Who won the 1999 NBA championship? Here is why the 1999 season was shortened to 50 games

During the 1998-99 National Basketball Association season, history was made. For the first time in the NBA, the regular season was shortened due to unforeseen disputes. The 1999 NBA Finals concluded the shortened season playoffs between the Western Conference champion, the San Antonio Spurs, and the Eastern Conference champion, the New York Knicks. 

The series was formatted in a 2-3-2 that resulted in the first two and last two games being hosted by the team with a home-court advantage. Eventually, the association reformed the Finals to a 2-2-1-1-1 game format. 

The Spurs held the home-court advantage as head coach Gregg Popovich led them, while coach Jeff Van Gundy managed the Knicks. The 1999 championship of more than two decades ago was the Knicks’ latest NBA Finals appearance. 

Who won the NBA championship in 1999?”

Game 1 of the series took place on June 16, 1999, and was won by the Spurs, 89-77, after forward Tim Duncan, scored 33 points. Two days later, the teams faced off again, with all-star player Duncan again leading his team to a dominating victory over the Knicks in Game 2, 80-67. Previously, neither of the teams had faced off against the other in the regular season, making the Finals the first televised game of 1999 between them. 


The San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks faced off in the 1999 NBA Finals.

The San Antonio Spurs and the New York Knicks faced off in the 1999 NBA Finals.
(Jennifer Pottheiser/NBA via AP)

In Game 3, the Knicks were triumphant over the Spurs, 89-81. Their first victory of the Finals was played to a sold-out crowd in Madison Square Garden. Shooting guard Allan Houston was the high scorer, with 34 points. 

Game 4 was close, but the Spurs ended up taking home the victory over the Knicks, 96-89. During Game 5, the Knicks led 77-76 against the Spurs with one minute left in the game. However, with just seconds left on the clock, Avery Johnson scored the game-winning shot, defeating the Knicks 78-77. The 1999 Finals was the first NBA Championship in the history of the Spurs franchise. 

Why was the ‘99 NBA season shortened?

The 1998-99 NBA season was the shortest season in league history due to a labor dispute between the NBA and the players union over salaries. Normally, a season has 82 games, but in 1999 it was cut down to 50 as the lockout lasted from July 1, 1998, until Jan. 20, 1999. Disputes between NBA owners, executives and representatives for the athletes almost led to the entire season being canceled. 

However, the work stoppage ended after executives with the NBA and representatives of the National Basketball Players Association agreed to a new settlement that boosted maximum salaries for players and allowed rookie athletes to earn more in their first year. 

Who won Finals MVP in ’99?

After the Spurs took home the victory in Game 5 of the series, their star forward, Tim Duncan, won Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals. Duncan had dominated throughout the championships, scoring a total of 137 points in five games over the Knicks. 

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