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It is all set for the 2023 NBA Finals, in which the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat will fight for the ultimate prize. They are coming off a totally different seasons as the Nuggets finished on top of the Western Conference in the regular season while the Heat barely made it to the Playoffs. That will not make any difference when the series starts on Thursday night.
In this article, we will look back at the winningest teams in NBA history, the greatest NBA Finals series of all time and some of the individual records.
Who Has the Most NBA Titles?
- 1 Who Has the Most NBA Titles?
- 2 Most Memorable NBA Finals Series
- 3 NBA Finals All Time Records
The Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers are the teams with the most NBA championships – 17. The Lakers needed a record 32 NBA Finals appearances to win 17 titles, while the Celtics achieved that in only 22. The Celtics are the team with the most consecutive NBA Finals wins, as they won 8 straight from 1959 to 1966.
The next on the list are the Warriors, who won a total of 7 NBA championships while playing in Philadelphia and San Francisco. The Chicago Bulls, with 6, and the San Antonio Spurs, with 5, are the only other teams that have been NBA Finals winners at least five times.
NBA Teams and Number of Titles Won
17 – Boston Celtics
17 – Los Angeles Lakers
7 – Golden State/San Francisco/Philadelphia Warriors
6 – Chicago Bulls
5 – San Antonio Spurs
3 – Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers
3 – Fort Wayne/Detroit Pistons
3 – Miami Heat
2 – New York Knicks
2 – Houston Rockets
2 – Milwaukee Bucks
1 – Cleveland Cavaliers
1 – St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks
1 – Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder
1 – Baltimore/Washington Bullets/Wizards
1 – Portland Trail Blazers
1 – Dallas Mavericks
1 – Rochester Royals/Kansas City/Sacramento Kings
1 – Toronto Raptors
NBA Teams With No Finals Appearance
There are five active teams that have never made it to the NBA Finals: Los Angeles Clippers, Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves and Memphis Grizzlies.
Most Memorable NBA Finals Series
The NBA is in its 77th season and there has been many epic NBA Finals series. Here are the top five of those:
1984 – Boston Celtics – Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
In 1984, Larry Bird led the Celtics to their first of three consecutive titles in his era winning the NBA Finals MVP. The series against the Lakers did not start well for the Celtics who lost the opener at home and then tied the series in overtime of Game 2. The Lakers were so close to taking a 2-0 lead but one turnover by James Worthy proved to be the crucial play of the entire series. The Lakers won the first game in LA but the Celtics tied the series with another overtime win. The next two were won by the home team and the Celtics close out the series with a Game 7, 111-102 win.
2016 – Cleveland Cavaliers – Golden State Warriors 4-3
After winning a couple of titles with the Heat, LeBron James returned home trying to win the chip with the Cavaliers. They managed to make it to the Finals where they collided with the defending champions, Golden State Warriors. The Dubs led by Steph Curry were coming off the best regular season ever with 73 wins and 9 losses and took a 3-1 lead in the finals series. The Cavaliers didn’t back down and became the first team ever to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals. LeBron’s block on Andre Iguodala and Kyrie Irving’s three-pointer in the last minute of Game 7 will be remembered as some of the most iconic plays in NBA Finals history.
2013 – Miami Heat – San Antonio Spurs 4-3
In 2013, the Miami Heat were going after their second consecutive championship facing the San Antonio Spurs in the Finals. The Spurs had a 3-2 lead going into Game 6 in Miami and were literally one defensive rebound away from winning the title. Then, Gregg Popovich decided to leave Tim Duncan on the bench and Chris Bosh grabbed an offensive rebound for the Heat and passed the ball to Ray Allen who made a corner three to send the game into overtime. The Heat survived and then won Game 7 for their third championship in franchise history.
1969 – Boston Celtics – Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
In 1969, Bill Russell won his 11th and last championship ring as the Celtics defeated the Lakers for the seventh time in the NBA Finals. The Lakers had Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain and it seemed like they would finally manage to beat the Celtics. The Lakers were 3-2 up in the series but still failed short in the end. The Celtics tied the series with a 99-90 home win and then won Game 7 in LA, 108-106. Don Nelson’s jumper that hit the back of the rim and went in late in the game is one of the most iconic shots in NBA Finals history. That was the year when the NBA Finals MVP trophy was introduced and that is the only time ever when, Jerry West, a player from the losing team won the trophy.
1970 – New York Knicks – Los Angeles Lakers 4-3
The following year, the Lakers again found themselves one game away from winning the NBA championship but this time they failed short to the New York Knicks. No team won back-to-back games in the series and it all came down to Game 7 in the Madison Square Garden. Willis Reed got injured in the series but came on the court for the decisive game which was a huge boost for the Knicks. He scored only 4 points in that game but Walt Frazier dropped 36 and the Knicks won their first NBA title ever. Wilt Chamberlain averaged 23 points and 24 rebounds in the series for the Lakers but made only 34% of the free throws which cost the Lakers.
NBA Finals All Time Records
- Jerry West is the player who has scored the most points in NBA Finals history – 1,679
- Rick Barry is the one who has the highest points per game average in the NBA Finals history with 36.3
- Bill Russell has played the most NBA Finals series 12, winning 11 of them, and he also has played the most NBA Finals games, 70
- Elgin Baylor is the only player in NBA Finals history who has scored at least 60 points in a single game (61 in 1962)
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