The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association. The series was named the NBA World Championship Series until 1986.
The series is played between the winners of the Western and Eastern Conference Finals. At the conclusion of the championship round, the winners of the NBA Finals are awarded the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. (Winners from 1946 to 1977 received the Walter A. Brown Trophy) The NBA Finals has been played at the end of every NBA and Basketball Association of America season in history, the first being held in 1947.
Since 1985, the winner of the NBA Finals has been determined through a 2–3–2 format. The first and last two games of the series are played at the arena of the team who earned home court advantage by having the better record during the regular season.
1947–56: The Early Years and Lakers Dynasty
During the first decade the Minneapolis Lakers had the first NBA dynasty, winning 5 championships in 6 years under Hall of Fame head coach John Kundla. The team also featured George Mikan, one of the greatest players in NBA history. Franchises which had previously been in the NBL tended to dominate, especially the Minneapolis Lakers.
1957–69: The Celtics Dynasty,the Start of the Comeback
The Celtics and Lakers made up 19 of 26 possible NBA appearances during thirteen seasons (1956–67–1968–69). The two teams met 6 times during the 8 years Boston won the NBA in a row. This period includes one season (1958–59) when the Lakers were still in Minneapolis, and it marks the largest stretch of seasons (14) that two teams made up over 65% of NBA appearances, second being the 10 seasons (1979–80 to 1988–89) the Celtics and Lakers appeared 13 times.
With the establishment of the Celtics dynasty in 1957, Bill Russell became the star of the league. Game 7 of the NBA Finals was decided on a Celtics basket in the final seconds of the second overtime. For most of the late 1950s and 1960s, the Celtics always seemed to have the upper hand on Wilt Chamberlain's teams.
In 1964, Wilt Chamberlain, who had moved to the state of California with his team, the former Philadelphia Warriors, led the San Francisco Warriors to a Western Conference championship, but again failed to conquer the Celtics. The following season, he joined the Philadelphia 76ers, the former Syracuse Nationals team that had moved to cover the vacancy created with the departure of the Warriors.
1966 produced a clash between the two stars in the playoffs, and Boston won 4–1. Chamberlain's coach told him to play a team game, not an individual game, and thus avoid drawing double-teams. His new-found team spirit brought them to a new record of 68 wins the following season, and they defeated the Celtics and then advanced to, and won, the Finals.
In 1968, Boston overcame a 3–1 deficit against Philadelphia to once again arrive in the Finals. They went on to defeat the Los Angeles Lakers for the sixth straight time, 4 games to 2.
In 1969, the Celtics overcame even longer odds. Boston was an aging team and had injuries to a number of players. They barely qualified for the playoffs, finishing fourth in the East. The Lakers, who in the offseason added Chamberlain to join West and Elgin Baylor, won the West and were prohibitive favorites to finally win it all for the first time since relocating to L.A. They won the first two games at the Los Angeles Forum. However, when the series shifted to Boston Garden, the Celtics won Games 3 110–105. Game 4 was the turning point, as the Lakers led 87-86 and had the ball with 10 seonds to play. But after a turnover, Sam Jones put up a shot that hit the front of the rim, the back heel, rolled around, and went in, giving the Celtics an 88-87 win and tying the series. Game 5, played at the Forum, returned the advantage to the Lakers, but Game 6 was a 99–90 Celtics win, with Chamberlain scoring just two points. Game 7 was held on May 5; Lakers owner Jack Kent Cooke had balloons hung up in the arena in anticipation of a Lakers victory. When Jerry West saw the balloons he was furious, while Russell immediately used the balloons as an inspiration for his team. With West nursing a sore thigh and hamstring, Russell ordered his team to fast break at every chance and they raced off to an early lead. They held off a furious Lakers comeback to win 108–106 and win the series, their eleventh championship in 13 years. This game represented the final one of the Celtics' dynasty.
1970–79: Decade of Parity
The 1970s saw eight different teams win the title, with the Celtics and Knicks winning twice.
