Top 5 Biggest Rivalries in the NBA Today
**Hivean friends! I hope today is treating you all well. Big shout out to my beloved Sports Talk Social tribe. Today I'm going to write about **the biggest rivalries in the NBA. There's a lot of historical beef that peaked during the 80's and 90's. Things have simmered down a bit but there is still a lot of feeling among the biggest rivalries in the NBA:
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Warriors-Cavs rivalry has developed only recently, beginning in the 2014-15 season as the Golden State and Cleveland met in four consecutive NBA Finals. The Warriors built a dynasty surrounding Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, winning three championships in four seasons. What makes the rivalry special is that the Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors blowing a seemingly unassailable 3-1 lead in a season which they achieved the best regular season record of all-time finish 73-9 (.890).
Cleveland would spice up the rivalry by mocking Golden State at a Halloween party, with tombstone cookies supposedly featuring the names of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. In a TNT interview, Warriors’ power forward Draymond Green stated: “I don’t have much love for the Cleveland Cavaliers at all, nor do I think they have much love for us...that’s the true meaning of building a rivalry”. Since Lebron James' departure, the rivalry has simmered in recent years as the Cavaliers faced a rebuild but Cleveland will never forget the championship that ended a 52-year title drought for the city.
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
The Bulls-Knicks rivalry is one of the biggest NBA rivalries of all-time. The rivalry peaked during the 90’s between the biggest city in the East and the biggest in the West. Chicago and New York always managed to find themselves matched up in intense and high-stakes games which was filled with spectacular dunks, trash talk and immense physicality.
Summing up the rivalry was the ultimate match-up of Michael Jordan vs. John Starks. It was a battle of the heavyweights with Starks one of the only few players who could make an impact and limit Jordan’s game. The rivalry was so intense that Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, friends off the court, were involved in a heated exchange during the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. The two had to be pulled apart following an exchange of angry words mid-court.
One of the most iconic moments of the rivalry was Scottie Pippen's slam dunk on Ewing. Following the dunk Pippen shoved an already unbalanced Ewing over and took it a step further by walking over Ewing. Pippen then taunted Spike Lee who was on the sidelines and earned himself a technical foul.
LA Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
The Celtics and Lakers were always destined to be the biggest rivalry in the NBA as the two oldest teams in the league. The rivalry, like most, peaked in the 80's. Throughout the 80's it was either the Celtics or the Lakers who would be competing in the NBA Finals.
The Larry Bird and Magic Johnson rivalry is among the greatest in NBA history and the 1986 Celtics (67-15) and the 1987 Lakers (65-17) NBA championship teams are considered to be among the best teams in NBA history.
Boston are historically the better team in the rivalry with a 9-3 series record when both compete in the NBA Finals as well as a better head-to-head record. In the 2020 NBA Finals, the Lakers also matched the Celtics 17 championships to both become the most successful franchises in history. Both the Lakers and Celtics have won more than 45% of all NBA championships in history making the Lakers-Celtics rival the biggest in NBA history.
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