Top 5 NBA Rivalries Of All Time

An exciting, fast paced game, basketball is popular across the globe. Basketball is also known for its superstars, who have millions of fan following. Another interesting aspect about the game is the intense rivalries it has spawned over the years. To better understand the game, here’s a quick look at some of the most intense NBA rivalries of all time.

Jazz–Rockets rivalry – Origins of the rivalry between Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets can be traced back to 1990s. It had started out as a rivalry between dominant players in both teams. These teams are almost equally matched in terms of capabilities and number of wins in NBA playoffs.

Bulls–Knicks rivalry – Ever since Chicago Bulls entered NBA in 1960s, they have been consistently pitted against New York Knicks. The rivalry between these teams stems from various factors including city-specific reputation, their emergence as huge playoff contenders and presence of star players such as Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, Scottie Pippen and John Starks. The rivalry between these teams was at its peak during late 1980s to mid-1990s.

Cavaliers–Warriors rivalry – This NBA rivalry is relatively recent, having started as a result of face-offs in NBA Finals from 2015 and 2018. But even in this short time, the rivalry between Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors has been pretty intense. It shows that rivalries don’t necessarily have to be long-standing to enthrall the audience. While Warriors won three NBA Finals in 2015, 2017 and 2018, Cavaliers showed their mettle by winning the 2016 final.

Celtics–Lakers rivalry – When Boston Celtics go up against Los Angeles Lakers, sparks are expected to fly. Their rivalry can be traced back to 1959 when they faced each other in the NBA Finals for the first time. Since then, these teams have played against each other in NBA Finals for a record 12 times. Obviously when two teams often fight for the top slot, it naturally creates a lot of friction. The two teams are pretty close in terms of capabilities, as is evident in their all-time winning record of .590 (Celtics) and .596 (Lakers).

Lakers–Pistons rivalry – This is one of the most long-standing rivalries in NBA history. Its origins can be traced back to 1950s. The tough competition between Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons has been at its peak during three NBA finals – 1988, 1989, and 2004. These games were a true delight for fans, as Lakers iconic players fought against the team-oriented players from Pistons squad. Although Los Angeles Lakers have registered higher number of wins, Detroit Pistons are not very far behind in head-to-head statistics.

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