In 1970, a classic final featured the New York Knicks against the Lakers. In the waning moments of Game 3, with the series tied, Jerry West hit a basket from 60 feet to tie the game, a shot which became one of the most famous ever. Although the Knicks won in overtime and continued their momentum for a 4–3 win, the Lakers were not defeated. Just two seasons later, the team won 33 straight games, the longest such streak in NBA history. By season's end, they broke the record for most wins in a season with 69, one more than the 1966–67 76ers. The Lakers finally, after a tough postseason, took home the championship for the first time since the Minneapolis days. The Knicks won the championship again in 1973, using much the same formula, for their second franchise victorious season.
The 1974 championship went back to the Celtics as the remaining players demonstrated excellent teamwork and resilience in the Finals.
The late 1970s were characterized by a major breakthrough of the league's western franchises. In 1975, after compiling a 48–34 regular-season record, the Golden State Warriors swept the heavily-favored Washington Bullets 4–0 in the 1975 NBA Finals.
1976 saw the rise of the Phoenix Suns. Only eight years in existence, they overcame a losing record early in the season to build remarkable win streaks to finish 42–40. The events culminated in upset victories over Seattle and Golden State. In the final against Boston, the teams split the first four games. Game 5 went into three overtimes but eventually went to Boston 128–126. Two days later, the Celtics finished Phoenix off 87-80 in Game 6 for their 13th championship.
Other western franchises that won their first titles in the late 1970s included the Portland Trail Blazers in 1977 and the Seattle SuperSonics in 1979. Portland's victory was against the heavily favored Philadelphia 76ers led by Julius Erving. Although the Washington Bullets were able to defeat Seattle in the 1978 NBA Finals, Seattle was able to prevail the following year against the Bullets to win its first NBA title.
1980–90: Celtics–Lakers rivalry
Between 1980 and 1989, the Celtics and/or the Lakers played in every NBA Finals. The Lakers won five titles from 1980-1990 (1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, and 1988); the Celtics won three (1981, 1984 and 1986); the Pistons won twice (1989 and 1990); and the Sixers won once (1983).
The 1979 NCAA Championship Game featured Magic Johnson's Michigan State University team facing off against Larry Bird's Indiana State University team. Michigan State won. This meeting has been immortalized; in fact, it attracted the largest ever TV rating for an NCAA Championship game, with 38 percent of all television viewers that night tuned to the game.
Bird had actually been drafted the year before, but later decided to stay one more year, and the two superstars entered the league in 1979, leading their respective teams to dazzling heights. Johnson's Lakers reached the 1980 NBA Finals, and took a 3–2 lead, but Kareem Abdul-Jabbar could not play in Game 6 due to injury. Johnson shifted to center, ended up playing every position on the court and scored 42 points to win his first championship, a remarkable performance in the annals of the sport.
Boston won the 1981 NBA Finals against Houston thanks to Bird, and the team continued dominating the league afterwards, taking many Atlantic Division titles.
Philadelphia, led by Moses Malone and Julius Erving, won the 1983 NBA Finals, losing only once in the entire playoffs, and sweeping the Lakers. (Malone had predicted earlier that they would sweep every series.) However, in the 1984 NBA Finals, the Celtics and Lakers met for the first time since 1969, and again, from Bird's performance, the Celtics toppled the Lakers 4–3. Game 7 attracted the largest TV audience ever for an NBA game, and the second-largest ever for a basketball game, with only the game between the two stars played five years earlier having a larger audience. It was the last NBA Finals played in the 2–2–1–1–1 format.
In the 1985 NBA Finals, the Lakers made amends for their previous eight losses to the Celtics by defeating them in six games. After losing the first game in a rout, 148–114, dubbed the "Memorial Day Massacre", they won 4 out of 5, including Game 6 in Boston Garden, to finally end the long years of frustration of failing to defeat the Celtics. These finals were the first to be played in the current 2–3–2 format, which Red Auerbach suggested to David Stern in order to cut back on the frequent traveling between Boston and Los Angeles.
