Basketball fans all over the world can agree that there’s nothing quite like experiencing an unforgettable NBA game. From nail-biting finishes to awe-inspiring performances, basketball has given us some of the most unforgettable moments in sports history. As a die-hard fan, I’ve spent countless hours reliving some of the greatest games in NBA history and narrowing down a list of the top 5 games of all time. These games are the perfect blend of skill, strategy, and sheer talent, and they’ve left an indelible mark on the sport. So, whether you’re a casual fan or a hardcore basketball junkie, join me on a trip down memory lane as we relive some of the most thrilling moments in NBA history. Get ready to witness buzzer beaters, game-winning shots, and some of the most iconic moments in basketball history. Let’s dive in!
Criteria for choosing the best NBA games
Choosing the best NBA games of all time is no easy feat. There have been countless games that have left fans on the edge of their seats, and each game has its own unique story to tell. However, after careful consideration, I’ve narrowed down my list to the top 5 games that I believe are the best of the best.
The criteria for choosing these games were based on several factors, including the significance of the game, the quality of play, and the impact it had on the sport. These games were not only memorable for their thrilling finishes, but they also changed the course of NBA history. They were defining moments that will forever be etched in the minds of basketball fans around the world.
The top 5 best NBA games of all time
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the top 5 best NBA games of all time.
Game 1: 1970 NBA Finals Game 7 – New York Knicks vs. Los Angeles Lakers
The first game on our list is the 1970 NBA Finals Game 7 between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. This game is widely regarded as one of the greatest games in NBA history and for good reason. The Knicks and Lakers had battled it out in a grueling series that was tied at 3-3 heading into Game 7.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to pull away. The Knicks were led by Willis Reed, who had injured his thigh in Game 5 and was uncertain to play in Game 7. However, Reed came out onto the court to a thunderous ovation and hit his first two shots of the game, setting the tone for the Knicks.
The Lakers, led by Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain, fought back and tied the game with just over a minute left. However, it was the Knicks’ Walt Frazier who stole the show, scoring 36 points and leading his team to victory. The Knicks won the game 113-99, securing their first NBA championship in franchise history.
Game 2: 1980 NBA Finals Game 6 – Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The 1980 NBA Finals Game 6 between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Philadelphia 76ers is next on our list. This game is known for being the defining moment in Magic Johnson’s career and for cementing his status as one of the greatest players of all time.
In Game 6, the Lakers were facing elimination and were without their star center, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who had injured his ankle in Game 5. Magic Johnson, who was just a rookie at the time, stepped up and played one of the greatest games in NBA Finals history.
Johnson played every position on the court, scoring 42 points, grabbing 15 rebounds, and dishing out 7 assists. He led the Lakers to a 123-107 victory, securing their first championship since 1972. Johnson’s performance in Game 6 earned him the Finals MVP award and cemented his place in NBA history.
Game 3: 1998 NBA Finals Game 6 – Chicago Bulls vs. Utah Jazz
The 1998 NBA Finals Game 6 between the Chicago Bulls and the Utah Jazz is next on our list. This game was significant for several reasons, including the fact that it was Michael Jordan’s last game as a Chicago Bull.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams trading blows throughout. However, it was Jordan who once again stole the show, hitting a game-winning shot with just 5.2 seconds left on the clock. The shot, which has become known as “The Last Shot,” secured the Bulls’ sixth NBA championship in eight years and cemented Jordan’s place as the greatest basketball player of all time.
Game 4: 2016 NBA Finals Game 7 – Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Golden State Warriors
The 2016 NBA Finals Game 7 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors is next on our list. This game was significant for several reasons, including the fact that it was the first time in NBA history that a team had come back from a 3-1 deficit to win the championship.
The game was a defensive battle, with both teams struggling to score throughout. However, it was the Cavaliers’ LeBron James who once again proved why he is one of the greatest players of all time. James recorded a triple-double, scoring 27 points, grabbing 11 rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists.
The game was tied at 89-89 with just under a minute left when Kyrie Irving hit a clutch three-pointer to give the Cavaliers the lead. The Warriors had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds, but their last-second shot missed the mark. The Cavaliers won the game 93-89, securing their first NBA championship in franchise history and ending the city of Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought.
Game 5: 2013 NBA Finals Game 6 – Miami Heat vs. San Antonio Spurs
The final game on our list is the 2013 NBA Finals Game 6 between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs. This game is widely regarded as one of the greatest games in NBA history and for good reason.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, with both teams trading blows throughout. However, it was the Heat’s LeBron James who once again proved why he is one of the greatest players of all time. James recorded a triple-double, scoring 32 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing out 11 assists.
The Spurs had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but missed several key free throws that would have sealed the victory. The Heat took advantage of the Spurs’ mistakes and hit several clutch shots to force the game into overtime. In overtime, the Heat pulled away, winning the game 103-100 and forcing a Game 7. The Heat would go on to win the championship in Game 7, cementing their place in NBA history.
While these five games are the best of the best, there are several other games that deserve honorable mentions.
The 1984 NBA Finals Game 4 between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers, the 1992 NBA Finals Game 1 between the Chicago Bulls and the Portland Trail Blazers, and the 2013 NBA Finals Game 7 between the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs are just a few of the other games that could have easily made this list.
These games are significant for several reasons. They showcased the very best of the sport and the players who made it great. They were defining moments that changed the course of NBA history and left an indelible mark on the sport.
What makes these games the best is the sheer talent, skill, and strategy that was on display. They were performances that transcended the sport and left fans in awe. They were games that will forever be etched in the minds of basketball fans around the world.
In conclusion, reliving the thrills of the top 5 best NBA games of all time was a trip down memory lane that reminded me why I fell in love with basketball in the first place. These games were more than just wins and losses, they were moments that defined a generation of players and left an indelible mark on the sport. From buzzer beaters to game-winning shots, these games had it all. Whether you’re a casual fan or a hardcore basketball junkie, these games are a must-watch for anyone who loves the sport.