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The Best NBA Finals in the Last 25 Years

Getting Ready for the 2023 NBA Finals

The 2023 NBA Finals are here, and the eighth seed Miami Heat from the Eastern Conference will face the No. 1 seed from the West, Denver Nuggets. NBA Finals odds have the Nuggets set as the overwhelming favorites to win the series, but it has the potential to be very exciting.

Both teams have talented stars in Jimmy Butler and Nikola Jokić that have dominated the playoffs. There is also some bad blood between these teams to add some NBA news and more storylines to the series. In 2021 Jokić pushed a Heat player in the back during a game, which sparked a shoving match on the court that continued to bubble over.

The Best NBA Finals in the Last 25 Years
Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets | Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP

When it is over, this series could be part of this conversation as one of the best in the last 25 years. It has star power, with Jokić being a two-time MVP and Butler having one of the best NBA Finals performances in 2020, being a player that always rises to the moment. NBA betting still feels good about backing the Nuggets.

Honorable Mentions over the Last 25 Years

Some honorable mentions are series with great storylines or unsuspected outcomes by NBA predictions.

Two big ones are the series between the Heat and Dallas Mavericks in 2006 and 2011, which were opposites. In 2006, most NBA picks were sided with the Mavericks, the second seed in the West, winning 60 games. The Heat would upset the Mavericks to win The Finals behind Dwyane Wade’s fantastic series.

Then in 2011, the Mavericks would be the underdog, facing the Heat’s big three of LeBron James, Wade, and Chris Bosh. However, Dirk Nowitzki would get his revenge, winning the series and becoming Finals MVP. Those two Finals, together, made an incredible story.

The Boston Celtics in 2008 would win The NBA Finals after making a massive move to trade for Kevin Garnett and make a super team. This series would go six games, with NBA betting odds on the Celtics’ side. However, with the Celtics winning, it would spark the idea for other franchises to create their own super teams.

Finally, it is hard not to include the 1998 NBA Finals in this list. It was the year that the Last Dance Documentary is about, ending with one of the biggest shots in NBA history, made by Micheal Jordan. That series would cap a fantastic career for Jordan with the Chicago Bulls, completing two three-peats.

Series With Game 7s

Over the last 25 years, there have been four Game 7s in The NBA Finals. One was the rematch of the 2008 NBA Finals between the Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. That created a storyline fitting of seven games. The Lakers came back from being down 3-2 in the series to get Kobe Bryant his fifth ring and revenge for 2008.

Next, in 2005, the Detroit Pistons had become a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference, and they met the San Antonio Spurs, a franchise that had dominated most of the last two decades. They would play a great Game 7 with 23 lead changes, but the Spurs finished on top, winning their third NBA Championship since 1999.

The Spurs would face the big-three Heat in 2013, which would come to be known for the Ray Allen Game 6 shot. The series seemed to be over with two minutes left till the Heat came alive, and Allen hit a three almost at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. Allen would help get the win in overtime, and then the Heat won Game 7 to win back-to-back championships.

The 2016 NBA Finals

This was the fourth Game 7 in the last 25 years and the best NBA Finals series during that period. It is hard to argue against a Cleveland Cavaliers team coming back from down 3-1 in the Finals to beat the 73-9 Golden State Warriors. That is the best record in league history and the first time any team had come back from down 3-1 in the NBA Finals.

The series contains storylines from Draymond Green’s suspension and forgotten amazing Game 7. On top of that, James and Kyrie Irving had impressive scoring performances to begin the series’ comeback. Let’s not forget about James’ block in Game 7 that won the series or Irving hitting one of the clutchest shots ever over Stephen Curry.

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