The 1986 NBA Finals brought the Celtics back against the Rockets. Boston won in six games, taking their 16th title, with the MVP award going to Larry Bird, his second Finals MVP trophy.
In 1987, the Lakers and Celtics met again for a rubber match. Both sides had won one series, and now a third was being played. The Lakers won the first two games, but Boston won Game 3. In Game 4, Magic Johnson hit a sky-hook with two seconds left to give the Lakers a 107–106 win and a 3–1 series lead. They lost Game 5, but won Game 6 to take the series.
In 1988 and 1989, the aging Celtics failed to reach the Finals, with the Lakers and Pistons becoming the best of their conferences. The 1988 Finals went to L.A. 4–3, but the Pistons swept the Lakers in 1989. In 1990, Detroit beat the Blazers in five games, and the name "Bad Boys" became attached to the team for its rough, physical play.
1991–98: The Bulls Dynasty
During the 1990s, the Bulls completed two three-peats. Also, in the decade the Rockets won back-to-back titles and the Jazz fell short twice. It started when the Pistons won their second championship in as many seasons.
The majority of the 1990s was marked by the Chicago Bulls' dynasty, which ended in 1998. Coached by Phil Jackson and led by superstar Michael Jordan, the Bulls won 6 titles from 1991 to 1998. Supported by Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, Jordan won the Finals MVP award each time. Particularly memorable was the 1993 Finals, which became an offensive showdown between Jordan and regular-season MVP (and close friend) Charles Barkley.
The Bulls won the first two games in Phoenix 100–92 and 111–108 respectively. The Suns won Game 3 129–121 in triple overtime, but Chicago won Game 4 111–105, with Jordan scoring 55 points and tying Rick Barry for the second-most amount of points in an NBA Finals game. The Suns won Game 5 108–98 to send the series back to Phoenix, but Chicago won the series in Game 6 99–98 on John Paxson's clutch 3 to become only the third team in history to three-peat.
The Houston Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, won the 1994 and 1995 NBA title. Olajuwon dominated during those two seasons, and became the only player in history to win the National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award, NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in the same season (1993–94). It was the only year that the NBA and NHL finals went 7 games, but also involve teams from one city. The Rockets' win in Game 7 denied New York from having NBA and NHL titles in the same year, as the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup during the series.
The Rockets swept the Orlando Magic in the 1995 Finals; Olajuwon was named Finals MVP. The Rockets became only the fifth franchise to win back-to-back titles.
After a short stint as a baseball player, Jordan returned to basketball late in the 1994–95 season (March 17). Although he did not lead the Bulls to the Finals, he returned to pre-retirement form the next year while the team acquired Dennis Rodman, leading the Bulls to one of the most memorable seasons ever. The 1996 Bulls finished the regular season 72–10, the best regular season record in NBA history. They dominated in the playoffs, with series records of 3–0, 4–1 and 4–0, and then went on to defeat the Seattle SuperSonics in 6 in the NBA Finals.
In 1997 and 1998, the Bulls met the Utah Jazz. Led by Olympians John Stockton and Karl Malone, the Jazz were defeated in both Finals by the Bulls in six games. In both series, Chicago won by hitting winning shots in the sixth and deciding game-the first by Steve Kerr in 1997 in Chicago and the second by Jordan in Utah in 1998. Although Jordan, Pippen and Jackson were the only three involved in all 6 titles, the Bulls dynasty had a cast of characters that were decisive in obtaining them. Horace Grant, Bill Cartwright, John Paxson, B.J. Armstrong and other supporting cast members were pieces added to the puzzle to create the first three-peat. Of the second, little-known players such as Jud Buechler, Randy Brown, Bill Wennington, Ron Harper and Luc Longley were key factors who rarely produced an astounding amount of points, but proved crucial via setting picks, rebounding, creating turnovers, etc. Before the beginning of the 1999 season, Jackson decided to retire, which set off a chain reaction that resulted in most of the team, including Jordan and Pippen, to leave the Bulls. With no foundation of youth to build upon, the Bulls would be lottery-bound for the next 6 years.
