How Steph Curry and the Warriors Reclaimed Their Crown

The greatest compliment you can give Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors is that they made this seem pretty ordinary. Over the last few seasons, the Warriors have been as snakebitten as any team in the league, felled by injuries and unable to muster enough serotonin to muscle through mid-winter midwestern road trips. But as the Warriors polished off the Boston Celtics with a 103-90 Game 6 win, all that seemed to melt away—the ghosts of previous disappointments were finally able to pass through to the other side. 

In this sense, when Klay Thompson is pumping in dagger 3s, it’s easy to forget that he missed two full seasons and over 900 days with a torn ACL and a ruptured Achilles; there was once a world where Gary Payton II was prepping to join the Warriors as a video coordinator and Andrew Wiggins was a flighty near-bust, but it feels far removed from the one we live in now.  For most teams, a championship requires some elusive potion of talent and luck; for the Warriors, winning seems like kismet. They were great and then they were bad and now—will you look at that!—they’re great once again. In its first post-COVID season, the NBA’s new normal looks a lot like its old normal. Real 2015 vibes, indeed.

“These last two months of the playoffs, the last three years, these last 48 hours—every bit of it has been an emotional roller coaster on and off the floor,” Curry said after the game. “And you get goosebumps just thinking about, you know, all those snapshots and episodes that we went through to get back here, individually, collectively. And that’s why I said I think this championship hits different. That’s why I have so many emotions, and still will, just because of what it took to get back here.”

While this Warriors’ championship run is painted as a story of transformation, every scintilla of Golden State’s success was enabled by Curry’s constancy. Yes, their sclerotic supporting cast from 2019 turned over and gave way to a new cast of contributors, but the Warriors reemerged as a powerhouse because of what stayed the same. Namely, everything works because Steph Curry, just as he’s done for years, makes everything work. 

All the adjustments and improvements that helped lift the Warriors out of the NBA’s working class can be traced back to Curry. Even during their listless playoffs-less season last year, Curry’s individual brilliance kept them philosophically coherent, giving the likes of Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins the time and space to adapt to the Warriors’ scheme; it’s hard to imagine Wiggins morphing into an elite glue guy or Jordan Poole doing a solid Steph Curry impression without last season serving as a protracted rehearsal dinner. Curry isn’t a system player; he’s a system, player

If Curry last year provided the Warriors with a nurturing floor, his efforts in the Finals showed just how high he can raise their ceiling. Save for a Game 5 stinker, Curry was at his imperial best against the Celtics, averaging 31.2 points, six rebounds and five assists per game and taking home his first Finals MVP as a result. Pitted against the upper-case Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart and a historically dominant Boston defense led by Robert Williams (the actual, lower-case defensive player of the year), Curry made them all look like chumps. Boston hung back in drop coverage against the pick-and-roll, daring Curry to beat them with pull-up threes—so he did. 

This was peak Curry, blending the kinetic cutting that kick-started the Warriors’ dynasty and the on-ball assertiveness that has sustained it; he was simultaneously the best off-screen shooter and the best pull-up shooter in the playoffs. To their credit, Boston mounted an admirable effort to stem Curry’s scoring alluvia. Still, Curry is so deadly that he ensures that any minor success is a qualitative, rather than quantitative one. As Boston discovered, it doesn’t really matter if you contest shots and force Curry to hoist prayers over a seven-footer from a furlong away from the hoop because he’s still going to make them. 

Accordingly, the Warriors won Game 6—and the Larry O’B—by breaking Boston in quotidien, cumulative ways. On a second by second basis, playing the Warriors is exhausting, equal parts three-card monty and boot camp obstacle course. With Curry and Thompson and Poole scampering about, defenders must be able to instinctually communicate and download instructions, toggling assignments between all five players on the fly. It’s tricky enough to do that once, let alone six times on one possession, let alone on 100 possessions during an entire game. To wit, the Warriors’ super power is their ability to compound minor mistakes into game-ending runs—a few minutes of sloppiness is enough to spark a 21-0 Golden State run; a couple of botched assignments and Curry will put you to bed with a title-clinching 13 point fourth quarter.  

Now that Steph Curry has earned his first Finals MVP and secured the last piece of meaningful hardware that’s eluded him, it’s naturally time to reconsider his place in the NBA’s pantheon. At the very least, he’s graduated from some spot in the nebulous top ten discussion and entered the Secret Beef Room of true greatness alongside Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain (conversely, Klay Thompson made room for very public beef of his own). Whereas matters of “legacy” and things of that nature are a distracting sideshow, every Warrior seemed acutely aware of how important this series was to them. It was a matter of revenge against the doubters, but also redemption for both the team’s principles and its principals. 

“There were a lot of tears shed,” said Thompson in a post-game interview. “I knew it was a possibility. But to see it in real time, holy cannoli.”

How sweet it is.  


Who Has the Most NBA Championships?

The history of the NBA is a storied but albeit relatively short one. Every big four sports league in the United States has eclipsed 100 seasons except for the NBA, who is playing out their 75th season currently. Even more puzzling is how dominant just a handful of franchises have been. Of the 75 NBA Finals nearly 70% of them have been won by the same five teams, with the Lakers and Celtics making up 34 of those championships. So who are the other teams to dominate the NBA over its history? Here are the teams with the most NBA championships.

