As we go into day 12 of quarantine and no NBA basketball, One may start to become delusional and extremely bored (me), to the point where old NBA postseason games are the only thing keeping me going at this point. During these very uncertain and very BORING times, one must create activities and goals to help stay sane around the house.
In this post, I have decided to go over my personal top 10 NBA finals that you should consider rewatching if you want to flood with extraordinary talent during your social distancing break (this is what I’m calling it now).
Number 5: Detroit Pistons VS Los Angeles Lakers 2004 NBA Finals
This matchup was a final to remember, as the defending champions (LA Lakers) look to capture their fourth straight title in 5 years amid their dynasty championship run in 2000,2001 and 2002. The opponent was no other than the powerhouse Detroit Pistons that had a defensive duo at power forward and center, Rasheed and Ben Wallace. At the guard, the Pistons had Richard Hamilton, Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince on the wing.
With this superstar team that dominated the East for half a decade, they still needed to get past the legendary Kobe Bryant and Hall of Famers, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone! If you’ve never heard of Karl Malone, not to worry, I will be diving into him quite a bit, as I do think he is the most underrated NBA player of all time.
The 2004 NBA finals was a story of an utter breakdown between Kobe and Shaq, and a statement made by the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons were considered the underdogs and came out the undisputed Champions with a 4-1 win over the Lakers.
The key to the victory was the defence played by Ben Wallace and Rasheed Wallace. Ben Wallace, only 6’10, was still able to leap over Shaq to get the put-back layup/dunk. This strategy was a key to winning games, as the Lakers ran their offence through Shaq at the time. After all, Ben Wallace put up 22 rebounds and 18 points. All five starters on the Pistons put up 10+ points. It was a series that would define the Pistons in the next six years.
Number 4: Los Angeles Lakers vs the Boston Celtics – 2010 NBA Finals
The famous showdown that has been present for decades came to an end ten years ago. As the Legendary Kobe Bryant took on the 2008 NBA Finals MVP Paul Pierce and his superstar team. This NBA final went down to the wire, in a nail-biting game seven that edged the Los Angeles Lakers to their 16th NBA Championship. The MVP, Kobe Bryant, averaged 28.6 points a game throughout the series and edged the Celtics by four points in a final score of 83-79.
The finals were a long-awaited rematch for the two teams, as they both faced off in 2008 prior, and the Celtics took home the victory winning 4-2. This series was a matchup that would be on its third round hadn’t the Orlando Magic upset the Celtics in 2009. This seven-game blockbuster will keep you on the edge of the seat and sometimes make you forget that the Lakers would win the series. The Boston Celtics were still in their BIG 3 prime at this point, with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnet leading the charge with former NBA finals MVP Paul Pierce.
Number 3: Chicago Bulls vs the Utah Jazz – 1997 NBA Finals
The Series of the Legends if you ask me. Karl Malone and John Stockton against the GOAT himself, Scotty Pippen, and Denis Rodman. If you didn’t get the reference earlier, the GOAT refers ti Michael Jordan (for now).
You may have heard of the All-Star Chicago Bulls that sealed six NBA championships throughout the 90s. However, the Utah Jazz for another offensive force in general. With one of the best passers in NBA history, John Stockton and the dynamic talent that consisted of Karl Malone. John Stockton leads the league in all-time assists, and Karl Malone is second behind Kareem Abul Jabar in points. Their careers were very impressive and very long, then to a bitter end losing 4-2 to the Bulls.
The video quality may not be as good, but worth watching if you like close games. Game 5 ended 90-88 for the Chicago Bulls, 90-86 for the Bulls game six, which sealed the deal. This series was a defining series for Jordan and legitimized him as the most clutch player of all time. It’s just a shame that the dynamic duo on the Utah Jazz could not walk away with at least one championship.
Number 2: Cleveland Cavaliers VS Golden State Warriors – 2016 NBA Finals.
If you don’t like this final, you are most likely a Steph Curry fan. This was by far the most underdog comeback in the history of the Sport. No team has ever been down 3-1 in the NBA Finals and has come back to win it. The greatest upset with the Greatest player, LeBron James.
Now ill make myself clear. Jordan is the greatest offensive player and most clutch, but in terms of overall ability and impact on a team, it has to be LeBron.The Golden State Warriors were coming off of an incredible NBA season with 73 wins, and nine loses and were sure to defeat the Cavs in game five.
Then LeBron happened, putting up 29.7 points 11 rebounds and nine assists to push the Cavs through to the chip. With the help of his weapons Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving and Kyrie with the last-minute shot in the fourth quarter. LeBron was named the MVP, but the clutch gene of Kyrie Irving cannot be dismissed either. The nail biting final that I would recommend, the first championship for the city of Cleveland!
Number 1: Toronto Raptors VS the Golden State Warriors
Did you think I was not going to include this? I can remember this experience like it was yesterday. I was prancing down the streets after a few drinks to celebrate the game six victory that brought this beautiful city our first championship.
This is yet another underdog story. How the dynasty known as the Golden State Warriors continued their reign of Terror, except this time, it wasn’t King James that was going to get the wrong end of the stick.
It would be Kawhi Leonard that would hand them their final blow, in the last game ever to be played in the Oracle Stadium in Oakland, CA. The home of the Warriors for many years.
The Raptors started with an excellent 1-1 tie with Warriors going into Oakland, and the victories in games 3, 4, and 6 put the Raptors ahead. Kawhi Leonard came out with the NBA Finals MVP with 28.5 points, nine rebounds and four assists. The exemplary performances by Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakiam and Marc Gasol provided the foundation for Kawhi to power on through. If you are from Toronto or Canada, you know the feeling. The victory was not only the first Championship for Toronto but the first for the country, the Raptors victory will always have a place in Canadian hearts.