1999–2010: Lakers/Spurs Dominance
In the 2000 NBA Playoffs, the Spurs finished with a 15–2 mark, including sweeps of the Blazers and Lakers. With a defensive squad led by David Robinson and Tim Duncan, San Antonio's 84.7 points allowed per game was the fewest average points allowed in the post-season in the last 30 years. In the Finals that year, the Spurs held the New York Knicks, the first #8 seed team to reach the finals in NBA History, to an average of 79.8 points per game. From 2003 to 2008, San Antonio would win three more championships in six years, but never repeated. During the 2003 NBA Finals, the Spurs defeated the Nets in 6 games. Said Finals also marked the first championship contested between two former ABA teams, the Spurs and Nets. In Game 6, Duncan was two blocks short of recording the first quadruple-double in NBA Finals history, finishing with 22 points, 20 rebounds, 10 assists, and 8 blocks. The Spurs went on to defeat the defending champion Detroit Pistons 4-3 in the 2005 NBA Finals, as well as sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2007 NBA Finals. Duncan won the Finals MVP in 1999, 2003 and 2005. In 2007, Tony Parker was named MVP, becoming the first European-born player to win the award.
From 2000–02, the Lakers, led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, won the NBA Finals in dominating performances. O'Neal won the finals MVP all three times. Their first championship came at the expense of the Indiana Pacers, whom the Lakers defeated in 6 games. During their 2001 postseason run, the Lakers swept their first 3 series and won the Finals in 5, finishing with a unprecedented 15–1 record. Their opponent in the Finals were the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Allen Iverson. Entering the 2002 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers continued their dominance by sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round and defeating the Spurs in 5, but they fell behind a 2-3 series deficit to the Sacramento Kings in the Conference Finals. Game six was a controversial affair, with many criticizing the Laker-leaning officiating; the Lakers tied the series and won the deciding game by six points in overtime. In the 2002 NBA Finals, the Lakers swept the New Jersey Nets (led by Jason Kidd), the first sweep in the Finals since Houston swept Orlando in the 1995 Finals. The Lakers kept the lead almost the entire time in each game; only for a short while after the beginning of Game 4 did the New Jersey Nets gain any significant lead in a game.
In the 2004 offseason, veteran stars Gary Payton and Karl Malone signed with the Lakers. Along with Bryant and O'Neal, they formed what many expected to be one of the best teams in NBA history, and were the favorites to win the championship. However, the Detroit Pistons, under coach Larry Brown, upset the Lakers in 5, becoming the first Eastern Conference team since the 1998 Bulls to win the NBA championship. Chauncey Billups, was named the Finals MVP. The Pistons were also the first to win all three home games in the Finals. Detroit would make it to the Eastern Conference Finals an additional three consecutive years, but lost to the Miami Heat, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics.
The 2006 NBA Finals featured the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. It was the first NBA Finals since 1971 that had both Western and Eastern Conference champions making their first Finals appearance in franchise history. Led by upcoming star and Finals MVP Dwyane Wade, coach Pat Riley and center Shaquille O'Neal, the turning point of the series was in Game 3, when the Heat overcame a 13-point deficit with less than 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter to win 98–96. The comeback was led by Wade's 12 points in the final six minutes and a clutch outside jumpshot by Gary Payton, who was appearing in his third NBA finals. Miami swept all three of their home games, two of which were sparked by fourth quarter comebacks led by Wade; the Heat would win their first championship in six. In 2008, the Eastern Conference was represented by the Boston Celtics, and the Western Conference by the Lakers. Renewing the teams' fierce rivalry of the 1980s, this marked the 11th time that these two teams met in the Finals, the last such meeting happening in 1987. The Celtics, who defeated the Lakers 4-2, were led by their "Big Three" superstars: Long-time Celtic and Finals MVP Paul Pierce, and first year Celtics Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett.