5.) San Antonio Spurs – 5 Championships
1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014
(Photo by John W. McDonough /Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

In 1976 the Nuggets, Nets, Pacers and Spurs joined the NBA in a merger with the ABA. The Pacers and Nets have never won a championship, and the Nuggets have never even been to the NBA Finals. The Spurs on the other hand have turned themselves into one of the most iconic franchises in the NBA. After a number of years contending in the 90’s with big-man David Robinson, it looked as though the Spurs were on the cusp of rebuilding. That was until they selected Tim Duncan with the first pick in 1997. He would help win the Spurs their first title in 1999, but the winning was just getting started. After drafting Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili the Spurs had built the big three that would dominate the 2000’s. The most profound personnel on the Spurs has to be head coach Greg Popovich. He has etched his name into the all-time coaching wins record and cemented himself as one of the most important figures in NBA history. Over the course of their fourteen years together Popovich, Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili won 575 games, an NBA record for a trio of teammates.

4.) Chicago Bulls – 6 Championships
1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
(Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

There is no team in NBA history that has done more to grow the popularity of basketball than the 90’s Chicago Bulls. Growing up in the Chicagoland area it was impossible not to watch a Bulls game and hear someone say “it’ll never be like the 90’s again”. And they may be right, because no one team has won as consistently in the modern NBA than these Bull’s teams did. In 1984 the Bulls drafted a high-flying intense guard out of North Carolina by the name of Michael Jordan. After torching the league and winning a number of scoring titles, MVPs, and even a DPOY, Jordan still didn’t have a title. After losing to the Pistons in multiple years, Jordan and the Bulls finally defeated them in 1991 to advance to their first NBA Finals. After taking out the Lakers in the finals, it seemed Jordan had cracked the code on how to win. The Bulls would go on to appear in five more NBA Finals and win each one. Since Jordan’s retirement the Bulls have never been able to get back to their winning ways, only appearing in one Eastern Conference finals.

3.) Golden State Warriors – 6 Championships
1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017, 2018
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The Golden State Warriors are one of the most storied franchises the NBA has. They won the first ever NBA championship during the inaugural 1946-1947 season. They would find mild success in the early days of the NBA winning two more NBA championships. The Warriors were consistently a playoff team but never real contenders. That was until they drafted two time MVP and all-time leader in three pointers made, Stephen Curry. Building around Curry with splash brother Klay Thompson and enforcer Draymond Green, the newest NBA dynasty was built. Giving Steve Kerr the helm before the 2015 season was a huge gamble for the Warriors that more than paid off. His ability to keep his team motivated while giving them immense freedom puts him in a league of his own as a player-coach. On the Cusp of their seventh championship this year, the Warriors can break the tie with Chicago for third all time in championships if they can close out against the Celtics.

2.) Boston Celtics- 17 Championships
1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 2008
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

There may never be a team as dominant as Bill Russell’s Celtics. Over a thirteen year span Russell led the Celtics to eleven NBA championships. Running plays on the bench was hall-of-fame coach Red Auerbach. Auerbach would be so confident in his Celtics that he would routinely light celebratory cigars before the final game was even over. The Celtics remained dominant over the 70’s winning two championships, but their biggest challenge would come during the 80’s. The NBA was on a major decline and the league was struggling to stay afloat. Enter Larry Bird plus Magic Johnson and your league is saved. The two superstars spurred one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports. They would face off in three separate NBA Finals with the Lakers winning two of those matchups. The Celtics would find their most recent success in 08’ after pairing Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo with Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Overall the Celtics have 22 NBA Finals appearances.

1.) Los Angeles Lakers – 17 Championships
1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2020
(Photo by Keith Torrie/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

The NBA’s first real dynasty wore purple and gold, but they didn’t play in Los Angeles. Before the days of playing in front of Hollywood elites, the Lakers called Minneapolis their home. The Lakers won five championships while playing in Minneapolis backed by big-man George Mikan. Despite their winning ways the Lakers couldn’t draw a crowd and subsequently jumped ship to Los Angeles. After a decade of losing to the Celtics in the finals, the Lakers were sold to Jerry Buss. Buss would change sports entertainment forever, turning the Lakers ‘Forum’ into Showtime. They would win five championships in an eight year span with hall-of-famers Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The Lakers would get back to winning ways when acquiring Kobe Bryant on a draft night trade in 1996. They would pair Bryant with superstar center Shaquille O’Neal and the rest was history. Most recently LeBron James brought his talent to the purple and gold and won the 2020 NBA Finals amidst the Covid-19 pandemic in the ‘bubble’. That championship in 2022 would tie the Celtics for most NBA championships. Since the Lakers have been to 32 finals and the Celtics have only been to 22, they rank first on this list… for now.


The Golden State Warriors Prove Their Toughness, Win Game 5

In Game 5 of the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors played badly—they went 9-40 from behind the arc and got doubled up on the offensive glass; Stephen Curry ended the game without making a single three-pointer, snapping a streak of 132 consecutive playoff games (and 233 consecutive combined playoff and regular season games) with at least one triple. For the most part, the Celtics’ defense has befuddled the Warriors, taking away the automatic advantages that jumpstart Golden State’s whirligig attack. And yet, the Warriors are now one win away from their fourth title in eight years, stealing a 104-94 win from the Boston Celtics to take a 3-2 series lead. 

More than anything, this toughness has been the foundation of the Warriors’ dynasty, even if it’s been obscured by their flashy offense and near-untouchable runs with Kevin Durant. In 2015, Golden State steeled themselves against Memphis Grizzlies and Cleveland Cavaliers teams that tried to arm-bar them into submission; in 2018 and 2019, they beat the Houston Rockets, who designed their team with the express purpose of gunking up the Warriors’ offense. And now, against the Celtics, the Warriors are once again refusing to be punked by a bigger, more physical team. Just as Robert Pattinson is a pretty-boy actor with surprising artistic depth, the Warriors are a finesse team with a hidden store of grit. 

