All-time NBA/ABA tournament of champions: Part II

Opening rounds
By Cort Reynolds

Twenty-eight championship teams remain out of the original field of 38 after 10 very competitive series were completed in first round play.
In seven of those 10 series, the higher-seeded team survived, with the biggest upset being the 1973 ABA champion Indiana Pacers edging the 1979 Seattle SuperSonics in seven close, physical contests.

Eight teams are still alive in the 1970s bracket, as well as eight more in the 1950s/60s division. Four squads were knocked out in each of those brackets during opening round play, while the top four clubs in both received byes.

With less teams in the 1980s and 1990s brackets, four teams apiece are still waiting and preparing to play in those divisions in the next round. Four teams also remain in the 2000s bracket after one round of action, where the higher seed won each series.

The Celtics have five teams (2008, 1986, 1974, 1963, 1957) left in the field and the Lakers boast four (2000, 1987, 1972, 1954) among the final 28.

Read Part I here

First Round Results (all series best of 7)
Seed, title year and team with season record, playoff record and head coach listed in parentheses

All-time NBA/ABA Tournament of Champions

2000-Present bracket 1st round
#1 seed 2000 Los Angeles Lakers (67-15, 15-8, Phil Jackson)
Key players: S. O'Neal, K. Bryant, G. Rice, D. Fisher
#8 seed 2006 Miami Heat (52-30, 16-7, Pat Riley)
Key players: D. Wade, S. O'Neal, U. Haslem, J. Williams

Recap-The Lakers' younger O'Neal of 2000 overpowered the aging Shaq of the Heat in 2006, Bryant and Wade cancelled each other out and sharpshooting Glen Rice was the x factor who led LA to a surprisingly easy 4-1 series victory. With Wade negated and O'Neal lumbering, offensively-challenged Miami's only win came in game three at home. The Lakers all but clinched the series by winning game four in south Florida before closing it out in the Staples Center on a running bank three from out top just before the buzzer by Bryant over a flailing but shorter Wade.

Result: 4-1, LA
Series MVP-Glen Rice, 23.2 ppg, 14-24 3-pointers

#2 seed 2013 Miami Heat (66-16, 16-7, Erik Spoelstra)
Key players: L. James, D. Wade, C. Bosh, M. Chalmers
#7 seed 2004 Detroit Pistons (54-28, 16-7, Larry Brown)
Key players: C. Billups, R. Hamilton, B. Wallace, R. Wallace

Series recap-Piston point guard Chauncey Billups gave the Heat trouble early as he took advantage of Mario Chalmers. After losing game two to even the series, Miami moved James onto Billups and he contained the Detroit playmaker. The Pistons fell behind 3-1 then upset the Heat in Miami as Rip Hamilton scored 29 and Ben Wallace pulled down 21 rebounds to extend the series. But Miami came back to end it in the Palace as James took over and the Piston office misfired.

Result: 4-2, Miami
Series MVP-LeBron James, 24 ppg, 8.2 rebs, 7.5 assists

#3 seed 2008 Boston Celtics (66-16, 16-10, Doc Rivers)
Key players: P. Pierce, K. Garnett, R. Allen, R. Rondo
#6 seed 2010 Los Angeles Lakers (57-25, 16-7, Phil Jackson)
Key players: K. Bryant, P. Gasol, A. Bynum, R. Artest

Series recap-The Celtics got a chance to avenge their gut-wrenching seventh game loss at LA in 2010 and made the most of it with a seven-game victory of their own. With a healthy Kendrick Perkins inside, Boston played more physical, its interior defense was tougher and they were able to keep the Laker twin towers off the boards, which is what won LA the 2010 title. Bryant led a late Laker rally in game seven by scoring 21 straight points, but Paul Pierce nailed a clutch step-back 20-footer to put Boston up in the seventh game, 112-109. Bryant tried to draw a foul by driving the lane and hurling himself into the defense, but Garnett avoided him and smothered the ball to seal the victory as Kobe pleaded for a call, to no avail. Ron Artest missed two ill-advised late triple tries, then blamed his psychologist in the post-game interview.

