In every game of sport, there’s a winner and a loser. And if there isn’t, then it’s not really a sport, soccer excluded. But, how often does the best team win? It can be argued that the best team always wins, since of course, they won.
That being said, some of the teams that don’t win are pretty good too. What we have below is a look at some NBA teams that were right on the cusp of being the best, but not quite. Consider them the best losers of the past three decades.
10. 2001-2002 Sacramento Kings
Regular Season Record: 61-21
Playoffs Record: 3-1 over Utah Jazz; 4-1 over Dallas Mavericks; lost to Los Angeles Lakers 4-3 in Western Conference Finals
Despite finishing the season with the best record in NBA, the talented Kings fell short to the eventual NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Chris Webber, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic led the way with solid contributions from Vlade Divac, Doug Christie and Bobby Jackson. What sunk the team was Robert Horry and some Game 7 duds from the Kings, to say the least. I call it karma for the way Christie and his wife had their corny signals to each other as there is unsubstantiated proof that his testicles are still in her purse.
9. 1991-92 Portland Trail Blazers
Regular Season Record: 57-25
Playoffs Record: 3-1 over Los Angeles Lakers; 4-1 over Phoenix Suns; 4-2 over Utah Jazz; lost to the Chicago Bulls 4-2 in NBA Finals
The Blazers owned the best record in the Western Conference, second-best in the entire NBA, behind only the eventual champion Chicago Bulls. At this point, the Blazers were one of the elite NBA teams for a few seasons running, led by the backcourt duo of Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter. Jerome Kersey, Cliff Robinson, Kevin Duckworth and Buck Williams were the frontcourt muscle. However, it was the Bulls’ year and there was no stopping Michael Jordan, which will be a running theme for this post.