With their offense largely throttled by Boston’s defense, Golden State ratcheted up their defense, simply deciding to no longer let Boston score. Although Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have been able to sustain the Celtics’ attack with their shot-making chutzpah, the Warriors preyed on the duo’s sloppy ball-handling. Golden State tried to confuse Boston in the first four games of the series by sending late help to try to disguise their rotations, but made a conscious effort to clog gaps on the perimeter in Game 5. Every Boston drive thwarted before it could really begin, repelled by waves of prying hands. Visibly frazzled by the Warriors’ new-found aggression, Tatum and Brown combined for nine turnovers and just eight assists. Collectively, the Celtics coughed up the ball 18 times, dropping to 0-7 in the postseason when they turned the ball over more than 16 times. 

Beyond forcing Boston into crushing, momentum-swinging gaffes, Golden State turned nearly every Boston possession into a series of minor indignities. After granting Boston switches without too much protest to start the series, Golden State labored to protect Steph Curry and Jordan Poole more from Tatum and Brown in Game 5. Save for Boston’s scintillating third quarter, the Celtics struggled to target Curry and Poole, wasting precious time in the process; the Celtics only took 12 shots with more than 15 seconds left on the shot clock—for reference,  Golden State generated 28 early looks. 

If being able to consistently create an advantage is the most elemental aspect of being a good offense, the Warriors clamped the Celtics by stemming any potential problem before it could arise. A comprehensive list of things Boston couldn’t do: score in the paint, score in the midrange, score in isolation, score in transition, create shots for each other. A comprehensive list of the things they could do: bomb semi-contested threes and suffer. 

As such, Golden State’s defensive effort was as necessary as it was impressive. While the Warriors offense wasn’t quite as toothless as Boston’s, Curry’s uncharacteristic stinker still required them to recalibrate on the fly. Gone were the heliocentric, Steph Curry spread pick-and-rolls that proved to be such fertile offensive ground in Game 4; in its place, was a more egalitarian approach featuring contributions from the slightly lesser lights like Klay Thompson (21 points, five three-pointers), Draymond Green (11 points, seven rebounds, six assists), Gary Payton II (15 points on 6-8 shooting) and Andrew Wiggins (26 points and 13 rebounds???). 

Accordingly, Game 5 marked the latest chapter in the ongoing Wiggins renaissance. Tasked with slowing Tatum and Brown, he provided pressurized on-ball at the point of attack—on the 47.8 possessions that Wiggins matched-up with Tatum, Boston managed just 29 points as a team. Offensively, he overwhelmed Boston with his athleticism, nailing 12 of his 17 two-point field goal attempts and racking up a team-high 26 points. Wiggins’s Maple Jordan nickname has always been a misnomer—he’s Maple Pippen, an athletic stopper who offers as much offense as he needs to. Despite sharing the court with Brown, Tatum, Curry, Green and Thompson, the former 2014 #1 pick was clearly the best player on the court. Here was a game as surreal and odd as a Sopranos dream sequence—a fish talks, a horse is in the living room, Andrew Wiggins can’t be stopped. 

If the Warriors can close out Boston, they won’t be a particularly convincing champion, but that’s irrelevant. What they lack in raw talent, the Warriors make up for with their resolve. Stick-to-it-ness, spunk, feist, guts, whatever you want to call it: they have it. The Golden State Warriors are one win from a championship because they’re totally unphased by being one win from a championship.

Whereas Boston melted into a puddle of nerves and neuroses in the fourth quarter of Game 5, the Warriors were unmoved. Draymond Green rebounded from his Game 4 benching and returned to his destructive ways; Andrew Wiggins shed the sluggishness that harpooned his Minnesota tenure and dominated the biggest game of his career. Steph Curry had the worst postseason game of his career and the Warriors still withstood a second-half comeback from a more athletic and more talented team because, of course, they did; this is just what they do. For the Warriors, success is a (Golden) state of mind. 


Steph Curry Can Be A Conventional Superstar, Too

Stephen Curry is not like those other stars. He’s not Lebron James, dictating the movement of the other nine players on the court like a traffic cop; he’s not Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, who turned isolation scoring into high-stakes morality plays. In his game, there’s none of the dribble-dribble-dribble burden that James Harden and Luka Doncic carry, nor the rimward aggression that’s made Giannis Antetokounmpo the reigning Finals MVP. Instead, Curry’s signature play is him running around, playing tag with his defender until he finally gets open enough that Draymond Green passes him the ball, which he then almost immediately shoots. 

Whereas other stars usually provide every signal and cue for their team, Curry has never really had to shoulder that same ball-dominating load. Playing alongside Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Green, Curry was long able to follow his bliss, the hardwood version of a trust-fund kid being free to become an artist or a public defender or, uh, a sports blogger rather than joining a money-making, soul-sucking corporate machine.

For the first time since the beginning of the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty in 2014/2015, Curry is playing the exact style that he’s long eschewed. While a simple Curry pick-and-roll has always been the Warriors’ ace-in-the-hole, it’s been shelved only for the most important moments—abusing it would be indecorous, if not downright gauche. But piloting a barren roster against a historically great Boston Celtics’ defense that’s daring Curry to beat them on his own, he’s ramped up his pick-and-roll volume to career-high levels. During his virtuosic Game 4, Curry ran 45 pick-and-rolls, after ending just 6.7 possessions as a pick-and-roll ball-handler during the regular season. In doing so, Curry poured in 43 of the most impressive points in NBA history.