Result: 4-3, Boston
Series MVP-Paul Pierce, 21.8 ppg, 7 rebs, 3 assists, tough defense

#4 seed 2007 San Antonio Spurs (58-24, 16-4, Gregg Popovich)
Key players: T. Duncan, M. Ginobili, T. Parker, B. Bowen
#5 seed 2011 Dallas Mavericks (57-25, 16-5, Rick Carlisle)
Key players: D. Nowitzki, J. Kidd, T. Chandler, S. Marion

Series recap-This heated battle of Texas rivalry went down to the wire as expected. The teams alternated wins throughout the series, with SA winning games 1, 3 and 5 behind its big three while Dallas took 2, 4 and 6 as Tyson Chandler neutralized Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki scored over 30 ppg. In game 7 Nowitzki canned a three-pointer near the end of regulation to force overtime. The clutch Manu Ginobili's driving layup put the Spurs in front by a point late in OT, and then the Spurs doubled the big German to force another Mav to beat them. Jason Kidd missed an open shot, Duncan rebounded and Tony Parker splashed a pair of foul shots for a three-point lead. Dirk's desperation three at the buzzer rimmed out from 33 feet, allowing the Spurs to survive and advance as their backcourt dominated the Mav guards.

Result: 4-3, San Antonio
Series MVP-Manu Ginobili 17.8 ppg, 4 rebs, 7.2 assists

2000s bracket 2nd round pairings

#1 seed 2000 Los Angeles Lakers (67-15, 15-8, Phil Jackson)
Starters: S. O'Neal, K. Bryant, G. Rice, AC Green, R. Harper
Key reserves: R. Fox, R. Horry, B. Shaw, D. Fisher
#4 seed 2007 San Antonio Spurs (58-24, 16-4, Gregg Popovich)
Starters: T. Duncan, M. Ginobili, T. Parker, B. Bowen, F. Oberto
Key reserves: B. Barry, M. Finley, F. Elson, R. Horry, B. Udrih

#3 seed 2008 Boston Celtics (66-16, 16-10, Doc Rivers)
Starters: P. Pierce, K. Garnett, R. Allen, R. Rondo, K. Perkins
Key reserves: J. Posey, T. Allen, E. House, G. Davis, L. Powe
#2 seed 2013 Miami Heat (66-16, 16-7, Erik Spoelstra)
Starters: L. James, D. Wade, C. Bosh, M. Chalmers, U. Haslem
Key reserves: R. Allen, M. Miller, C. Andersen, S. Battier

1970s bracket results: Top 4 seeds received 1st round byes

#5 seed 1979 Seattle SuperSonics (52-30, 12-5, Lenny Wilkens)
Key players: D. Johnson, J. Sikma, G. Williams, L. Shelton
lost to
#12 seed ABA 1973 Indiana Pacers (51-33, 12-6, Bob Leonard)
Key players: G. McGinnis, M. Daniels, R. Brown, F. Lewis

Series recap-The first mild upset of the tournament was recorded by the ABA champion Pacers over the Sonics in a tight seven-game series. Both teams boasted deep backcourts that supplied much of their offense. But it was the rebounding of McGinnis and Mel Daniels, and the outside shooting of small forward Roger Brown and the Pacer guards that made the difference.

Second-year Sonic big man Jack Sikma and Daniels offset one another inside while power forward musclemen George McGinnis and Lonnie Shelton duked it out, with Big George gaining the upper hand.

Indiana three-point bomber Billy Keller thought he had won the series in game six with a 50-footer at the buzzer, but his shot was ruled just after the horn, and the Sonics staved off elimination in overtime as Dennis Johnson blocked a shot by Freddie Loewis at the buzzer that would have tied it, 114-112.

But DJ, normally a clutch player, went scoreless from the field in the seventh game and backcourt mate Gus Williams also went cold. With Seattle's flat-shooting forward John Johnson also struggling from the field, the better-shooting Pacers took advantage and won the clincher on the road despite some late shooting heroics by Sonic sixth man "Downtown" Freddie Brown, 105-99.

Result: 4-3, Indiana
Series MVP-George McGinnis 20.2 ppg, 17 rebs

#6 seed 1977 Portland TrailBlazers vs. (49-33, 14-5, Jack Ramsay)
Key players: B. Walton, M. Lucas, L. Hollins, B. Gross
#11 seed ABA 1974 New York Nets (55-29, 12-2, Kevin Loughery)
Key players: J. Erving, L. Kenon, B. Paultz, J. Williamson

Series recap-Bill Walton, who shot 21-22 in the 1973 NCAA finals for UCLA vs. Memphis and Larry Kenon, equaled that showing in the clincher with a near quadruple-double in the game six clincher against Kenon and Julius Erving. The high-flying forward duo of Dr. J and Mr. K knocked off the Blazers in the first two games before Portland came roaring back to take the next three games by an average of 20 ppg. Big Red scored 20 points, grabbed 23 boards, dished out 11 assists and blocked eight shots in the 109-107 game six triumph.

Bruising but soft-shooting Blazer power forward Maurice Lucas led all scorers with 27 points and slugged Billy "the Whopper" Paultz by accident in a brawl when he swung at muscular Net guard "Super" John Williamson. Erving missed a foul line jumper that would have tied game six in the final seconds after Walton rushed out at him to contest and alter the 15-footer. Big Bill hustled back to the hoop and influenced Kenon to miss the putback, then back-tapped the rebound out near halfcourt as time expired. Underrated Portland small forward Bob Gross shot 67 percent from the floor in the final four wins, consistently beating the gambling Erving on back cuts to net easy baskets from the slick passes of Walton.

Results: 4-2, Portland
Series MVP-Bill Walton 18.5 ppg, 15.5 rebs, 5.5 assists, 4 blocks

#7 seed 1975 Golden State Warriors (48-34, 12-5, Al Attles)
Key players: R. Barry, K. Wilkes, P. Smith, C. Ray
#10 seed ABA 1971 Utah Stars (57-27, 12-6, Bill Sharman)
Key players: Z. Beaty, W. Wise, R. Boone, R. Robbins

Series recap-Underrated Utah defensive ace forward Willie Wise held Rick Barry in check for much of the series, holding him to 15 ppg and 37% shooting from the field as the Stars edged ahead 3-2. Physical centers Zelmo Beaty and Clifford Ray traded elbows throughout the series while the Star backcourt of Ron Boone, Mervin Jackson, Donnie Freeman and Glen Combs outplayed the Warrior guards early. But Barry broke out of his slump and exploded for 36 points in game six to pull off a 96-82 win before an upset-hungry crowd in Utah. Then with the Warriors trailing by six heading into the final period of game seven, Rick scored 10 in a row and tossed in 24 total to give Golden State the series win, 93-89. In doing so, he defeated his former coach Bill Sharman, who took the Warriors to the 1967 Finals in Barry's second season. Shooting underhanded, Barry made 38 of his 39 foul shots in the seven games. Warrior rookie forward Keith (later Jamaal) Wilkes added 27 points and underrated guard Phil Smith netted 25 in the series finale to offset the deep Utah backcourt. Overall Warrior depth also helped wear down the feisty Stars, who nearly pulled off the upset before falling 103-99 in game seven at Oakland. Beaty became the only player from a losing team to earn MVP honors in a series during the first round.

Result: 4-3, Golden State
Series MVP-Zelmo Beaty, 21.8 ppg, 16.2 rebounds

#8 seed 1978 Washington Bullets (44-38, 14-7, Dick Motta)
Key players: E. Hayes, W. Unseld, B. Dandridge, K. Grevey
lost to
#9 seed ABA 1975 Kentucky Colonels (58-26, 13-3, Hubie Brown)
Key players: A. Gilmore, D. Issel, L. Dampier, B. Averitt

Series recap-The battle of the great frontlines - the powerful Bullet foursome of 6-7 Unseld, 6-9 Hayes, 6-6 Dandridge and 6-10 6th man Mitch Kupchak vs. high-scoring 7-2 Colonel center Artis Gilmore and 6-9 sharpshooter Dan Issel - was a wash as the frontcourts basically negated one another. Issel and Gilmore combined for 55 points and 29 rebounds a game, while the Bullet quartet tallied 63 points and 41 boards per contest. But better perimeter shooting by the Colonels spelled the difference.

With the three-point line in effect for games at Louisville's Freedom Hall, the Colonels won big in all three home contests and then took game seven in an upset at the Capital Centre.

Diminutive Kentucky playmaker Louie Dampier, the all-time ABA points and assists leader, shot Kentucky to the series win from beyond the arc. He and Issel hit on a combined 22 treys in the series, while the Bullet team hit only four, three by Kentucky alum Kevin Grevey. Dampier outscored offensively-challenged Bullet counterpart Tom Henderson 27 to six in the decisive seventh game as the Colonels won, 110-105.