The Lakers bounced back from their 2008 loss and returned to the Finals in 2009, where they faced the Orlando Magic, led by Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard in 2009. Orlando became the first team ever to defeat the Boston Celtics in a best-of-seven series after the Celtics took a 3-2 series lead. The Celtics were previously 32–0 when leading a series 3–2, and 17–3 in Game 7s at home prior to their loss by the Magic. In the Conference Finals, Orlando upset the 66-win, 1st Seed Cleveland Cavaliers, led by MVP LeBron James, in six games, with Howard scoring 40 in the clinching win. Meanwhile, the Lakers would defeat the Utah Jazz 4-1, the Houston Rockets 4-3 and the Denver Nuggets 4-2. Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, the captains for the respective teams, were teammates and starters on the United States men's national team during the previous summer, winning a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Each player defeated another fellow Olympic starter in his respective conference final series: Bryant eliminated Carmelo Anthony's Denver Nuggets and Howard advanced past LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers. Los Angeles would defeat Orlando in five games, with Bryant earning the Finals MVP award.
The Lakers met the Celtics once again in 2010. The Lakers trailed 3-2 before winning the last two at home, marking the first time in the history of the Celtics franchise that Boston lost a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. Kobe Bryant was named Finals MVP once again. Including the 2009 championship, Laker coach Phil Jackson would win an unprecedented 10th and 11th NBA title, passing Red Auerbach for the most NBA titles all time. Jackson would also pass Auerbach and National Hockey League coach Scotty Bowman for the most titles for a head coach in any major American sport.
The 2011 NBA Finals were a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, putting the Miami Heat against the Dallas Mavericks. The Heat were led by team captain Dwyane Wade, as well as LeBron James and Chris Bosh who were acquired via free agency the previous offseason. The Mavericks were led, once again, by Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry. The Mavericks defeated the Heat in 6 games, winning the title for the first time in franchise history. Nowitzki was named NBA Finals MVP, while James received immense criticism for his lackluster performances in four consecutive fourth quarters.
The Heat returned to the finals in 2012 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, in a series that had 3-time NBA MVP LeBron James and 3-time NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant, neither of whom had won a championship at the time. The Heat won the series 4–1 with James being named NBA Finals MVP.
The statistics below refer to series wins and losses, not individual games won and lost.
|#||Team||W||L||%||Most recent appearance||Most recent title||Notes|
|31||Los Angeles Lakers||16||15||.516||2010||2010||1 NBL title and 5 NBA titles as Minneapolis Lakers; 2 three-peats: one as Minneapolis from 1952–54 and one as Los Angeles from 2000–02. The Lakers have won 11 and lost 14 NBA Championships in Los Angeles.|
|21||Boston Celtics||17||4||.810||2010||2008||Won 8 straight titles from 1959–66. The first 14 titles were Brown Trophies, the rest being Larry O'Brien Championship Trophies.|
|9||Philadelphia 76ers||3||6||.333||2001||1983||1–2 as Syracuse Nationals.|
|8||New York Knicks||2||6||.250||1999||1973||In 1999, became first 8th playoff seed to ever reach Finals.|
|7||Detroit Pistons||3||4||.429||2005||2004||0–2 as Ft. Wayne Pistons.|
|6||Chicago Bulls||6||0||1.000||1998||1998||All with head coach Phil Jackson and players Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. Two three-peats: 1991–93 and 1996–98.|