The thing that makes Curry such a dangerous pick-and-roll player is that he turns normal defensive schemes into utter nonsense. NBA defenses are calibrated to address a specific list of possible problems, none of which are relevant against Curry. Trying to guard Curry the same way you’d guard DJ Augustin or Chris Paul is about as effective as trying to defeat an earthquake with karate; there’s not much you can do once your entire team is dragged out onto unsteady, shifting ground. 

If most teams focus on limiting Curry at the expense of letting his costars run amok, the Celtics have done the inverse. Accordingly, they’re the first team in recent postseason memory to play drop coverage against Curry and the Warriors, albeit a bastardized version of drop coverage where the big man still ventures way out beyond the three-point line. This is not only a bet on their personnel to hold their own against Curry, but that it’s not humanly possible to win a playoff series with a heavy diet of vertiginous 30-foot pull-up jumpers. It just can’t be, right?

So far, the answer is that it might be. On a macro-level, the Celtics are holding the Warriors’ offense to just 110.5 points per 100 possessions, down from 117.8 points during their first three series. Through four games, Boston has more or less excised once-dangerous guys like Draymond Green and Jordan Poole from the run of play; the Celtics have refused to cede the space behind Curry that the other Warriors need to thrive.

On a micro-level, the Celtics are getting torched by Curry—his 34.3 points per game and 66.3 percent True Shooting have him on pace to claim his first Finals MVP, whether Golden State wins a ring or not. No matter how far out Boston sends its bigs to pick up Curry, they leave him with too much space. By the very nature of playing drop, the big man has to backpedal as Curry approaches, creating a window for Curry to fire.  

Over the last eight years, the Warriors have played unlike any other team in the NBA. Within their own little walled garden around Curry, the Warriors have shut out the headwinds of heliocentrism and spread pick-and-rolls. Under Steve Kerr, Golden State plays a unique, beautiful and inimitable style of basketball because they have Curry and nobody else does. Curry’s mastery of the extraordinary won the Warriors the Western Conference; his comfort with the ordinary has them in position to win the Finals. 


The Boston Celtics Keep It Simple, Win Game 3

The NBA Finals, like everything else now, is just another culture war. It’s the newly-dynastic Warriors against the 17-bannered Celtics. This is a showdown between the technocratic nouveau riche and the Boston Brahmin, savvy and skill versus size and athleticism, collectivism versus individualism, art versus science.

For the first two games, the Warriors dictated the terms of engagement—the Celtics may have stolen Game 1, but they aped the Warriors’ small-ball, trigger-happy lineups in the process and rode 9 fourth quarter threes to victory. In Game 2, the Warriors held serve because they’re the Warriors, buoyed by the world-building greatness of Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. During their 116-100 Game 3 victory, though, the Celtics rediscovered what made them the best team in the NBA, bludgeoning the Warriors by becoming the truest distillation of themselves.

From the game’s opening tip, the Celtics unveiled a streamlined, more economic vision of their offense. Golden State’s defense may thrive on its ability to resist decision fatigue and navigate chaos, but Boston blitzed the Warriors for 33 first quarter points by simplifying their offense to only its most essential components; Boston’s already vanilla menu of sets was pared down even further. Namely, the Celtics trained their crosshairs on Curry, daring him to stop guys he patently isn’t able to stop. After guarding just 18 drives and 22 pick-and-rolls in the first two games combined, Curry guarded 18 drives and 15 pick-and-rolls in Game 3 alone. The formula was simple and repeatable: let Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum pick on Curry and give them the room to unleash the dawg in them. 

Accordingly, both Brown and Tatum had their best game of the series, alternately creating and capitalizing on advantages—Brown paced the team with 27 points, highlighted by a 17 point masterclass in the first quarter; Tatum finally shook loose for 26 points and a game-high nine assists. As a result of the Warriors telegraphing their rudimentary coverages, Brown and Tatum became the playmakers that they’re often maligned for not being, attracting help defense and then spraying the ball to shooters. Even a brutish offensive player like Marcus Smart got some kicks in, hanging 12 of his 24 points on Curry.  

Beyond exposing Curry’s defensive flaws, the Celtics limited Draymond Green’s defensive brilliance. Rather than let Draymond Green freestyle and meander his way to the exact right place to blow up a play, the Celtics prescribed Green to specific, predictable rotations. Instead of being a destructive genius, Green became an ordinary help defender rotating as the low-man or digging from the strongside corner—the two-time Defensive Player of the Year transformed into just another defensive player. Rattled by the weirdly personal “fuck you, Draymond” chants from Brookliners and Newtonites cosplaying as Southies, Green fouled out in the fourth quarter, getting an early start on prepping for his podcast. 

Just as the Celtics succeeded by stripping down their offense, they bottled up the Warriors’ offense by forcing the Warriors’ offense to play a basic, constrained style as well. If most NBA offenses try to collapse defenses from the inside-out, the Warriors stretch their opponents out, the mere prospect of Curry getting provoking the same response as when a poodle gets loose from the dog run. Jordan Poole is the only Warrior with a bag much bigger than a fanny pack, but Curry routinely demands double-teams from the court’s outer rim and allows his teammates to attack hectares of open space all the same.  

As such, the Celtics put together their best defensive performance of the Finals by, uh, letting Curry do whatever he wanted. Despite a splendid game from Curry (31 points on 22 shots), Boston was chilling; Al Horford and Robert Williams hunkered down in drop coverage even as the Warriors ripped off one of their patented third quarter heaters. It worked: the Warriors’ buzzsaw never got going and their 22 assists were their lowest mark of the postseason. Opting to play Curry’s pick-and-rolls straight-up, Boston demonstrated their pain tolerance; it sucks to watch Curry go nuclear against a back-pedaling Al Horford, but letting Curry and Green and Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole run you into oblivion sucks way more. 

