the Eastern Division during the regular season. But after getting past the Philadelphia 76ers (55-27) and New York Knicks (54-28) in the East bracket to reach their 11th Finals in 13 seasons, the Celtics won a seven-game series with a Lakers team (55-27) comprised of Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain, who was in his first year with Los Angeles. Russell, the NBA's greatest winner, retired as a player after winning his 11th title.
10 of 18Manny Millan/SI
Nets defeat 76ers
New Jersey not only won a playoff game for the first time in its seven-year NBA history but also eliminated defending champion Philadelphia, which had dominated the 1983 playoffs behind a similar cast of characters (Moses Malone [pictured], Julius Erving, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks and Bobby Jones). The road team won all five games in the series, The Nets' run, fueled by Darryl Dawkins, Buck Williams, Otis Byrdsong, Albert King and Micheal Ray Richardson, ended a round later against the Milwaukee Bucks.
11 of 18Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images
Kansas City Kings defeat Suns
The fourth-seeded Kings, 40-42 during the regular season and dealing with injuries to Otis Birdsong (left) and others in the playoffs, were not expected to be much of a match for Truck Robinson, Dennis Johnson and the rest of the top-seeded Suns, who posted the best regular season in franchise history (57-25). But the Kings raced to a 3-1 lead, lost two straight and then pulled out a 95-88 victory in Game 7 to advance to the conference finals, where they were ousted by Houston in five games.
12 of 18Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
Suns defeat Lakers
The pre-Charles Barkley Suns (54-28), featuring Tom Chambers (left) and Kevin Johnson, were decided underdogs against MVP Magic Johnson and the top-seeded, 63-win Lakers. But after splitting the first two games, the Suns took three straight to win the series. The Suns advanced to the conference finals, where they were promptly dismissed by Portland.
13 of 18Manny Millan/SI
Suns defeat Warriors
Before Garfield Heard's miraculous rainbow shot at the buzzer forced triple overtime against the Celtics in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, the Suns (42-40 during the regular season) had to match up against defending champion Golden State (59-23). After a hard-fought six games, the Suns defeated the Warriors 94-86 in Game 7 in San Francisco. Paul Westphal and Alvan Adams led the way for the Suns, marking the second-greatest upset (based on win differential) in NBA history.
14 of 18Mike Powell/Getty Images
Sonics defeat Mavs
Despite a losing regular-season record (39-43), the seventh-seeded Sonics knocked off the No. 2 Mavs (55-27) three games to one -- this after allowing 151 points in a Game 1 loss. The Sonics were led by Xavier McDaniel (left, against Los Angeles later in the playoffs) and Tom Chambers while the Mavs struggled to make up for the lackluster play of Mark Aguirre, who was suffering from strep throat. The Sonics made it past Houston in the semifinals before being swept by the eventual champion Lakers.
15 of 18Walter Iooss Jr./SI
Trail Blazers defeat 76ers
Although only one game separated the two teams in the regular season, the star-studded 76ers of Julius Erving and George McGinnis were considered heavy favorites against Bill Walton, Maurice Lucas and the young Blazers, a last-place team the previous season. After dropping the first two games in Philadelphia -- and taking part in a brawl late in Game 2 that many believe was the turning point in the series -- the Blazers ripped off four consecutive victories to secure the franchise's first and only title. Walton was named Finals MVP.
16 of 18John Biever/SI
Pistons defeat Lakers
Veterans Gary Payton and Karl Malone moved to Los Angeles to help the team try to win its fourth championship of the Shaq-Kobe era. The series was billed as David (the underdog Pistons) vs. Goliath (the supremely talented Lakers), but after splitting the first two games, Detroit won three straight by an average of 14 points to win the title. Leading the way for the Pistons was guard Chauncey Billups (left, with coach Larry Brown), who averaged 21 points and five assists on his way to winning Finals MVP.
17 of 18Manny Millan/SI
Bullets defeat 76ers
Buoyed by coach Dick Motta's mantra, ''The opera ain't over 'til the fat lady sings,'' the Bullets (44-38), after rallying to knock off San Antonio (52-30) in the conference semifinals, eliminated powerful Philadelphia (55-27) in six games to reach the NBA Finals. From there, Elvin Hayes and Co. beat the Sonics to become the NBA champion with the fewest regular-season victories.
18 of 18Bill Baptist/SI
Rockets defeat Magic
After a 47-win regular season earned it the sixth seed, Houston went through Utah (60-22), Phoenix (59-22) and San Antonio (62-20) to reach the Finals. Then the Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, took out Shaquille O'Neal and Orlando (57-25) to win their second consecutive championship, prompting coach Rudy Tomjanovich to famously say, "Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion."
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