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10 best Game Sevens in NBA history

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The NBA playoffs are already interesting, but when you add Game 7 to the mix, the situation gets a lot more exciting. The Association has had plenty of these games over the years, but there’s no doubt that some have made a bigger impact than others.

That’s why today we’re going to take a look at the top playoff games of all time, more specifically, the best game sevens ever. With all the matches that have taken place over the years, it’s hard to find the best Game 7 in NBA history. Still, this is our top 10 in this big topic.

1988 NBA Eastern Conference semifinals

We start off this list with one of the most memorable games in Boston Celtics history. The C’s were used to dominating the Eastern Conference every year, which drove opponents crazy and made them fight hard to dethrone the Greens.

The Atlanta Hawks were one of those teams, and they came close to beating the Celtics in 1988 behind Dominique Wilkins’ performances. However, his 47 points in this Game 7 wasn’t enough against Larry Bird and co., who ended up getting the 118-116 win.

1970 NBA Finals

This game is considered a big upset after everything that happened before the start of the same. Willis Reed inspired his team to a big win against the Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West-led Los Angeles Lakers. Reed was dealing with a thigh injury early in the series, but that didn’t stop him from going against Chamberlain during this game.


Reed scored the first four points of the game, which sparked the Knicks and led them to a 113-99 win to secure the NBA championship.

2010 NBA Finals

The 2010 NBA Finals featured the biggest rivals in the league in another duel for the Larry O’Brien trophy. This game wasn’t smooth on the offensive side of the ball, but it was a hard-fought duel that was won in the trenches.

The Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, pushed hard to beat the Celtics and take revenge for the 2008 Finals loss. In the end, they came out victorious with an 83-79 result to earn the Lakers’ 16th championship.

2015 NBA Western Conference first round

It’s not common to see first-round games making it to these lists, but this one was remarkable for a variety of reasons. The veteran San Antonio Spurs faced the hungry Los Angeles Clippers for a chance to make it to the second round of the playoffs.

This series was incredibly entertaining from Game 1. They exchanged wins until the final game, which was played in Los Angeles. After a terrific game, the Clippers advanced to the next round, with Chris Paul letting everything out after the end of the series.


2002 Western Conference Finals

During the early 2000s, it was hard to find a team capable of competing against the Los Angeles Lakers. That changed when the Sacramento Kings showed up and tried to dethrone the Purple and Gold to advance to the NBA Finals.

Amid controversial games, the Lakers came back from a 3-2 deficit, beating the Kings in an entertaining Game 7 that sent them to their third consecutive NBA Finals appearance.

1998 NBA Eastern Conference Finals

The Chicago Bulls of the 90s didn’t play many Games 7, but one of them was absolutely memorable for fans and neutral viewers. The Indiana Pacers were keen to dethrone Michael Jordan and co., and this appeared to be their best chance to do so.

Even though their defense did incredibly well against Jordan and Scottie Pippen, the Pacers couldn’t stop the Bulls, missing out on a big opportunity in a hard-fought game that ended up going Chicago’s way to complete their second three-peat in eight years.

2006 Western Conference semifinals

During the 2000s, the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs developed a big rivalry. Their playoff duels elevated that rivalry and this game was probably the cherry on the top. With the Mavs taking a big lead early in the game to the Spurs threatening to come back and steal the win, that Game 7 had everything fans could ask for.

Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan battled it out in a duel that the German star won to lead his team to the Western Conference Finals and then the NBA Finals.

2019 NBA Eastern Conference semifinals

This is definitely a contender to be considered the best Game 7 in NBA history. The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers starred in a very entertaining series that remained that way until the very end.

An electrifying Game 7 in Toronto saw Kawhi Leonard hit the series-clinching, game-winning shot to send the Sixers home and the Raptors to the East Finals. To this day, that game is well remembered among NBA fans and that won’t change anytime soon.

2013 NBA Finals

The 2013 NBA Finals is one of the most entertaining series in recent history. The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs were keen to win the title that year and they didn’t stop until one team was crowned champions.

Following a dramatic Game 6, the two franchises were ready to battle it out in Miami to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy. In a hard-fought game, the Heat beat the Spurs to win their second consecutive NBA championship.

2016 NBA Finals

It doesn’t get better than this, as the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers played this game not only for glory but to make NBA history.

After going down 3-1, the Cavaliers fought hard to force Game 7 and once they were there, there was no turning back. Led by LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, the Cavs pulled off a historic comeback, winning the championship after a terrific game full of clutch plays that saw Cleveland win their first professional championship in a long time.

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