Although Boston’s actual game plan wasn’t so different than it was in Game 2, Robert Williams looked healthy for the first time all postseason. Like Walton Goggins or a saxophone in a rock song, Williams makes things better. The one true Defensive Player of the Year, Williams put the screws to Golden State during his 26 minutes. By dint of being huge and able to jump extremely high, Williams added some bite to Boston’s conservative defense; his four blocks were a game-high and he snagged three steals from a skittish Curry in the fourth quarter. 

While Al Horford (or, as Mark Jackson says, Owl Haawfud) is an excellent defensive center in his own right, he lacks a certain fear factor; Curry had no qualms about launching pull-up threes over Horford’s contests. Conversely, Williams is terrifying; his wingspan is nearly eight-feet long! He creates anxiety—open shots are sabotaged by sideways glances, contested shots are swatted. With Williams, drop coverage isn’t so much a concession as it is a threat—just try to shoot over me, he taunts. An elite shot-blocker, Williams cordons off the interior—the Celtics notched twice as many points in the paint as the Warriors (52 to 26) and out-rebounded them by 16 (47 to 31). Unsurprisingly, the Celtics outscored Golden State by 21 points when Williams was on the court.

Through three games, the Finals have carried the sense that the Celtics are in control—they aren’t necessarily the “better” team, but it’s their effort that determines the outcome of each game. Whereas the Warriors precisely combine and recombine, a golden spiral sketched out on a basketball court, the Celtics are variable and raw. Each game, the Warriors offer up a riddle that’s up to the Celtics to find ways to solve. For now, at least, the Celtics seem to have cracked the Warriors’ code because they’re the bigger, stronger, faster, more adaptable team. Simple as that. 


History of The Celtics Vs Warriors

It’s common in the NBA to see the same teams reach the NBA finals, even in consecutive years. The Warriors and Cavaliers matched up four years in a row, The Spurs and Heat played in back-to-back finals, The Jazz and Bulls played in consecutive finals, you get the point. You would think that two of the most historic franchises, the Celtics and Warriors, would have a robust history of postseason matchups. In reality however, these two franchises have rarely battled in the postseason. Here is the history of the Golden State Warriors vs the Boston Celtics. 

Regular Season
(Photo by NBAPhotos/ NBAE/ Getty Images)

Although the postseason history between the Warriors and Celtics may be short, the regular season battles come in plenty. Both these franchises were a part of the NBA’s original eight teams, and were conceived in 1946. On November 26, 1946, the Celtics and then Philadelphia Warriors would meet for the first time. The Warriors would win the competition 66-54. Warriors guard Angelo Musi would lead the game in scoring with 16 points. The Celtics and Warriors would meet a total of 346 times during the regular season. The Celtics are currently winning the all-time series 208-138.

(Via Getty Images)

In total the Warriors and Celtics have met on five separate occasions during the postseason. In 1962 the Warriors would move from Philadelphia to San Francisco, ultimately moving them to the Western conference. Because of this, the Celtics and Warriors first couple of playoff meetings take place in the Eastern Conference playoffs and not in the NBA finals. From 1958-1962 the Celtics and Warriors would meet Eastern Division finals three separate times. The Celtics won all these series pretty handedly except for the 1962 East Finals which went seven games.

NBA Finals History
(Via Getty Images)

This year’s finals is only the second time in NBA history the Warriors and Celtics are competing for a championship. They first met in the 1964 finals. The Celtics were dominant this season winning 59 games, a league best. The Warriors also held onto the first seed in the West after winning 48 games. The Celtics had won 5 championships in the last 6 years and were looking to be the most destructive dynasty the NBA has ever seen. The 1964 finals would only go five games with the Celtics easily taking care of the Warriors. Bill Russell put up a jaw-dropping 11 points and 25 rebound average to take down Wilt Chamberlain who boasted averages of 29 points and 27 rebounds.

2022 NBA Finals
(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

This season marks the first NBA finals in 58 years that the Celtics and Warriors are the last two teams standing. With the series tied 1-1 going back to Boston, the Warriors are looking to get their first postseason series win over the Celtics in their franchise’s history. Looking at the depth both these rosters have, it shouldn’t be hard to believe that these two teams may meet again during the finals in the near future.


Draymond Green Can’t Be Stopped

When Draymond Green gets a tech, he’s not going to get a second. No ref—not Tony Brothers or Zach Zarba or even Scott Foster—is going to do shit about it; the juice of tossing Green isn’t worth getting squeezed by a Chase Center full of wannabe LinkedIn influencers.  Whereas other players would tread lightly, Green is going to howl and inveigh and be a jerk with impunity, safe in the knowledge that he’s absolutely above the law. He’s Logan Roy, commandeering a shareholders’ meeting; Tony Soprano, seeing his goomah. So, yeah, he’ll try to pants Jaylen Brown and get in Ime Udoka’s face and flex and preen around because who’s going to stop him? 

“For me, you know, you have to send a message,” Green said after Game 2. “Guys follow me on [the defensive] side of the ball. If I’m not sending a message, who is sending that message?”

In Game 1, Green more or less followed convention, guarding Al Horford and Robert Williams for about 60 percent of the defensive possessions he played. This makes sense—as Green inches towards becoming a full-time podcaster, he’s no longer quick enough to pursue quicker players on the perimeter, but his massive super brain still makes him a devastating help defender. The problem: every Warrior defender got dog-walked by Brown and Jayson Tatum, who repeatedly breached the first line of defense and then swung the ball around the compromised defense for an open 3. 

