Which NBA Finals have been the best in history?

Which NBA Finals have been the best in history? post thumbnail image

A few days before the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Denver Nuggets, we would like to take a look at what we believe have been the greatest series in the history of the NBA Finals.

For 2023, fans expected a clash between two legendary teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics, but the Californians were swept by the Nuggets, while the Celtics shook off an 0-3 record and avoided ridicule, although on Monday they were eliminated in Game 7 at the Boston Garden.

With a final two that even the NBA didn’t want, as the least attractive of the possible combinations, all that remains is to look back at some of the best matchups.

1998: Air Jordan’s final show

We start with the last great show of His Majesty Michael Jordan at the Delta Center in Utah in 1998, a year in which the series would have moments of great emotion until a sixth game with a combative Jazz side, wounded by the frustration of falling by the wayside a year earlier.

The series went Chicago’s way by the slimmest of margins in five of the six games with Jordan a factor until the very last second, scoring an average of 33.5 points and a career-high 45 in Game 6, earning him series MVP for the sixth time.

2016: LeBron’s wild comeback in Cleveland

The Cleveland Cavaliers staged one of the greatest Finals series comebacks in league history in 2016, coming back from 3-1 down to knock off Golden State and its towering leader Stephen Curry to win the franchise’s first title.

LeBron James was rather subdued early on, but exploded like a juggernaut in the final three games in all categories to finish with an average of 29.7 points. A sensational comeback that nobody saw coming.

2021: Giannis crowns Bucks and enters Olympus

More recently, in the 2021 series, 26-year-old Greek-Nigerian Giannis Sina Ugo Antetokounmpo entered the record books with historic numbers by leading the Milwaukee Bucks to their second championship, over the Phoenix Suns inside six games.

The credit to Giannis is twofold because he was coming off a very fresh injury to his left knee, a condition that gave him trouble, but not enough to prevent a legendary performance with a 50-point game, a well-deserved MVP and a 35.2 point-scoring average. 

2000: Shaquille in Beast Mode

At full strength, a beast-mode Shaquille O’Neal gave the Los Angeles Lakers their 12th crown after more than a decade-long drought with a six-game victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Shaq won a well-deserved triple MVP (league, All-Star and Finals) in a series that will be remembered forever, in which he finished with an impressive 38-point average.

2006: The Miami Heat’s first crown and the Dwyane Wade Show

The Miami franchise won its first NBA title coming from 2-0 down against the heavily-favored Dallas Mavericks, a team that had swept the regular season.

That’s when Dwyane Wade, who was playing his third pro season at the age of 24, emerged to lead his team to four straight impressive victories and earn his first and only Finals MVP with an average of 34.7 points.

Source: Marca

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