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How the West Is Won: 3 Teams in 13 Years

Anthony RizzutiSenior Analyst IIIOctober 26, 2016

How the West Is Won: 3 Teams in 13 Years

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Dirk Nowitzki #41 and the Dallas Mavericks celebrate their 100-96 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on May 25, 2011 in Dal
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The Dallas Mavericks capped off their steamroll of the Western Conference against the Thunder Wednesday night. The win bumped up their playoff record to an outstanding 12-3 and are on the way to their Finals for the first time since 2006.

    The Dallas victory also marks the dominance of the West by themselves, the Los Angeles Lakers, and the San Antonio Spurs over the last 13 seasons. That's right, only three different teams from the Western Conference have reached the finals in the past 13 years.

    Here's a slideshow of each teams that came out of the West since 1999.

1999 San Antonio Spurs

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    9 Nov 1999: David Robinson #50 of the San Antonio Spurs walks on the court with teammate Tim Duncan #21during a game against the Golden State Warriors at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Spurs defeated the Warriors 118-89.  Mandatory Credi
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 37-11

    Head Coach: Gregg Popovich

    Points Per Game: 92.8

    Opponent Points Per Game: 84.7

    Scoring Leader: Tim Duncan (21.7 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Avery Johnson (7.4 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Tim Duncan (11.4 RPG)

    In a lockout shortened season, the '99 Spurs dominated the field on their way to the franchise's first NBA championship. Behind the Twin Towers, (Tim Duncan and David Robinson) San Antonio defeated the New York Knicks 4-1 in the Finals.

2000 Los Angeles Lakers

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    19 Jun 2000:  Kobe Bryant #8 and Shaquille O''Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after winning the NBA Finals Game 6 against the Indiana Pacers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Lakers defeated the Pacers in 116-111.  NOTE T
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 67-15

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 100.8

    Opponent Points Per Game: 92.3

    Scoring Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (29.7 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Kobe Bryant (4.9 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (13.9 RPG)

    With as new millennium came a new dynasty. Shaq, Kobe and the Lakers began their famed three-peat in 2000 with their NBA Finals victory over the Indiana Pacers in six games. 

2001 Los Angeles Lakers

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    13 Jun 2001:  Shaquille O''Neal of the Los Angeles Lakers receives a high-five from teammate Kobe Bryant #8 during Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Philadelphia 76ers at the First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.   DIGITAL IMAGE Mandatory C
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 56-26

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 100.6

    Opponent Points Per Game: 97.2

    Scoring Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (28.7 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Kobe Bryant (5.0 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (12.7 RPG)

    Once again, the power of Los Angeles proved to be too much to handle. Behind Shaq's second NBA Finals MVP performance, the Lakers defeated Allen Iverson and the 76ers in five games en route to a repeat.

2002 Los Angeles Lakers

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 12: Kobe Bryant #8 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Larry O'Brien trophy after defeating the New Jersey Nets in Game four of the 2002 NBA Finals at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey on June 12, 2002. T
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 58-24

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 101.3

    Opponent Points Per Game: 94.1

    Scoring Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (27.0 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Kobe Bryant (5.5 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (10.7 RPG)

    Three years, three titles. It wasn't new for the "Zen Master" Phil Jackson but it was still an unbelievable feat. The three-peat saw the Lakers sweeping the New Jersey Nets and winning their 14th franchise title. 

2003 San Antonio Spurs

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    SAN ANTONIO, TX - JUNE 15:  Tim Duncan #21 and David Robinson #50 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate after winning Game six of the 2003 NBA Finals against the New Jersey Nets on June 15, 2003 at the SBC Center in San Antonio, Texas.  The Spurs won 88-77 a
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 60-22

    Head Coach: Gregg Popovich

    Points Per Game: 95.8

    Opponent Points Per Game: 90.4

    Scoring Leader: Tim Duncan (23.3 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Tony Parker (5.3 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Tim Duncan (12.9 RPG)

    It was the last year for the Admiral David Robinson and the first year of a new dynasty. After taking care of the Nets in six games, the Spurs capped off their second championship in five seasons.

2004 Los Angeles Lakers

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    AUBURN HILLS, MI - JUNE 15:  Shaquille O'Neal #34 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on from the bench in the fourth quarter of game five of the 2004 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons on June 15, 2004 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michi
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 56-26

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 98.2

    Opponent Points Per Game: 94.3

    Scoring Leader: Kobe Bryant (24.0 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Gary Payton (5.5 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Shaquille O'Neal (11.5 RPG)

    It seemed inevitable that year. Kobe, Shaq, Malone and Payton? How could you lose?

    Well, they did. It was an embarrassing series for the Lakers as they fell to the determined Pistons in just five games. This series would mark the end of the Shaq-Kobe era and usher in a difficult but short period of frustration for the Lakers organization.  