Despite his characteristically modest stats (nine points on three shots, five rebounds and seven assists), Green dominated Game 2 from a vibes-based perspective. After Boston punked Golden State in the fourth quarter of Game 1 to steal home court advantage, Green took it upon himself to reanimate Golden State’s lagging defense.

Accordingly, Green assumed a larger share of Brown-duty in Game 2 and acquitted himself well; Boston scored just 17 points during Green’s 23 possessions on Brown, compared to 53 points during the 41 possessions Klay Thompson matched-up with Brown in Game 1. While Klay Thompson is firmly in the grim late-stage Obi-Wan Kenobi portion of his career, Green bothered Brown with his savviness and handsiness, rebuffing Brown’s drives and contesting his jumpers. 

Brown may be a superlative athlete and shot-maker, but he dribbles like a kid playing outside at recess after it just rained and the ball is gross and he doesn’t want to get his hands all dirty. As such, Green’s grinding defense prevented Brown from feeling comfortable with the ball. Struggling to rev up to full-speed, Brown couldn’t manifest his physical , ensuring that the matchup would be played on Green’s terms. Although Brown found early success and scored 13 first quarter points, Green hectored the All-Star guard into 1-11 shooting for the rest of the game. 

With Brown taken out of commission by Green, Boston’s offense became uncomfortably unimodal. Even at its best, Boston’s offensive approach can be boiled down to give the ball to one of the two really good guys and hope they score. In this sense, when one of their two really good guys has no hope to score—yikes. Beyond just Brown riding the struggle bus, Boston couldn’t conjure up catch-and-shoot opportunities—Game 1 hero Al Horford scored two points on 1-4 shooting. During the Warriors’ apocalyptic third quarter run, the Boston offense shriveled up entirely and mustered just 14 points. 

In this sense, Game 2 was proof that the Warriors are as much Green’s team as they are Steph Curry’s. He gives them an imperial dickishness that can only be formed by years of continued dominance—over the last eight seasons, Golden State has won 21 of the last 22 playoff series when Curry, Green and Thompson are all healthy. It’s Draymond Green’s Draymond Green-ness that creates the space for Curry to shake free, that engenders the confidence for Jordan Poole to pull-up from 30 feet, that produces the energy for Kevon Looney and Gary Payton II to tussle with more-heralded Celtics.

Playing against a younger, bigger, and, frankly, better team, Green fueled the Warriors to a blow-out win through sheer force of will. When he loses Game One, everyone knows Draymond Green isn’t going down 0-2—he’ll orchestrate the Warriors’ attack and put the Celtics’ offense in a headlock and make himself unmissable. Who’s going to stop him? 


The Golden State Warriors Are the Same, But Different

For the sixth time in eight years, the Golden State Warriors are in the NBA Finals. Despite the best efforts of Lebron James’s itinerant media circus, this is the defining dynasty of the last decade, a charming revolutionary that’s grown into the league’s loathsome establishment. The principle characters are largely the same as they’ve always been: Steph Curry is still shimmying; Klay Thompson is still drilling threes with a stoned zen while Draymond Green does the opposite of that; Steve Kerr is still the NBA’s cool uncle. Even with a largely new supporting cast—Andrew Wiggins! Jordan Poole! Jonathan Kuminga?—the Warriors’ stars have created such a resilient culture and vibe that it’s persisted through the franchise’s lean times.

Whereas they were a pitiable, sympathetic team last year, they’re back at their hate-able near-best. Rather than anything they do on the court, the Warriors are unpopular because of the way that their own mythology seemingly contradicts reality. Like a basketballing answer to Elon Musk, the Warriors are bullies who are incredulous that anybody would dare to consider them bullies; the team with three sons of NBA players wants you to think they’re the scrappy underdog that nobody believed in. When Steph Curry showboats in ways that would make Trae Young blush, he’s presented as a humble god-fearing father who’s overcome with joy. 

Listen to them enough and you’d believe the Warriors were little engine that could, as long as you forget that their starting line-up houses three All-Star starters and the best defensive player of this generation. Beyond merely winning games and demoralizing opponents, there are scores of petty squabbles to settle and weird grievances to air out. It’s not enough to be dominant; the Warriors need to be loved, too. In other words, after two seasons in the wilderness, the Warriors are once again the Warriors.

While the Warriors are pretty loathsome in the composite, their component parts are surprisingly likable. Everybody likes Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson is a cult hero because he seems like a chill guy. Instead, theirs is an institutional villainy, one that absorbs and assimilates anything in its orbit. 

In fact, it’s this quality that’s propelled them to their first Finals appearance since 2019. For the eighth straight year, the Warriors have played basketball that’s so flawless and entertaining that it is, frankly, super annoying. Off-ball movement and egalitarian, tiki-taka ball movement is objectively more aesthetically pleasing than the halting rock-fights that have dotted the Celtics’ playoff run, but the Warriors have somehow managed to play fun basketball without actually being fun. When the Warriors blaze through a 15-0 run to start the third quarter, it’s hard to tell if it’s more impressive or irksome.

As such, the Warriors’ success this year has turned their stubbornness into something close to prescience. At  any point over the last two years, the Warriors could have ditched their patented motion offense in favor of something simpler and—probably—more effective. By sticking to their guns, they insisted on playing the long-game even when their stars’ dwindling prime seemingly demanded more urgency; they probably cost themselves a playoff appearance by indulging James Wiseman rather than spamming Curry-Green pick-and-rolls. 

