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The Greatest NBA Finals of All-Time

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cavs 560x280During the 2016 NBA Finals, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving erupted to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first ever NBA championship after being down 3-1 in the series. It was a performance for the ages as LeBron James led both teams in all five major statistical categories (Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, and Blocks). It was truly an incredible NBA Finals for a man that has been considered the greatest to ever play the game.

But it was also one of the greatest NBA Finals in the history of the sport. Not only were the Cleveland Cavaliers down three games to one, they were down to the NBA’s reigning World Champions, and a team that just broke the NBA regular season record for wins in a season with 73. With a starting five that featured the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Harrison Barnes, once the Cavaliers trailed in the series 3-1, almost all hope was lost. But then LeBron James happened and the rest is history.

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As the 2017 NBA Finals are set to begin, we’re again treated to the historically great match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. To celebrate that fact, and honor the previous 75 years of NBA Championships, we’ve compiled a list of the greatest NBA Finals series ever, the ones that have given us the greatest basketball we have seen. You should have no doubt where we ranked 2016, but will 2017 beat it?

25) 1974: Boston vs. Milwaukee

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  • Champion: Boston Celtics
  • Finals MVP: John Havlicek
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 228 (32.6)
    • Rebounds: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 85 (12.1)
    • Assists: Oscar Robertson, 58 (8.3)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 98-83, Boston
    • Game 2: 105-96, Milwaukee
    • Game 3: 95-83, Boston
    • Game 4: 97-89, Milwaukee
    • Game 5: 96-87, Boston
    • Game 6: 102-101, Milwaukee
    • Game 7: 102-87, Boston

24) 2010: Los Angeles (L) vs. Boston

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  • Champion: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Finals MVP: Kobe Bryant
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Kobe Bryant, 200 (28.6)
    • Rebounds: Pau Gasol, 81 (11.6)
    • Assists: Rajon Rondo, 53 (7.6)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 102-89, Los Angeles
    • Game 2: 103-94, Boston
    • Game 3: 91-84, Los Angeles
    • Game 4: 96-89, Boston
    • Game 5: 92-86, Boston
    • Game 6: 89-67, Los Angeles
    • Game 7: 83-79, Los Angeles

23) 1952: Minneapolis vs. New York

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  • Champion: Minneapolis Lakers
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: George Mikan, 152 (21.7)
    • Rebounds: George Mikan, 122 (17.4)
    • Assists: Dick McGuire, 33 (4.7)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 83-79, Minneapolis
    • Game 2: 80-72, New York
    • Game 3: 82-77, Minneapolis
    • Game 4: 90-89, New York
    • Game 5: 102-89, Minneapolis
    • Game 6:76-68, New York
    • Game 7: 82-65, Minneapolis

22) 1995: Houston vs. Orlando

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  • Champion: Houston Rockets
  • Finals MVP: Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Hakeem Olajuwon, 131 (32.8)
    • Rebounds: Shaquille O’Neal, 50 (12.5)
    • Assists: Anfernee Hardaway, 32 (8.0)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 120-118, Houston
    • Game 2: 117-106, Houston
    • Game 3: 106-103, Houston
    • Game 4: 113-101, Houston

21) 1976: Boston vs. Phoenix

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  • Champion: Boston Celtics
  • Finals MVP: Jo Jo White
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Alvan Adams, 138 (23.0)
    • Rebounds: Dave Cowens, 98 (16.3)
    • Assists: Jo Jo White, 35 (5.8)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 98-87, Boston
    • Game 2: 105-90, Boston
    • Game 3: 105-98, Phoenix
    • Game 4: 109-107, Phoenix
    • Game 5: 128-126, Boston
    • Game 6: 87-80, Boston

20) 2012: Miami vs. Oklahoma City

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  • Champion: Miami Heat
  • Finals MVP: LeBron James
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Kevin Durant, 153 (25.5)
    • Rebounds: LeBron James, 51 (8.5)
    • Assists: LeBron James, 37 (6.2)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 105-94, Oklahoma City
    • Game 2: 100-96, Miami
    • Game 3: 91-85, Miami
    • Game 4: 104-98, Miami
    • Game 5: 121-106, Miami

19) 2005: San Antonio vs. Detroit

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  • Champion: San Antonio Spurs
  • Finals MVP: Tim Duncan
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Tim Duncan, 144 (20.6)
    • Rebounds: Tim Duncan, 99 (14.1)
    • Assists: Chauncey Billups, 44 (6.3)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 84-69, San Antonio
    • Game 2: 97-76, San Antonio
    • Game 3: 96-79, Detroit
    • Game 4: 102-71, Detroit
    • Game 5: 96-95, San Antonio
    • Game 6: 95-86, Detroit
    • Game 7: 81-74, San Antonio