2005 San Antonio Spurs

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    SAN ANTONIO - JUNE 23:  Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrates with the Finals MVP Trophy and the Larry O'Brien Trophy after defeating the Detroit Pistons in Game seven of the 2005 NBA Finals at SBC Center on June 23, 2005 in San Antonio, Texa
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 59-23

    Head Coach: Gregg Popovich

    Points Per Game: 96.2

    Opponent Points Per Game: 88.4

    Scoring Leader: Tim Duncan (20.3 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Tony Parker (6.1 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Tim Duncan (11.1 RPG)

    After a tough seven-game series against the defending champion Detroit Pistons, the Spurs came out victorious. Tim Duncan captured the Finals MVP honors for the third time and led San Antonio to their third title in franchise history.

2006 Dallas Mavericks

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    DALLAS - JUNE 20:  Owner Mark Cuban and Darrell Armstrong #10 of the Dallas Mavericks watch the final moments of the Mavericks loss to the Miami Heat in game six of the 2006 NBA Finals on June 20, 2006 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.  The He
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 60-22

    Head Coach: Avery Johnson

    Points Per Game: 99.1

    Opponent Points Per Game: 93.1

    Scoring Leader: Dirk Nowitzki (26.6 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Jason Terry (3.8 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Dirk Nowitzki (9.0 RPG)

    Okay, Dallas fans, close your eyes for this one.

    In their first Finals appearance in franchise history, the Mavs stormed out to a 2-0 lead over the Miami Heat. However, Heat superstar Dwyane Wade put the team on his back and led Miami to four straight wins en route to their first NBA title. Dallas was the third team in NBA history to lose the Finals after winning the first two games of the series.

2007 San Antonio Spurs

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    CLEVELAND - JUNE 14:  Tony Parker #9 and Head Coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs celebrates after the win in Game Four of the NBA Finals on June 14, 2007 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges a
    Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 58-24

    Head Coach: Gregg Popovich

    Points Per Game: 98.5

    Opponent Points Per Game: 90.1

    Scoring Leader: Tim Duncan (20.0 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Tony Parker (5.5 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Tim Duncan (10.6 RPG)

    In the easiest Finals series in franchise history, the San Antonio Spurs romped over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in four games. This title marked the Spurs' third title in five seasons. 

2008 Los Angeles Lakers

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    BOSTON - JUNE 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 and Derek Fisher #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers walk to the bench as the Lakers trail the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 17, 2008 at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: Us
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 57-25

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 108.6

    Opponent Points Per Game: 101.3

    Scoring Leader: Kobe Bryant (28.3 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Kobe Bryant (5.4 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Lamar Odom (10.6 RPG)

    In the early stages of the 2007-08 season, the Lakers looked to be a legit contender for the Western Conference title. However, the ever-so-famous Pau Gasol trade turned them into an instant favorite. Unfortunately, they ran into a driven Boston Celtics squad in the '08 Finals and dropped the series in six games.

2009 Los Angeles Lakers

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    ORLANDO, FL - JUNE 14:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers holds the Bill Russell MVP trophy and the Larry O'Brien trophy after defeating the Orlando Magic in Game Five of the 2009 NBA Finals on June 14, 2009 at Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. The
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 65-17

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 106.9

    Opponent Points Per Game: 99.3

    Scoring Leader: Kobe Bryant (26.8 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Kobe Bryant (4.9 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Pau Gasol (9.6 RPG)

    The Lakers didn't have to wait too long to get that bad taste of 2008 out of their mouths. In their second Finals appearance in as many years, Kobe Bryant and Lakers took care of the Orlando Magic in five games and took home the franchise's 15th title. These Finals marked Kobe's first Finals MVP honors and Phil Jackson's record-breaking 10th NBA title as a head coach.


2010 Los Angeles Lakers

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    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 17:  Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates after the Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 57-25

    Head Coach: Phil Jackson

    Points Per Game: 101.7

    Opponent Points Per Game: 97.0

    Scoring Leader: Kobe Bryant (27.0 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Kobe Bryant (5.0 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Pau Gasol (11.3 RPG)

    The 2010 season was quite majestic for the guys in purple and gold. They won their second straight NBA Finals and defeated the Boston Celtics to boot. In an exhilarating seven-game set, Kobe and the Lakers edged the Celtics and took home the franchise's 16th title.


2011 Dallas Mavericks

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    DALLAS, TX - MAY 25:  Dirk Nowitzki #41, Jason Terry #31 and the Dallas Mavericks celebrate their 100-96 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game Five of the Western Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center on Ma
    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Regular Season Record: 57-25

    Head Coach: Rick Carlisle

    Points Per Game: 100.2

    Opponent Points Per Game: 96.0

    Scoring Leader: Dirk Nowitzki (23.0 PPG)

    Assist Leader: Jason Kidd (8.2 APG)

    Rebound Leader: Tyson Chandler (9.4 RPG)

    So here we sit with the Mavs back atop the West. Their incredible performance and their 12-3 playoff record leading up to the Finals is impressive to say the least, but can they continue the success?

    Can we see Dirk lead the Mavericks to their first NBA title?

    Will other veterans such as Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Terry finally get a ring?

    And will Mark Cuban finally shut his mouth if the Mavs win?

    We shall see.

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