But now, that self-belief has been rewarded—Jordan Poole spent two years internalizing the Warriors’ basketball sensibilities and has morphed into Curry’s mini-me; Wiggins has dropped his Maple Mamba delusions to become a game-changing role player. Accordingly, the Warriors’ offense has leveled up, scoring 117.8 points per 100 possessions. 

The team may never reprise the highs of the Kevin Durant years, but their attack is still as variegated as any in the league. In the playoffs, Golden State has four players averaging more than 15 points per game while Draymond Green contributes over six assists. In particular, Poole’s emergence this year has juiced their offense in unpredictable ways. Attacking the gaps that Curry and Thompson create, Poole offers some off-the-dribble peppiness that the team has never had while Wiggins is the most athletic wing they’ve had during their dynasty. Curry still provides the overall architecture of this singular offense, but the team has spent the last two years reupholstering the furniture. 


Can Jayson Tatum Live Up to the Hype in the NBA Finals?

Jayson Tatum is the next, great NBA superstar—or so we’re told. At just 24 years old, he’s been the breakout player of these playoffs, leading the Boston Celtics to the Finals and grabbing the inaugural Eastern Conference Finals MVP along the way. His stats are sparkling (26.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game) and his tough shot-making gives him a sense of unguardable inevitability. A studied follower of the Mamba Mentality, Tatum has recreated his mentor’s graceful midrange game—and also his knack for a certain kind of cringey, performative grindset. Whereas new-age stars like Nikola Jokic or Giannis Antetokounmpo are both future Hall of Famers in unprecedented ways, Tatum is an All-Star straight out of central casting. He went to Duke and plays for the Celtics and scores lots of points. He can sling cold cults like a champ. There’s a certain tautology to it all: Tatum is a star because everyone keeps saying he’s a star.

Even if Tatum is certainly a great player, he also hasn’t been the undisputed top dog in any of Boston’s playoff series this year. Against the Nets, Tatum swept Kevin Durant, but Durant had to contend with Boston’s league-leading defense and Tatum got to feast on Bruce Brown. In the second round, Tatum was soundly outdueled by Giannis Antetokounmpo, a sobering reminder of the gap between Tatum and the NBA’s absolute elite. Only the staunchest Tatum-heads would argue that Tatum played better than Jimmy Butler after Butler and an undermanned Heat team nearly pipped the Celtics for a Finals berth. 

A cynic could say that the Boston Media Mafia has manufactured consent around their favorite son. Ever since Tatum boomed Lebron James in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals, the media apparatchik has thrown its full weight behind Tatum; Bill Simmons and his cartel of influential, trend-setting media members with New England ties have taken up Tatum as their cause celebre and elevated his standing in the general basketball discourse. To his credit, Tatum has validated a lot of the media’s shamrock-tinted gaslighting—he truly is among the best two dozen basketball players alive. And yet, when a Celtic who was patently not the most valuable player in the Eastern Conference Finals saunters across the stage to collect the freshly minted Larry Bird and Bob Cousy trophies, it’s hard to not grow suspicious of how and why it happened. 

In this sense, there’s a growing rupture between the perception that Tatum is in the midst of an all-time great postseason run and the reality that he’s merely having a very good one. Notably, Tatum is a lackluster playmaker for a player this lauded and prolific—amongst the 64 players who Basketball Index classifies as either a “shot creator” or “primary ball-handler,” Tatum ranks 50th in passing creation volume (their proprietary metric for evaluating the true impact of a player’s passing). 

While Tatum has pumped up his assist totals in the playoffs to nearly six per game, his playmaking ceiling is capped by his inability to stress multiple layers of a defense. Despite his size and athleticism, the 6’8 Tatum is a begrudging interior presence, scoring only 6.9 points on his 13.9 drives per game in the ‘yoffs, figures that lag behind gimmicky guards like Jordan Clarkson and centers like Karl-Anthony Towns. Despite his marionette-ish slipperiness with the ball, Tatum’s handle is more flashy than functional at this point; hounded by Miami’s handsy defenders, he barfed up nearly five turnovers a game.

As such, his reliance on his jumper allows Tatum to thrive against nearly every imaginable defensive coverage, but it leaves the Celtics vulnerable to spells of point-less grossness if Tatum is running cold; he has an icy 51.4 percent True Shooting in Boston’s 31 losses, compared to a rosier 61.3 percent True Shooting mark in their 51 wins. Tatum’s greatest asset as a scorer (his gobsmacking shot-making) feeds into his main offensive deficiency—when you can routinely drain impossible shots yourself, there’s no incentive to fuss for easier ones for your teammates. At a certain point for Tatum and the Celtics, being a bucket becomes a problem.

Although these Finals don’t represent some legacy-defining moment for the 24 year-old Tatum, they will provide some much-needed present clarity—it’s not that Boston’s boy-emperor has no clothes, but it’s unknown if he’s dressed in stylish gorpcore.

If Tatum is truly the generational scorer that a city full of lesser Wahlberg siblings believes him to be, he should have no problem vivisecting Golden State’s switching defense. His fellow All-NBA First-Teamer Luka Doncic just hung 32 points, nine rebounds and 6 assists per game on the Warriors, so surely Tatum can do the same, right? By taking home the Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy to pair with his Larry Bird and Bob Cousy ones, Tatum could once and for all prove he’s not a creation of Boston-obsessed basket-bloggers. For Boston to capture the title, Tatum needs to prove his lovers correct.

