NBA Playoff Injuries That Have Costed a Championship

Injuries are a part of sports; there is no getting away from that. But, there is a sense of injustice when a team is forced to play without their star player, and it often leads fans to question what could have been if they would have had their full strength squad throughout the season, and most importantly, the postseason. 

Injuries have already been on display in the current , with both Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic forced to leave the court during 1 defeat against the Los Angeles Lakers. But, what injuries have cost teams their chance of glory throughout NBA history?

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There will be a sense that the Lakers deserve the injuries to go against them in the finals this season, as that certainly wasn’t the case back in 1989. The Lakers went into the postseason with the league’s best record, having won 63 of their games in the regular season. They continued to dominate in the postseason, as they won eleven games.

However, their chances of success were hampered when Byron Scott pulled his hamstring in Game 1 of the finals series against the Detroit Pistons. That wasn’t the end of their woes, as Johnson would pick up the same injury in the second game. Injuries took their toll, as the Pistons went on to win the series 4-0. 

The Lakers wouldn’t win another NBA title until 2000 after this defeat, and they only won the conference title on one other occasion before that, with that Western Conference title coming in 1991. However, the Chicago Bulls would 

The Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA championship in 2011, but there is a sense that success should have come much earlier. Their best chance at the title prior to 2011 was the team that was led by Dirk Nowitzki. During that season, Dallas won 60 games during the regular season, which made franchise history for the most wins in a regular season.

Nowitzki was the star of that team, and he showed his worth in the postseason. He scored 46 points in their first game of the opening round, as he scored 46 points. That level of play continued with 30 points in Game 7 of their conference semi-final clash, but the Mavericks were dealt the ultimate blow later on as Nowitzki limped off in Game 3 of the conference finals vs. San Antonio. The injury kept him out for the remainder of the series, and even with Steve Nash and Michael Finley in place, Dallas lost in six games.

LeBron James’ return to Cleveland in 2014 looked as though it was going to ensure that the NBA Championship would arrive in the city for the very first time. That looked set to happen as the Cavaliers breezed into the playoffs in fine fashion after winning 53 of their regular-season games during the King’s first year back in his hometown. However, the wheels began to fall off in the playoffs as Kevin Love picked up a dislocated shoulder. The Cavs were able to respond to this though and still managed to make it through to the Eastern Conference.

However, they were dealt an unsurmountable blow in the opening game of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, as Kyrie Irving suffered a fractured kneecap. His importance couldn’t be understated, averaging 19 PPG on 45% 3PM throughout the playoffs. The Warriors went on to win the championship in six games, but the Cavaliers wouldn’t need to wait long for revenge as they claimed their first title in franchise history 12 months later. 

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So, who has been most impacted by injuries in the Finals? Learn more about odds for the NBA here: .

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