While the NBA is on COVID-19 hiatus, Jason Oliver is reliving some of the most notable upsets and best bookie beats over the years. This week, the ‘We Believe’ Golden State Warriors shock the world.
The Steph Curry-led Golden State Warriors had one of the largest ever bandwagons in NBA history hitched to them. With five appearances in the NBA Finals on the bounce, three Larry O’Brien Trophies and a 73-win season, the new Warriors fans enjoyed an elite five-year period before the nightmare that has been the 2019-2020 season (15-50).
But the long-suffering Warriors fans, those that sat through one playoff appearance in 18 seasons, may look back at the 2006-2007 season as their fondest memory. Some punters certainly do.
The ‘We Believe’ Warriors shocked the world in the First Round of the 2006-2007 playoffs. Entering the series as $13 underdogs to advance to the Second Round, the implied odds gave them just a 7.7% chance of victory. Those that believed enough to put their hands in their pockets cashed in, handing the bookies a bad, bad beat.
How It Happened
Having not made the playoffs in 13 years, the Warriors won 16 of their last 21 games of the regular season to end the streak. They came into the playoffs hot, but not hot enough to be given a chance at beating the number one seed Dallas Mavericks (67-15).
They entered Game 1 as +9.5 underdogs but won straight up in Dallas. Baron Davis wasted no time in setting the standard for the series with 33 points on 11-20 shooting in the 97-85 win.
With the first win considered a fluke, the bookmakers once again installed the Warriors as +9.5 dogs for Game 2. This time, it all went to script as Jason Terry (28pts), Josh Howard (22pts), Dirk Nowitzki (23pts) and Jerry Stackhouse (17pts) combined for 90 points as the Mavericks ran out 112-99 victors.
It was series over as far as some were concerned.
With the series moved to Oakland, Golden State’s +9.5 in the opening two games was shaved to +4 for Game 3. Once again getting off to a fast start, the Warriors took the lead after four minutes of the first quarter and never relinquished it in the 109-91 win.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) May 3, 2020
When Davis dropped another 33 points in a 103-99 Game 4 win, the Warriors belief had produced fear in the Mavericks. Still, back to Dallas for Game 5, the Mavericks tipped off as -9.5 favourites. Despite being down by double-digits at the end of the first quarter, the Warriors clawed their way back – eventually losing 118-112.
Game 6, in Oakland, is one of the most famous games in NBA history.
Warriors Shock The NBA
Despite leading the series 3-2 and playing on their home court, the Warriors started Game 6 as underdogs (+3.5).
The line felt about right when the Warriors went into halftime with just a 50-48 lead.
Then it happened…
The Warriors exploded for 36 points in the third quarter, connecting on ten of their 16 field goal attempts and 12 of 15 from the free-throw line. Stephen Jackson, in particular, had himself a quarter knocking down four three’s on his way to a game-high 33 points.
Don Nelson’s ploy of putting a smaller man on Nowitzki worked a treat with the 2006-2007 NBA MVP only getting up one shot in the quarter – a missed three. The Mavericks hit just six of 21 shots in the quarter to find themselves 86-63 behind going into the fourth quarter. Holding firm to win the final 12 minutes 25-23, the Warriors defeated the Mavericks 111-86 to win the series as $13 roughies.
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