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After Dirk Nowitzki missed a last second jumper in game five of the NBA finals last night, the Miami Heat moved one game closer to their goal of capturing their first NBA title. A goal that has eluded every NBA expansion team that was created after 1970. Now Miami is one win away from becoming the first modern era expansion team to win a title, and ironically enough, Dallas is only two wins away from capturing the same feat.
After the NBA’s “age of expansion” from 1966 to 1971, which brought eight new teams into the NBA, the league has only added nine teams from 1974-2005. (not included the ABA merger) Of those eight “age of expansion” teams, five of which have won titles, two(Bulls and Rockets) have won multiple titles, ands all except the Clippers and Cavaliers have at least made it to the NBA finals. The teams created since 1974 haven’t faired as well. Before this years finals, only two of the nine teams have made it to the NBA finals, and only one, the Utah Jazz, have been there more than once.
Both Miami and Dallas felt the stigma of being a modern era expansion team. Miami made the Eastern conference finals twice, before finally making it to the finals this year, losing in 97 to the eventual champion Chicago Bulls, and losing last year to the Detroit Pistons. Dallas made the conference finals in 87 against the Los Angeles Lakers, and had it not been for a hall-of-shame play by Derek Harper, Dallas might have been the first modern era expansion team to make the NBA finals. But as Harper dribbled out the clock, so to did the Lakers eventually dribble out the Mavericks. Dallas would make it back to the conference finals in 2003, but would lose in six to San Antonio. But now both teams are poised to make NBA history.
With the Series returning to Dallas for games six and possibly game seven, not many people even know what they are witnessing. To some NBA fans, this is a curse that was even less likely to end than the White sox wining the world series. But to others, including the casual fan, they didn’t even realize such a “curse” existed. But wether its Miami or Dallas who wins the title, the cure will be lifted.
Bran C Faurschou