18) 1975: Golden State vs. Washington

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  • Champion: Golden State Warriors
  • Finals MVP: Rick Barry
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Rick Barry, 118 (29.5)
    • Rebounds: Wes Unseld, 67 (16.8)
    • Assists: Kevin Porter, 27 (6.8)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 101-95, Golden State
    • Game 2: 92-91, Golden State
    • Game 3: 109-101, Golden State
    • Game 4: 96-95, Golden State

17) 1977: Portland vs. Philadelphia

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  • Champion: Portland Trail Blazers
  • Finals MVP: Bill Walton
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Julius Erving, 182 (30.3)
    • Rebounds: Bill Walton, 114 (19.0)
    • Assists: Bill Walton, 31 (5.2)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 107-101, Philadelphia
    • Game 2: 107-89, Philadelphia
    • Game 3: 129-107, Portland
    • Game 4: 130-98, Portland
    • Game 5: 110-104, Portland
    • Game 6: 109-107, Portland

16) 1991: Chicago vs. Los Angeles (L)

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  • Champion: Chicago Bulls
  • Finals MVP: Michael Jordan
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Michael Jordan, 156 (31.2)
    • Rebounds: Scottie Pippen, 47 (9.4)
    • Assists: Magic Johnson, 62 (12.4)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 93-91, Los Angeles
    • Game 2: 107-86, Chicago
    • Game 3: 104-96, Chicago
    • Game 4: 97-82, Chicago
    • Game 5: 108-101, Chicago

15) 1978: Washington vs. Seattle

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  • Champion: Washington Bullets
  • Finals MVP: Wes Unseld
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Elvin Hayes, 145 (20.7)
    • Rebounds: Marvin Webster, 109 (15.6)
    • Assists: Tom Henderson, 40 (5.7)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 106-102, Seattle
    • Game 2: 106-98, Washington
    • Game 3: 93-92, Seattle
    • Game 4: 120-116, Washington
    • Game 5: 98-94, Seattle
    • Game 6: 117-82, Washington
    • Game 7: 105-99, Washington

14) 1985: Los Angeles (L) vs. Boston

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  • Champion: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Finals MVP: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Kevin McHale, 156 (26.0)
    • Rebounds: Kevin McHale, 64 (10.7)
    • Assists: Magic Johnson, 84 (14.0)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 148-114, Boston
    • Game 2: 109-102, Los Angeles
    • Game 3: 136-111, Los Angeles
    • Game 4: 107-105, Boston
    • Game 5: 120-111, Los Angeles
    • Game 6: 111-100, Los Angeles

13) 1962: Boston vs. Los Angeles (L)

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  • Champion: Boston Celtics
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Elgin Baylor, 284 (40.6)
    • Rebounds: Bill Russell, 189 (27.0)
    • Assists: Bob Cousy, 65 (9.3)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 122-108, Boston
    • Game 2: 129-122, Los Angeles
    • Game 3: 117-115, Los Angeles
    • Game 4: 115-103, Boston
    • Game 5: 126-121, Los Angeles
    • Game 6: 119-105, Boston
    • Game 7: 110-107, Boston

12) 1980: Los Angeles (L) vs. Philadelphia

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  • Champion: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Finals MVP: Magic Johnson
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 167 (27.8)
    • Rebounds: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 68 (11.3)
    • Assists: Lionel Hollins, 53 (8.8)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 109-102, Los Angeles
    • Game 2: 107-104, Philadelphia
    • Game 3: 111-101, Los Angeles
    • Game 4: 105-102, Philadelphia
    • Game 5: 108-103, Philadelphia
    • Game 6: 123-107, Los Angeles

11) 1993: Chicago vs. Phoenix

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  • Champion: Chicago Bulls
  • Finals MVP: Michael Jordan
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Michael Jordan, 246 (41.0)
    • Rebounds: Charles Barkley, 78 (13.0)
    • Assists: Scottie Pippen, 46 (7.7)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 100-92, Chicago
    • Game 2: 111-108, Chicago
    • Game 3: 129-121, Phoenix
    • Game 4: 111-105, Chicago
    • Game 5: 108-98, Phoenix
    • Game 6: 99-98, Chicago

10) 1970: New York vs. Los Angeles (L)

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  • Champion: New York Knicks
  • Finals MVP: Willis Reed
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Jerry West, 219 (31.3)
    • Rebounds: Wilt Chamberlain, 169 (24.1)
    • Assists: Walt Frazier, 73 (10.4)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 124-112, New York
    • Game 2: 105-103, Los Angeles
    • Game 3: 111-108, New York
    • Game 4: 121-115, Los Angeles
    • Game 5: 107-100, New York
    • Game 6: 135-113, Los Angeles
    • Game 7: 113-99, New York