|6||Golden State Warriors||3||3||.500||1975||1975||2–1 as Philadelphia Warriors; 0–2 as San Francisco Warriors; 1–0 as Golden State Warriors.|
|4||San Antonio Spurs||4||0||1.000||2007||2007||All with head coach Gregg Popovich and Power Forward/Center Tim Duncan. Won three championships in five years (2003, 2005, 2007).|
|4||Houston Rockets||2||2||.500||1995||1995||2 championships with center Hakeem Olajuwon (named MVP in both championship series) and coach Rudy Tomjanovich, championships were back to back.|
|4||Atlanta Hawks||1||3||.250||1961||1958||All appearances as St. Louis franchise.|
|4||Oklahoma City Thunder||1||3||.250||2012||1979||1–2 as Seattle SuperSonics, 0–1 as Oklahoma City Thunder.|
|4||Washington Wizards||1||3||.250||1979||1978||0–1 as Baltimore Bullets, 1–2 as Washington Bullets.|
|3||Miami Heat||2||1||.667||2012||2012||All with Dwyane Wade. Faced Mavericks in 2006 (won in six on the road) and 2011 (lost in six at home). Won the 2012 Finals 4-1 after losing the first game.|
|3||Portland Trail Blazers||1||2||.333||1992||1977||Lost Games 1 and 2 in Philadelphia, won four straight, three of those coming in Portland, led by UCLA legend and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton.|
|2||Dallas Mavericks||1||1||.500||2011||2011||Lost in the 2006 Finals and won in the 2011 Finals versus the Heat.|
|2||Milwaukee Bucks||1||1||.500||1974||1971||Won with Oscar Robertson and Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).|
|2||Brooklyn Nets||0||2||.000||2003||Never||Won 2 ABA titles in 1974 and 1976, and was defeated in 1972 ABA Finals as New York Nets. Appeared twice in NBA Finals as New Jersey Nets.|
|2||Orlando Magic||0||2||.000||2009||Never||Swept by the Rockets in 1995 and defeated in 2009 by the Lakers in a 4–1 series.|
|2||Utah Jazz||0||2||.000||1998||Never||Both with coach Jerry Sloan and players Karl Malone and John Stockton and against the Bulls.|
|1||Sacramento Kings||1||0||1.000||1951||1951||Won one NBL title in 1946. Won first appearance in NBA Finals as Rochester Royals.|
|1||Cleveland Cavaliers||0||1||.000||2007||Never||Were swept in their first and only appearance in the NBA Finals.|
|1||Indiana Pacers||0||1||.000||2000||Never||Team won three ABA championships (1970, 1972, 1973) and made two other ABA Finals appearances (1969, 1975).|
Active franchises with no Finals appearances
|Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers||41||1970||Reached three Conference semifinals as the Braves, and two as Clippers, the first in the 2005–06 season, where they lost to the Phoenix Suns 4–3, and the second in the 2011-12 season, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs 4-0.|
|Denver Nuggets||35||1976||Joined NBA after 9 American Basketball Association seasons (1967–76). Denver played in the 1976 ABA championship, but lost to the New York Nets. Played in the 1978 Conference Finals; lost to the Seattle SuperSonics. Played in the 1985 and 2009 Conference Finals; lost both times to the Los Angeles Lakers.|
|Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets||23||1988||Reached the Conference semifinals four times in Charlotte and once in New Orleans.|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||22||1989||Played in the 2004 Conference Finals; lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.|
|Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies||16||1995||Reached the Western Conference finals in the 2012–13 season, series hasnt been determined yet.|
|Toronto Raptors||16||1995||Reached the Conference semifinals in the 2000–01 season.|
|Charlotte Bobcats||7||2004||Qualified for their first playoff berth during the 2009–10 season in the 2010 NBA Playoffs, but were swept by the Orlando Magic in a 4–0 series.|
Appearances by former NBA teams
The statistics below refer to series wins and losses, not individual games won and lost.