Result: 4-3, Kentucky
Series MVP-Louie Dampier 21.2 ppg, 7.8 assists, 14-33 3-pointers

1970s bracket 2nd round pairings
#1 seed 1972 Los Angeles Lakers (69-13, 12-3, Bill Sharman)
Starters: J. West, G. Goodrich, W. Chamberlain, J. McMillian, H. Hairston Key reserves: F. Robinson, P. Riley, L. Ellis
#9 seed ABA 1975 Kentucky Colonels (58-26, 13-3, Hubie Brown)
Starters: A. Gilmore, D. Issel, L. Dampier, W. Jones, B. Averitt
Key reserves: T. McClain, M. Roberts

#2 seed 1971 Milwaukee Bucks (66-16, 12-2, Larry Costello)
Starters: L. Alcindor (Jabbar), O. Robertson, B. Dandridge, J. McGlocklin, G. Smith Key reserves: L. Allen, B. Boozer
#7 seed 1975 Golden State Warriors (48-34, 12-5, Al Attles)
Starters: R. Barry, K. Wilkes, P. Smith, C. Ray, B. Beard
Key reserves: C. Johnson, D. Dickey, J. Mullins, G. Johnson

#3 seed 1973 New York Knicks (57-25, 12-5, Red Holzman)
Starters: W. Frazier, D. DeBusschere, W. Reed, E. Monroe, B. Bradley.
6th man: J. Lucas. Key reserves: P. Jackson, D. Meminger, D. Barnett
#6 seed 1977 Portland TrailBlazers (49-33, 14-5, Jack Ramsay)
Starters: B. Walton, M. Lucas, L. Hollins, B. Gross, D. Twardzik
6th man: J. Davis. Key reserves: L. Steele, L. Neal, H. Gilliam

#4 seed 1974 Boston Celtics (56-26, 12-6, Tom Heinsohn)
Starters: J. Havlicek, D. Cowens, J. White, P. Silas, D. Chaney
6th man: Don Nelson. Key reserves: P. Westphal, S. Kuberski
#12 seed ABA 1973 Indiana Pacers (51-33, 12-6, Bob "Slick" Leonard)
Starters: M. Daniels, G. McGinnis, R. Brown, D. Freeman, F. Lewis. 6th man: Billy Keller. Key reserves: D. Buse, D. Hillman, G. Johnson

1950s/'60s bracket: Top 6 seeds got 1st round byes

#7 seed ABA 1969 Oakland Oaks (60-18, 11-4, Alex Hannum)
Key players: R. Barry, W. Jabali, D. Moe, L. Brown
#10 seed 1951 Rochester Royals (41-27, 10-5, Les Harrison)
Key players: B. Davies, B. Wanzer, A. Risen, J. Coleman

Series recap-The series was billed as a shootout between Hall of Fame forward Rick Barry and the great Royal backcourt of Bob Davies and Bobby Wanzer, but the superior depth, balance and athleticism of the Oaks made the difference. Five Oaks averaged in double digits, led by Barry. Intimidating swingman Warren Armstrong (Jabali), supersub Gary Bradds, and best friends/future coaches Doug Moe and Larry Brown each scored between 11 and 18 ppg as the Oaks won the first three games. The plucky Royals rallied to take the next two behind their sharpshooting guards and center Arnie Risen. But Oakland took game six as Barry showed off his passing skills to involve his more talented supporting cast. Rick doled out 11 assists and scored 22 points to pace the Oaks to a 107-99 game six win and help offset 38 combined points by Davies and Wanzer.

Result: 4-2, Oakland
Series MVP-Rick Barry 28 ppg, 8 rebs, 6 assists

#9 seed 1955 Syracuse Nationals (43-29, 7-4, Al Cervi)
Key players: D. Schayes, P. Seymour, R. Rocha, J. Kerr
#8 seed ABA 1968 Pittsburgh Pipers (54-24, 11-4, Vince Cazzetta)
Key players: C. Hawkins, A. Heyman, T. Washington, C. Williams

Series recap-This seesaw series went down to the last second of game seven. Connie Hawkins, unfairly banned from the NBA until 1969, helped Pittsburgh to a 3-2 lead as the 6-8 forward-center was unstoppable on the boards and in transition. But the wild and inaccurate three-point shooting of the undisciplined Piper guards helped the Nationals claw back into the series. Red Kerr's spectacular passing led Syracuse to a big home win in game six to even the series. In game seven, the Pittsburgh backcourt of WIlliams and Vaughn combined to shoot one of 16 from beyond the arc while ambidextrous Hall of Fame forward Dolph Schayes was valiant with 26 points despite playing with a cast on his broken wrist. After a Hawkins basket in the waning seconds put the Pipers ahead 117-116, Schayes was fouled just before the buzzer by Art Heyman on a drive into the lane. A career 85 percent free throw marksman and three-time NBA foul shooting leader, Schayes canned both shots calmly despite the roaring crowd's best efforts to distract him, advancing the Nationals to the second round.

