Checking Pat Riley's Counting On NBA Dynasties
Pat Riley addressed the media on Thursday calling for perspective and to "get a grip" following the Miami Heat's loss in the NBA Finals. The Heat won two of the past three NBA championships and were in the Finals in each of their four seasons since the arrival of LeBron James and Chris Bosh.
Riley called for perspective in evaluating what constitutes a dynasty, referencing the records of great teams of the past such as the Los Angeles Lakers (1980s, 1990s-2010), Boston Celtics (1980s), Chicago Bulls (1980s-1990s) and San Antonio Spurs (1990s-present).
The Lakers of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won in 1980 before being eliminated in the first round in 1981, followed by another win in 1982. The Lakers then lost in the Finals in 1983 and 1984, but won in 1985. The Lakers went on to lose in the Western Conference Finals in 1986 to the Houston Rockets and then won their two last championships with that team in 1987 and 1988. Even though they wouldn't win another title, they returned to the Finals in 1989 and 1991.
The Celtics of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish lost in the Eastern Conference Finals in 1980 before winning the championship in 1981. They wouldn't return to the Finals again until 1984 in which they won it for a second time. The 1985 season ended in a loss to the Lakers and then they won their third and final championship against the Rockets in 1986. They would never return to the Finals after 1987 as the Pistons and Bulls gained control of the Eastern Conference.
Michael Jordan and the Bulls lost to the Pistons in three straight seasons between 1988 and 1990 before breaking through for their first of three straight titles in 1991. Jordan was in retirement for the 1994 season and were eliminated by the Orlando Magic in 1995 when he came back in the middle of the season.
The Shaquille O'Neal-Kobe Bryant partnership had a difficult beginning and end with the threepeat between 2000 and 2002 in the middle. The Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semifinals in 1997 and 1999 with the Conference Finals coming in 1998. The Lakers lost in the Western Conference Semifinals in 2003 and then the Finals in 2004 before trading away O'Neal in 2004 to the Heat.
The era for the Spurs is the longest of the group with their title contention beginning in Tim Duncan's 97-98 rookie season and culminating with the 2014 championship. The Spurs lost one Finals in 2013, but won their other appearances in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007. San Antonio were eliminated in the Western Conference Finals three times, five losses in the Semifinals and three in the first round.
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