The Best NBA Finals Series Match-Ups Sports Teams
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The Best NBA Finals Series Match-Ups

List Criteria: Only NBA Finals series, not other playoff rounds

The best NBA Finals series match-ups are the most memorable and iconic NBA Championship series in the history of the league. From the series that reignited fierce rivalries to those which pitted the best basketball players of all time against one another, these NBA Finals series stand out as some of the best ever.

If it appears that two teams appear far more frequently than others on this list, that's because the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have appeared in the NBA Finals far more than all other teams with a combined 52 appearances in the 63 seasons between 1950 and 2012. The rivalry has been fueled numerous times but was at its height in the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1989 one or both of those teams played in the finals each season with the likes of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar battling it out on the court.

As the years passed, it was the Chicago Bulls who would next dominate the league, much from the help of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson. Especially memorable was the 1993 NBA Finals which saw Jordan and company defeat the Phoenix Suns, led by Charles Barkley. Chicago would go on to win three more titles, for a total of six in eight years in the 1990s, while Barkley would play out the rest of his days without a championship ring.

Whether the best NBA Finals series match-ups are between rival teams, feature Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame players or are the ones yet to be played, each tells the story of one team who emerged victorious and another who went home disappointed. Which NBA Finals match-up do you think is the best? Vote for the series you like the most, re-rank the list as you see fit or add any we've missed below.

Check out more lists like the most hilarious internet reactions to the NBA finals, the best NBA players of all time, or check out the fittest cheerleaders of the NBA finals.
  • 5 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 416
    Down 75

    the people's #1 1984: Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open
  2. 2
    Up 286
    Down 89

    most listed 1987: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics

    open
  3. 3
    Up 259
    Down 129

    1998: Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz

    open
  4. 4
    Up 193
    Down 88

    1969: Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open
  5. 5
    Up 240
    Down 105

    1980: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics

    open
  6. 6
    Up 218
    Down 123

    1993: Chicago Bulls vs Phoenix Suns

    open
  7. 7
    Up 191
    Down 104

    1997: Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz

    open
  8. 8
    Up 120
    Down 106

    1994: Houston Rockets vs New York Knicks

    open
  9. 9
    Up 24
    Down 0

    1991:Chicago Bulls Vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open
  10. 10
    Up 80
    Down 54

    often listed & added by Loko 1992 Chicago Bulls vs Portland Trailblazers

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  11. 11
    Up 22
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    ranked low on reranks 1982: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Philadelphia 76ers

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  12. 12
    Up 160
    Down 123

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1988: Los Angeles Lakers vs Detroit Pistons

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  13. 13
    Up 21
    Down 0

    new! 1985: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Boston Celtics

    open
  14. 14
    Up 20
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    ranked low on reranks & added by birdiejay23 1980: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Philadelphia 76ers

    open
  15. 15
    Up 117
    Down 111

    1970: New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open
  16. 16
    Up 19
    Down 0

    1986: Boston Celtics Vs Houston Rockets

    open
  17. 17
    Up 103
    Down 105

    1976: Boston Celtics vs Phoenix Suns

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  18. 18
    Up 12
    Down 19

    added by DrewStiling 1952: Minneapolis Lakers Vs. New York Knicks

    open
  19. 19
    Up 10
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    added by DrewStiling 1953: Minneapolis Lakers Vs. New York Knicks

    open
  20. 20
    Up 107
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    added by MrTeamOnMyBack 2012:Miami Heat vs Oklahoma City Thunder

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  21. 21
    Up 140
    Down 170

    2011: Dallas Mavericks vs Miami Heat

    open
  22. 22
    Up 15
    Down 25

    added by DrewStiling 1959: Minneapolis Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics

    open
  23. 23
    Up 11
    Down 26

    added by DrewStiling 1958: St. Louis Hawks Vs. Boston Celtics

    open
  24. 24
    Up 7
    Down 16

    added by DrewStiling 1951: Rochester Royals Vs. New York Knicks

    open
  25. 25
    Up 9
    Down 23

    added by DrewStiling 1957: St. Louis Hawks Vs. Boston Celtics

    open
  26. 26
    Up 89
    Down 153

    2000: Los Angeles Lakers vs Indiana Pacers

    open
  27. 27 +

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