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In one of the NBA’s biggest upsets in recent history, the 19.5-point underdog Portland Trail Blazers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-105.
In one of the NBA’s biggest upsets in recent history, the 19.5-point underdog Portland Trail Blazers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-105.Bruce KluckhohnUSA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con


Trail Blazers upset Timberwolves: What are the NBA’s biggest-ever upsets?

In one of the NBA’s biggest upsets in recent history, the 19.5-point underdog Portland Trail Blazers beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 107-105.

The Portland Trail Blazers were not supposed to win their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. They went into the game as 19.5-point underdogs. The Blazers are at 13 in the Western Conference, one of the worst teams in the West, while the Timberwolves are trying to stay in the top 10 to make the Play-in tournament. Yet somehow, Minnesota lost their third-straight game, 107-105 to Portland, putting them at ninth in the conference and 1.5 games behind the Lakers (7) and Pelicans (8).

What made this upset even more upsetting is that Portland was sitting four of its best starters, Damian Lillard, Jusuf Nurkic, Jerami Grant, and Anfernee Simmons. This all may be upsetting for Minnesota, but it’s also a little upsetting for Portland, who may now lose their chance for a No. 1 pick in the draft if they don’t stay in the worst four teams in the league. Upset, all around. In fact, ESPN reported that the Blazers were the biggest underdog to win a game in at least 30 years, since the Magic beat the Bulls (21-point underdogs) in the 1991-92 season.

We’re not in the playoffs yet, but there will surely be more upsets to come once we’re there. In the spirit of the Timberwolves’ unexpected loss, let’s take a look at the NBA’s biggest upsets in playoff history.

NBA’s biggest playoff upsets

1994 - Denver Nuggets upset Seattle SuperSonics in first round of playoffs

In 1994, the Seattle SuperSonics, with Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Sam Perkins, and Kendall Gill, finished the regular season with an insane 63-19 record and it looked like they’d make it all the way to the NBA finals. The No. 8 Denver Nuggets, with no real star players, ruined that for them real quick. The Nuggets had a 42-40 record and lost Games 1 and 2, but once the games moved into their territory in Denver, the story changed completely. The Nuggets won their next two games, Game 4 in overtime, and went back to Seattle to win in another overtime upset in Game 5, with Denver winning 98-94 over Seattle. It was the first time in NBA history that a No. 8 seed beat a No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

1999 - New York Knicks upset Miami Heat in first round of playoffs

The 1999 New York Knicks were another No. 8 seed and had only won 27 games in the regular season. They faced the No. 1 Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs and it went to an intense Game 5. With less than a second left in the game, the Knicks took the lead by a point and Terry Porter tried to take it back with a longe-range jump-shot, but missed. The Knicks upset the No. 1 seed and then went on to reach the NBA Finals, which they lost to the Spurs, but are still to this day, the only No. 8 seed to ever reach the NBA Finals.

2004 - Detroit Pistons upset Los Angeles Lakers in NBA Finals

In 2004, the Lakers were one of the best teams in the league, with three championships in the previous four seasons and several star players including Shaquille O’Neal and Gary Payton. Going into the NBA Finals, the Pistons were huge underdogs, but were in total control the whole series. They went on to beat the Lakers in four games and end the Lakers’ championship dynasty until 2009.

2007 - Golden State Warriors upset Dallas Mavericks in first round of playoffs

The 2007 Dallas Mavericks, with star forward Dirk Nowitzki, finished the season with a 67-15 record and as the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. They faced the No. 8 Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs, a team who barely made it into the postseason, with just two games over .500. They should have easily beaten the Warriors and they were the favorites to win the championship for what would be the first time in Mavs history. Instead, the 42-40 Warriors trumped Dallas in six games, continuing to be their Achilles heel that year - they had lost five of their last six games against them in the regular season.

2011 - Memphis Grizzlies upset San Antonio Spurs in first round of playoffs

The No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies were one of the biggest underdog teams to ever enter the playoffs. They’d never won a playoff game before 2011, but that would change that year. In the first round of the playoffs, they were up against the No. 1 San Antonio Spurs. In six games, the Grizzlies, with Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol, were able to outplay the Spurs and prove to everyone that they were better than they were given credit for.