When the Warriors and the Cavaliers tip off the NBA Finals on June 1 for a third consecutive season, many are expecting an epic battle between the league's foremost superteams. But as history has proven time and again, the matchup might have trouble living up to the considerable hype.
Here's a look at nine of the most disappointing Finals in NBA history -- series that simply didn't come close to meeting expectations.
1999: San Antonio Spurs in 5 over the New York Knicks
The 1999 NBA season was a disaster overall, thanks to a lockout that delayed its start until Feb. 5. The league crammed 50 games into a tight window, with many players out of shape and plenty of teams mailing it in.
The Finals were an accurate representation of this odd turn of events. The Knicks made it in as an 8-seed in the East, but Patrick Ewing was lost with an Achilles injury in the second game of the conference finals, and the Spurs won their first NBA title under some unquestionably dubious circumstances.
2004: Detroit Pistons in 5 over the Los Angeles Lakers
Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant were joined by Karl Malone and Gary Payton in advance of the 2003-04 season, but a Pistons team devoid of superstars took down the Lakers in a relatively uneventful five games.
Detroit's stifling defense held L.A. under 90 points in all four of the Pistons' victories, and the Lakers didn't feed O'Neal the ball nearly enough as Bryant launched heavily contested long jumpers over the outstrectched arms of Tayshaun Prince and finished shooting just 38.1 percent from the field in the series while leading his team in shot attempts.
2015: Golden State Warriors in 6 over the Cleveland Cavaliers
Although this one went six games thanks to LeBron and the Cavaliers winning two out of the first three in the series, once the Warriors inserted Andre Iguodala into the starting lineup, the rest of the series was a wrap.
Kevin Love was lost to a shoulder injury in the first round against the Celtics, and Kyrie Irving went down with a knee injury in Game 1 of the Finals. The Warriors were worthy champions that year, but we would have loved to see Golden State have to beat the Cavaliers when Cleveland was at full strength.
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2001: Los Angeles Lakers in 5 over the Philadelphia 76ers
Despite this Lakers' mini-dynasty being at the height of its powers in 2001, the Sixers came into the Finals that season with the MVP (Allen Iverson), Defensive Player of the Year (Dikembe Mutombo), Sixth Man of the Year (Aaron McKie) and Coach of the Year (Larry Brown) all in place.
That wasn't enough to prevent L.A. from steamrolling Philly in five games, and it arguably could have been four if not for Iverson's Game 1 heroics. That loss, by the way, was the only one suffered by the Lakers in the entire 2001 postseason.
2007: San Antonio Spurs sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers
This was LeBron's first trip to the Finals, and San Antonio made sure it would be quick and painless. It was a low-scoring, defensive-oriented affair in which Cleveland's second-leading scorers behind James were Drew Gooden and Daniel Gibson, who averaged 12.8 and 10.8 points respectively for the series.
No wonder it was a sweep.
1995: Houston Rockets sweep the Orlando Magic
The Rockets were the defending champs but entered the playoffs as a 6-seed while the Magic were young and fun with Shaquille O'Neal and Anfernee Hardaway leading the charge.
Hakeem Olajuwon was dominant on both ends of the floor, however, and a deeper Houston team came away with the four-game sweep.
2009: Los Angeles Lakers in 5 over the Orlando Magic
The games were close after L.A.'s blowout win in Game 1, but the matchup was underwhelming considering what could have been.
This was perhaps the best opportunity for us to get Kobe Bryant facing LeBron James in a seven-game series with a championship at stake, yet a Cavaliers team with Mo Williams and Delonte West as its next-best scorers behind James was unable to get past an Orlando squad that featured Dwight Howard surrounded by a deadly array of shooters in the Eastern Conference finals.
1989: Detroit Pistons sweep the Los Angeles Lakers
The 1988 Finals were an epic battle between these same two teams that required all seven games to be decided. The rematch was anything but.
Byron Scott suffered a hamstring injury in practice before Game 1 and didn't play the entire series. Magic Johnson hobbled through the first two games with a similar concern before sitting out the bulk of Game 3 and all of Game 4 as the Bad Boys Pistons earned the franchise its first NBA title.
2014: San Antonio Spurs over the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5
The Spurs lost the 2013 championship in the most crushing way possible, thanks to an improbable corner three from Ray Allen splashing home in the closing seconds of regulation in Game 6. The Heat won that game in overtime and prevailed in Game 7 to steal what should have been San Antonio's title.
A year later, the Spurs got revenge -- and absolutely destroyed Miami along the way.
A series we all hoped would be competitive wasn't anything close to that. San Antonio played some of the best team offensive basketball the league has ever seen and won the final three games of the series by an average of 19 points.
The beating was so severe that LeBron left Miami for Cleveland in free agency that summer.