2005: There was simply a lack of quality contenders and the San Antonio Spurs were just too good for the rest of the league. Their dedication to defense and Tim Duncan’s brilliance allowed them to win two championships during this period of time and 4 within a 9 year span. The most notable performance of the Spurs’ championship run came in Game 5 of the Finals vs the Pistons. Robert Horry came through with likely his most amazing clutch performance as he scored 21 points off the bench without scoring until the final play of the 3rd quarter. His medley of 3-pointers and his left-handed poster dunk in the final minutes of the game sealed the deal and gave the Spurs a 3-2 lead in the series. Without Horry’s spectacular play, there’s no doubt Detroit could have captured back-to-back titles.
2006: The Miami Heat rode Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal to a victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Wade was generously awarded an average of over 16 free throws attempts per game. If the refs hadn’t been so eager to call so many touch fouls in the NBA that series, the Mavs could have easily won the championship (they won the first two games).
2007: The Spurs lucked out in their Western Conference Finals series vs the Suns. Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw were both suspended for game 5 for leaving the bench during a minor on-court altercation. That’s basically like losing Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom for a crucial playoff game, no wonder Phoenix fans were upset. If Amare and Boris Diaw hadn’t been suspended, it’s possible the Suns could have gone on to win the championship that year.