Warriors could join list of teams that flopped in playoffs
Despite finishing the regular season with a record-breaking 73 wins, the Golden State Warriors find themselves one game away from playoff elimination. Down 3-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals after a 118-94 road loss Tuesday night, the defending NBA champions will have to win three straight games to advance. Golden State would join a list of dominant regular season teams that were eliminated without reaching the finals. Teams like the undefeated 2007 Patriots, who lost after advancing to the Super Bowl, were not included.
NBA: 1993-94 Seattle SuperSonics
The Sonics had a league-best 63-19 record and the top seed in the West. Behind third-season head coach George Karl and All-Stars Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, Seattle scored an average of 105.9 points per game. With the retirement of Michael Jordan prior to the 1993-1994 season, the Sonics were a favorite to win the championship. Facing the Denver Nuggets and Hall of Famer Dikembe Mutombo in the first round, the Sonics lost in five games. The Nuggets were the first eight seed to win a playoff series. They lost to the Utah Jazz in the next round.
NHL: 1995-96 Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings finished with 62 wins and 131 points, breaking the regular season records set by the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. Under coach Scotty Bowman, the Red Wings had two separate streaks of nine wins and a 13-game unbeaten streak. Right wing Sergei Fedorov had a team-high 39 goals, followed by captain Steve Yzerman with 36. Colorado upset the Red Wings in six games in the conference finals, then went on to win the Stanley Cup.
NFL: 1998 Minnesota Vikings
The 15-1 Vikings earned the top spot in the NFC Central and were only the third team in NFL history to win 15 games. Minnesota broke the then scoring record with 556 points, led by quarterback Randall Cunningham, wide receiver Cris Carter and rookie wide receiver Randy Moss. Moss and Carter combined for 29 touchdowns and each had over 1,000 yards receiving. John Randle had 10.5 sacks and anchored a defense that allowed only 296 points in the regular season. The team lost 30-27 to the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC championship. Kicker Gary Anderson who had not missed a kick all season missed a 38-yard field goal that would have iced the game for the Vikings, who lost in overtime.
MLB: 2014 Los Angeles Angels
With a 98-64 record, the Angels were the best team in baseball during the 2014 regular season. Los Angeles was first in runs behind sluggers Mike Trout, Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols. The team also had starting pitcher Garrett Richards, but the Cy Young contender injured his knee in August and missed the remainder of the season. The Kansas City Royals stunned the Angels with a 3-0 sweep in the American League Division Series. Los Angeles' offense disappeared in the series, as the team batted just .170.
This story has been corrected to show that the Red Wings scored 131 points during the 1995-96 regular season.