9) 1988: Los Angeles (L) vs. Detroit

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  • Champion: Los Angeles Lakers
  • Finals MVP: James Worthy
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: James Worthy, 154 (22.0)
    • Rebounds: Bill Laimbeer, 62 (8.9)
    • Assists: Isiah Thomas, 63 (9.0)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 105-93, Detroit
    • Game 2: 108-96, Los Angeles
    • Game 3: 99-86, Los Angeles
    • Game 4: 111-86, Detroit
    • Game 5: 104-94, Detroit
    • Game 6: 103-102, Los Angeles
    • Game 7: 108-105, Los Angeles

8) 1994: Houston vs. New York

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  • Champion: Houston Rockets
  • Finals MVP: Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Hakeem Olajuwon, 188 (26.9)
    • Rebounds: Patrick Ewing, 87 (12.4)
    • Assists: Derek Harper, 42 (6.0)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 85-78, Houston
    • Game 2: 91-83, New York
    • Game 3: 93-89, Houston
    • Game 4: 91-82, New York
    • Game 5:91-84, New York
    • Game 6: 86-84, Houston
    • Game 7: 90-84, Houston

7) 1998: Chicago vs. Utah

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  • Champion: Chicago Bulls
  • Finals MVP: Michael Jordan
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Michael Jordan, 201 (33.5)
    • Rebounds: Karl Malone, 63 (10.5)
    • Assists: John Stockton, 52 (8.7)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 88-85, Utah
    • Game 2: 93-88, Chicago
    • Game 3: 96-54, Chicago
    • Game 4: 86-82, Chicago
    • Game 5: 83-81, Utah
    • Game 6: 87-86, Chicago

6) 2011: Dallas vs. Miami

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  • Champion: Dallas Mavericks
  • Finals MVP: Dirk Nowitzki
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Dwyane Wade, 159 (26.5)
    • Rebounds: Dirk Nowitzki, 58 (9.7)
    • Assists: LeBron James, 41 (6.8)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 92-84, Miami
    • Game 2: 95-93, Dallas
    • Game 3: 88-86, Miami
    • Game 4: 86-83, Dallas
    • Game 5: 112-103, Dallas
    • Game 6: 105-95, Dallas

5) 1997: Chicago vs. Utah

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  • Champion: Chicago Bulls
  • Finals MVP: Michael Jordan
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Michael Jordan, 194 (32.3)
    • Rebounds: Karl Malone, 62 (10.3)
    • Assists: John Stockton, 53 (8.8)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 84-82, Chicago
    • Game 2: 97-85, Chicago
    • Game 3: 104-93, Utah
    • Game 4: 78-73, Utah
    • Game 5: 90-88, Chicago
    • Game 6: 90-86, Chicago

4) 2013: Miami vs. San Antonio

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  • Champion: Miami Heat
  • Finals MVP: LeBron James
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: LeBron James, 177 (25.3)
    • Rebounds: Tim Duncan, 85 (12.1)
    • Assists: LeBron James, 49 (7.0)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 92-88, San Antonio
    • Game 2: 103-84, Miami
    • Game 3: 113-77, San Antonio
    • Game 4: 109-93, Miami
    • Game 5: 114-104, San Antonio
    • Game 6: 103-100, Miami
    • Game 7: 95-88, Miami

3) 1969: Boston vs. Los Angeles (L)

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  • Champion: Boston Celtics
  • Finals MVP: Jerry West
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Jerry West, 265 (37.9)
    • Rebounds: Wilt Chamberlain, 175 (25.0)
    • Assists: Jerry West, 52 (7.4)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 120-118, Los Angeles
    • Game 2: 119-112, Los Angeles
    • Game 3: 111-105, Boston
    • Game 4: 89-88, Boston
    • Game 5: 117-104, Los Angeles
    • Game 6: 99-90, Boston
    • Game 7: 108-106, Boston

2) 1984: Boston vs. Los Angeles (L)

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  • Champion: Boston Celtics
  • Finals MVP: Larry Bird
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: Larry Bird, 192 (27.4)
    • Rebounds: Larry Bird, 98 (14.0)
    • Assists: Magic Johnson, 95 (13.6)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1: 115-109, Los Angeles
    • Game 2: 124-121, Los Angeles
    • Game 3: 137-104, Los Angeles
    • Game 4: 129-125, Boston
    • Game 5: 121-103, Boston
    • Game 6: 119-108, Boston
    • Game 7: 111-102, Boston

1) 2016: Cleveland vs. Golden State

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  • Champion: Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Finals MVP: LeBron James
  • Top Performers (Avg)
    • Points: LeBron James, 208 (29.7)
    • Rebounds: LeBron James, 79 (11.3)
    • Assists: LeBron James, 62 (8.9)
  • Series Review (Final Score, Winning Team)
    • Game 1:104-89, Golden State
    • Game 2: 110-77, Golden State
    • Game 3: 120-90, Cleveland
    • Game 4: 108-97, Golden State
    • Game 5: 112-97, Cleveland
    • Game 6: 115-101, Cleveland
    • Game 7: 93-89, Cleveland
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