Result: 4-3, Syracuse
Series co-MVPs-Connie Hawkins/Dolph Schayes
Hawkins 24.4 ppg, 13 rebs; Schayes 21 ppg, 14 rebs

1950s/60s 2nd round pairings
#1 seed 1967 Philadelphia 76ers (68-13, 11-4, Alex Hannum)
Starters: W. Chamberlain, H. Greer, W. Jones, C. Walker, L. Jackson
6th man: B. Cunningham. Key reserves: D. Gambee, M. Guokas, L. Costello
#9 seed 1955 Syracuse Nationals (43-29, 7-4, Al Cervi)
Starters: D. Schayes, P. Seymour, R. Rocha, J. Kerr, E. Lloyd
Key reserves: G. King, D. Farley

#2 seed 1963 Boston Celtics (58-22, 8-5, Red Auerbach)
Starters: B. Russell, B. Cousy, S. Jones, T. Heinsohn, T. Sanders
Key reserves: J. Havlicek, F. Ramsey, KC Jones, C. Lovellette
#7 seed 1969 Oakland Oaks (60-18, 11-4, Alex Hannum)
Starters: R. Barry, W. Jabali, D. Moe, L. Brown, I. Harge
Key reserves: G. Bradds, J. Eakins

#3 seed 1954 Minneapolis Lakers (46-26, 6-4, John Kundla)
Starters: G. Mikan, J. Pollard, S. Martin, V. Mikkelsen, W. Skoog
Key reserves: C. Lovellette, P. Saul, D. Schnittker
#6 seed 1958 St. Louis Hawks (41-31, 8-3, Alex Hannum)
Starters: B. Pettit, E. Macauley, C. Hagan, S. Martin, J. McMahon
Key reserves: C. Share, J. Coleman, W. Wilfong

#4 seed 1956 Philadelphia Warriors (45-27, 7-3, George Senesky)
Starters: P. Arizin, N. Johnston, T. Gola, J. George, J. Grabowski
Key reserves: G. Dempsey, E. Beck
#5 seed 1957 Boston Celtics (44-28, 7-3, Red Auerbach)
Starters: B. Russell, B. Cousy, T. Heinsohn, B. Sharman, J. Loscutoff
6th man: F. Ramsey. Key reserves: A. Phillip, A. Risen, D. Hemric

1990s bracket pairings
#1 seed 1996 Chicago Bulls (72-10, 15-3, Phil Jackson)
Starters: M. Jordan, S. Pippen, D. Rodman, L. Longley, R. Harper
6th man: T. Kukoc. Key reserves: S. Kerr, B. Wennington, J. Buechler
#4 seed 1995 Houston Rockets (47-35, 15-7, Rudy Tomjanovich)
Starters: H. Olajuwon, C. Drexler, O. Thorpe, R. Horry, K. Smith
Key reserves: S. Cassell, M. Elie, C. Herrera

#2 seed 1999 San Antonio Spurs (37-13, 15-2, Gregg Popovich)
Starters: D. Robinson, T. Duncan, S. Elliott, A. Johnson, M. Elie
Key reserves: S. Kerr, M. Rose, A. Daniels, J. Jackson
#3 seed 1990 Detroit Pistons (59-23, 15-5, Chuck Daly)
Starters: I. Thomas, J. Dumars, B. Laimbeer, M. Aguirre, J. Edwards
6th man: V. Johnson. Key reserves: D. Rodman, J. Salley

1980s bracket pairings
#1 seed 1986 Boston Celtics (67-15, 15-3, K.C. Jones)
Starters: L. Bird, K. McHale, D. Johnson, R. Parish, D. Ainge
6th man: B. Walton. Key reserves: S. Wedman, J. Sichting
#4 seed 1989 Detroit Pistons (63-19, 15-2, Chuck Daly)
Starters: I. Thomas, J. Dumars, B. Laimbeer, M. Aguirre, R. Mahorn
6th man: V. Johnson. Key reserves: D. Rodman, J. Salley, J. Edwards

#2 seed 1987 Los Angeles Lakers (65-17, 15-2, Pat Riley)
Starters: E. Johnson, K. A.-Jabbar, J. Worthy, B. Scott, AC Green
6th man: M. Cooper. Key reserves: M. Thompson, K. Rambis
#3 seed 1983 Philaelphia 76ers (65-17, 12-1, Billy Cunningham)
Starters: M. Malone, J. Erving, A. Toney, M. Cheeks, M. Iavaroni
6th man: B. Jones. Key reserves: C. Richardson, C. Johnson

Check back for more early round results and more detailed series recaps in the next installment of the series coming soon.