The Best NBA Finals Series Match-Ups Sports Teams
Ultimate List
5  reranks 6,203 votes 1,317 voters 24,951 views more info

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 5 ReRanks
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 415
    Down 74

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

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 285
    Down 88

    most listed 1987: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics

    open report item
  3. 3
    Up 258
    Down 129

    1998: Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 240
    Down 104

    1980: Los Angeles Lakers vs Boston Celtics

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 193
    Down 87

    1969: Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 218
    Down 122

    1993: Chicago Bulls vs Phoenix Suns

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 190
    Down 104

    1997: Chicago Bulls vs Utah Jazz

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 119
    Down 106

    1994: Houston Rockets vs New York Knicks

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 80
    Down 53

    added by Loko 1992 Chicago Bulls vs Portland Trailblazers

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 160
    Down 123

    1988: Los Angeles Lakers vs Detroit Pistons

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 117
    Down 111

    1970: New York Knicks vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 103
    Down 105

    1976: Boston Celtics vs Phoenix Suns

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 12
    Down 19

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

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 107
    Down 122

    added by MrTeamOnMyBack 2012:Miami Heat vs Oklahoma City Thunder

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 10
    Down 20

    added by DrewStiling 1953: Minneapolis Lakers Vs. New York Knicks

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 140
    Down 170

    2011: Dallas Mavericks vs Miami Heat

    open report item
  17. 17
    Up 15
    Down 25

    added by DrewStiling 1959: Minneapolis Lakers Vs. Boston Celtics

    open report item
  18. 18
    Up 24
    Down 0

    1991:Chicago Bulls Vs Los Angeles Lakers

    open report item
  19. 19
    Up 7
    Down 16

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

    open report item
  20. 20
    Up 21
    Down 0

    new! 1985: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Boston Celtics

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 11
    Down 26

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

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 22
    Down 0

    1982: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Philadelphia 76ers

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 89
    Down 153

    often listed 2000: Los Angeles Lakers vs Indiana Pacers

    open report item
  24. 24
    Up 9
    Down 23

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

    open report item
  25. 25
    Up 20
    Down 0

    added by birdiejay23 1980: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Philadelphia 76ers

    open report item
  26. 26
    Up 19
    Down 0

    1986: Boston Celtics Vs Houston Rockets

    open report item
  27. 27 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 26 of 26

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists