Top 5 NBA Playoff Series Of All Time
Our favourite time of the year has arrived – the NBA Playoffs and Finals. It’s when we find out which individuals and teams can perform on the big stage. Spalding has been providing the tools to make this happen for over 30 years.
It’s the time of year that not only do we enjoy the talent on display, but when we get most sentimental. In the lead-up to the NBA Finals Series, we thought we would look back through the history vault and provide our top 5 NBA finals series of all time, as chosen by the Spalding Australia team. Always a point of contention, let’s see if you agree!
1. 1970: Knicks vs Lakers
This finals series had it all – neither the Lakers or the Knicks won two games straight and the alternating pattern was set to continue with the Lakers winning game 6, and the Knicks following the pattern to win the series 4-3. One of the highlights from game 7, was when Willis Reed appeared from the tunnel just before the start of the game. No one knew whether he was going to play after suffering a torn muscle in game 5. However, he scored the first 2 points of the deciding game, and inspired his team to victory.
2. 1984: Celtics vs Lakers
Known as Showdown ’84, this finals series was one that everyone had been waiting for since the rivalry between these two teams was reignited when Magic Johnson and Larry Bird began playing in 1979. With Johnson playing for the Lakers and Bird playing for the Celtics, the 1984 finals series lived up to the hype, with the series tied after game 6. Both teams were unable to be separated in the first quarter of the deciding game, however the Celtics managed to control the final three quarters and run away with the series win. Larry Bird not only won the Finals MVP, but also the league’s MVP for the season.
3. 1998: Bulls vs Jazz
This series had everything. Five out of the six games were decided by less than 6 points, further proving just how extraordinary the 1998 finals truly were. Utah Jazz were trailing the series 3-2, and were extremely close in taking it to a 7th game, losing game 6 by the slimmest of margins – only 1 point. The final game of the series featured one of Michael Jordan’s greatest ever highlights, with 10 seconds left, he dribbled right, crossed to his left pushing off Jazz’s key defender Byron Russell and hit a 20-foot jumper to give the Bulls a 1 point lead with 5.2 seconds left on the clock and secure their sixth NBA title in 8 years.
4. 2003: Spurs vs Nets
The Spurs were leading the finals 3-2 and throughout the first three quarters of game 6, it looked like it would be heading to a seventh and deciding game, as the Spurs had been trailing all game. With no sign of giving in, the Spurs scored an incredible 31 points to 14, claiming the finals series in remarkable scenes. Tim Duncan was the best player of the series for the Spurs, scoring a total of 145 points and was the top scoring player for rebounds in each of the six games. The series marked the end of David Robinson’s career, retiring as a 2x NBA Champion, after a 14 year career with the Spurs.
5. 2016: Cavaliers vs Warriors
The Golden State Warriors began last year’s finals series with a 2-0 lead over the Cavaliers, however by the end of game 6 it was tied 3 games each. The deciding game of the finals series did not disappoint, with only 4 points separating the two teams, and the Cleveland Cavaliers winning their first championship since joining the competition in 1970. The Cavs were also the first team in NBA history to win a finals series from 3-1 down. LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry were crucial to their own individual teams. Curry scored a total of 158 points for the Warriors, meanwhile for the Cavaliers, James and Irving were both instrumental in the victory, scoring 208 and 190 points respectively.
Let’s hope that this year’s finals series is just as good, if not better than those mentioned above.
Article credit: Spalding Australia