|Num||Team||W||L||PCT||Most recent appearance||Most recent title||Notes|
|1||Baltimore Bullets||1||0||1.000||1948||1948||Team folded in 1954 and is not the same franchise as the current Washington Wizards.|
|1||Chicago Stags||0||1||.000||1947||Never||Team folded in 1950.|
|1||Washington Capitols||0||1||.000||1949||Never||Team folded in 1951.|
Most common matchups
- 12 times: Boston Celtics (9) vs. Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (3)
- 6 times: Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (5) vs. Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers (1)
- 5 times: Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers (3) vs. New York Knicks (2)
- 4 times: Boston Celtics (3) vs. St. Louis/Atlanta Hawks (1)
- 3 times: Detroit Pistons (2) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (1)
- 2 times: Seattle SuperSonics/Oklahoma City Thunder (1) vs. Washington Bullets/Wizards (1)
- 2 times: Boston Celtics (2) vs. Houston Rockets (0)
- 2 times: Chicago Bulls (2) vs. Utah Jazz (0)
- 2 times: Miami Heat (1) vs. Dallas Mavericks (1)
Individual games records
|22||San Antonio Spurs||16||6||.727||Swept the Cavaliers in their last appearance.|
|35||Chicago Bulls||24||11||.686||4–2 in their last finals appearance against the Jazz.|
|6||Baltimore Bullets||4||2||.667||Franchise defunct.|
|11||Milwaukee Bucks||7||4||.636||3–4 in their last finals appearance, lost to the Celtics.|
|129||Boston Celtics||77||52||.597||Has a 9-3 record against the Lakers in the finals.|
|17||Miami Heat||10||7||.588||Won the 2006 NBA Finals and the 2012 NBA Finals.|
|7||Sacramento Kings||4||3||.571||All as Rochester Royals. The Cincinnati Royals and Kansas City Kings both made zero Finals appearances.|
|40||Detroit Pistons||22||18||.550||Includes 4–8 as Fort Wayne franchise.|
|31||Golden State Warriors||17||14||.548||Includes 10–6 as Philadelphia franchise and 3–8 as San Francisco franchise.|
|23||Houston Rockets||12||11||.522||Swept the Magic in their last finals appearance.|
|12||Dallas Mavericks||6||6||.500||All games versus the Heat.|
|179||Los Angeles Lakers||89||90||.497||Includes 20–15 as Minneapolis franchise. 4–3 in their last finals appearance against the Celtics.|
|53||Philadelphia 76ers||24||29||.453||Includes 9–11 as Syracuse Nationals.|
|25||Atlanta Hawks||11||14||.440||All as St. Louis franchise.|
|23||Oklahoma City Thunder||10||13||.435||Went 3-4 in 1978, 4-1 in 1979, and 2-4 in 1996 as the Seattle SuperSonics, 1-4 in 2012 as the Oklahoma City Thunder.|
|48||New York Knicks||20||28||.417||1–4 in their last appearance against the Spurs.|
|17||Portland Trail Blazers||7||10||.412||2–4 in their last finals appearance, lost to the Bulls.|
|12||Phoenix Suns||4||8||.333||2–4 in their last finals appearance, lost to the Bulls.|
|12||Utah Jazz||4||8||.333||2–4 in both their finals appearances, both to the Bulls.|
|6||Indiana Pacers||2||4||.333||2–4 in their only finals appearance, lost to the Lakers.|
|6||Washington Capitols||2||4||.333||Franchise defunct.|
|20||Washington Wizards||5||15||.250||All as Baltimore Bullets (0–4) and Washington Bullets (5–11).|
|10||Brooklyn Nets||2||8||.200||All as New Jersey Nets. 2–4 in their last finals appearance, lost to the Spurs.|
|5||Chicago Stags||1||4||.200||Franchise defunct.|
|9||Orlando Magic||1||8||.111||1–4 in their last finals appearance, lost to the Lakers.|
|4||Cleveland Cavaliers||0||4||.000||Swept by the Spurs.|
- NBA Finals: All-Time Champions
- The Historical Records Section of the NBA official site
- The Greatest Game Ever (Game 5, 1976 Finals)
- NBA.com: Greatest Finals Moments