Top 10: Most Intense Rivalries In The History Of The NBA

Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers


There is nothing better for a rivalry than to face in an NBA Final three times in a row. Warriors and Cavaliers have done it and are still amongst the best teams in the NBA. The reissue of a new Warriors- Cavs Finals is in sight. In addition, this duel has risen with the duel between Stephen Curry and LeBron James. The 2015 ring went to Curry, who adds two MVPs against four from James who won the 2016 championship for the first time against the city of Cleveland. In the 2017 finals with Durant coming in the mix, things got easier for the Warriors and now ‘The King” is trying to build a new team to reach the finals stronger and beat this super team.

Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers


The rivalry between Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics is as old as the NBA itself. Between 1959 and 2012, both teams have been measured in 12 Finals with a 9-3 balance in favor of the Massachusetts franchise. The clashes between the two teams reached its highest level in the 80s with the duels between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson that put the NBA at the center of attention in the United States. This rivalry was renewed with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, in the Celtics; and Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher, in the Lakers. These players fought in two Finals: each franchise took one.

Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks


The Big Apple against the Windy City. A rivalry that had its moment of greatness in the early 90s. From 1989 to 1996, the Knicks and Bulls met seven times in the playoffs, with Chicago winning six times. With Ewing, Oakley and Starks, the Big Apple fans dreamed of regaining past glories with an aggressive physical and hard game against the Bulls, but Jordan always had other plans with performances as superb as his 55 points at Madison around the corner. his retirement.

Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks


“The Knicks Killer”. That Reggie Miller’s nickname after his displays before the New York Knicks during the playoffs and the Regular Season, earning the wrath of New York fans. In addition, it will always be in the memory of fans the clash at the foot of the court with Spike Lee, including the legendary extra motivation of the Pacers player to score 39 points (25 in the fourth quarter) in the fifth game of the East end of 2000. The two teams met on six occasions between 1993 and 2000.

Los Angeles Lakers vs Sacramento Kings


This rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings accelerated in the early 2000s when the playoff duels were described (softly) as intense by the geographic closeness of both franchises and the ‘enmity’ between players: Shaquille O’Neal vs Vlade Divac and Richard Fox vs Doug Christie. The Lakers defeated the Kings in the postseason three years in a row (2000 to 2002), even in the final of West 2002 with one of the most controversial matches that are remembered: 3-2 in favor of Sacramento and with a lead in the last quarter of the sixth match, but several doubtful arbitrations ended with 27 free throws for the Angelenos and the victory.

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons

Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan Portrait

The ‘enmity’ between the Chicago Bulls and the Detroit Pistons began in the 1980s and was one of the biggest remembered in NBA history with four consecutive playoff duel between 1988 and 1991. Isiah Thomas and Bill Laimbeer defeated, the civilian and the criminal, the Jordan Bulls in three crosses before 1991, when a shameful sweep of Chicago triggered another of the most shameful images of the NBA: the departure of Pistons players through the locker room tunnel before end the game.

San Antonio Spurs vs Phoenix Suns


It began in the early 90s with David ‘Admiral’ Robinson leading the San Antonio Spurs against the Phoenix Suns of Charles Barkley, Dan Majerle and Kevin Johnson. The four playoff duel between 1992 and 1998, were in tables: 2-2. But the enmity did not stop and the next generation caught the hatred of their elders. Six times between 2000 and 2010, Spurs and Suns fought in the postseason. The Texan team only fell once, but in each of Tim Duncan’s duels against Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire they were high-flying. In 2007, the rivalry found its boiling point, when both teams, two of the best in the NBA at the time, were measured in the second round of the playoffs, with brawling included by a tough action from Horry on Nash. Raja Bell and Stoudemire were suspended and the Spurs won in that series.

Los Angeles Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs


This rivalry in the Western Conference was stimulated in the early years of 2000 with stars like Tim Duncan, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and David Robinson fighting for the championship. The teams met in playoffs on seven occasions (1999-2013) with 4-3 in favor of the Angelenos. The one who won the series, reached the Finals of the NBA.

Miami Heat vs New York Knicks


It was one of the most intense rivalries in the modern NBA. The animosity between the Knicks and the Heat was simmering since the late 90s … and that was before Pat Riley left his position as head coach in New York for the coach / executive in Miami. Both were measured four years in a row in the playoffs since 1997 and each of the series went to seven games, causing hatred to grow and grow …

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Detroit Pistons

NBA Finals Game 4: Lakers v Pistons

Three NBA Finals (1988, 1989 and 2004) and opposing play styles. Those were the ingredients to create another historical rivalry in the NBA. Despite the fact that the ‘enmity’ dates back to the 1950s, the most intense moments came with the duels for the ring. The first was for Los Angeles in a special duel between Isiah Thomas and Magic Johnson that was repeated a year later with a win for MoTown. In the last, the Pistons defeated a Lakers team with Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Gary Payton and Karl Malone.

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