Sports Strength

10 NBA Teams With The Most Championships

The Milwaukee Bucks franchise, winners of the 2021 NBA Championship, are the epitome of how hard it is, and what it truly requires to win multiple NBA championships. When you think about the likes of Oscar Robertson, Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, Ray Allen, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, you would think that they’re an organization with 10 or 15 banners hanging from it’s arena’s rafters.

Even though you could field an all-time starting five of Bucks players that would probably beat 90% of that of other franchises, winning takes having the right pieces at the right times, while their mere two NBA titles in franchise history is proof in that pudding.

Lets a look at the franchises with the most championships in NBA history, and a few of the players that helped them reach the pinnacle of the basketball world.

Boston Celtics: 17 NBA Championships
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 12: Paul Pierce #34 of the Boston Celtics celebrates in the final moments of the Celtics’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Four of the 2008 NBA Finals on June 12, 2008 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

The Celtics are tied with the Lakers for the most NBA championships in league history. They’re one of the original four teams from the league’s inaugural season in 1949, and have always been located in the same city while sporting the same nickname.

Bill Russell led the franchise to eight consecutive NBA titles between 1959 and 1966. He largely considered the greatest winner in NBA history; having the most rings among any player.

The Celtics drafted small forward Larry Bird out of Indiana in 1978 and continued their winning ways during the 1980’s when Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish led them to three title runs during that decade, with the latter of the bunch coming in 1986.

22 years after their title in 86′, the Celtics were able to win one more in 2008. That Celtics team defeated the Los Angles Lakers in six games to win their 17th NBA Championship. That team was led by Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen.

Los Angeles Lakers: 17 NBA Championships
(Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 16: Magic Johnson #32 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates with the Walter A. Brown championship trophy after winning Game 6 and series against the Philadelphia 76ers on May 16, 1980 at the Spectrum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Of the two teams in Los Angeles, The Lakers are the more iconic franchise in the NBA. They won four of the first five NBA titles during the early 50’s in becoming the first dynasty that we’ve ever seen in professional basketball history. Those teams were led by legend George Mikan, Jim Pollard, and Vern Mikkelsen.

A notable win-streak of theirs was a 33 game unbeaten-run that they went on during 1972. Wilt Chamberlain, one of the greatest centers in NBA history, led that team along with Jerry West , Gail Goodrich and Elgin Baylor.

Their next dynasty came after they drafted a point guard from Michigan State named Magic Johnson in 1979. Throughout the 80’s, Johnson was accompanied by the likes of Kareem-Abdul Jabbar, James Worthy, Byron Scott and Michael Cooper, en route to winning five championships on a Lakers team coached by Pat Riley.

After going through a title drought during the 90’s, The Lakers returned to NBA supremacy in the early 2000’s. It all started with a trade that brought Orland Magic superstar center Shaquille O’Neal to the Los Angeles Lakers. O’Neal joined All-Star guard Kobe Bryant and head coach Phil Jackson to lead the lakers to three straight championships from the year 2000 to 2002.

After O’Neal joined the Miami Heat in 04′, it took Kobe a few years to win his first championship without the big man, but he got it done with back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.

Finally, a LeBron James-led Lakers squad honored the late Kobe Bryant in the best way they could’ve when they won the franchises 17th championship in 2020 over the Miami Heat. Anthony Davis was James’ running mate during last year’s title run and will look to help the Lakers tally more championships in the coming years.

Chicago Bulls: 6 NBA Championships
(Photo credit should read JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
SALT LAKE CITY, UNITED STATES: In this 14 June 1998 file photo, Michael Jordan (L) holds the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy and former Chicago Bulls head coach Phil Jackson holds the NBA champions Larry O’Brian trophy 14 June after winning game six of the NBA Finals with the Utah Jazz at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, UT. The Bulls won the game 87-86 to take their sixth NBA championship. Jackson left the Bulls following the 1998 season and 12 January reports indicate that Jordan plans to announce his retirement at a 13 January news conference in Chicago.

It’s hard to imagine life without the Chicago Bulls in the NBA, which is crazy because they were only good during one decade, the 90’s. Coached by Phil Jackson and led by NBA great Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, B.J Armstrong and Horace Grant, the Bulls won their first championship in franchise history during 1991, and three straight from 1991, until 1993.

Form 1996 to 1998, they were able to win three consecutive championships once more. The carried the same core of Jordan and Pippen.but added pieces like Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and Steve Kerr.

Their next closest shot at a championship probably came in 2012, when MVP Derrick Rose led them to having the best record in the Eastern Conference heading into the playoffs. During game 1 of the first round against the Philadelphia 76ers, Rose tore his ACL in the dying minutes. Chicago would get eliminated by the Sixers in six games that year.

Golden State Warriors: 6 NBA Championships
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 19: Fans holding what’s called a “hustle head” card board cut out of Andre Igoudala #9 and Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors in front of the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center during the the Golden State Warriors Victory Parade and Rally on June 19, 2015 in Oakland, California.

The Warriors resided in the city of brotherly love from 1951 to 1962, and were crowned NBA champions for the first time in 1956. Neil Johnston and Paul Arizin led those teams and are a few of the greatest players in franchise history.

During the early 90’s, “Run TMC” a play-on with 80’s Hip-Hop group “Run DMC” was the nickname for the trio of Chris Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond. Although they never won a championship together, they’re one of the most iconic trios in NBA history, and one of my favorite NBA teams ever.

Finally, a new era of bay-area dominance was brewed in 2015 when the 67-win Warriors, led by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala defeated LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win the organization’s 4th NBA championship. That same year, they put up the 2nd best winning streak of all-time when they won 28 straight games.

Over 11 seasons, Curry has won two MVP’s, three championships and has been t0o seven All-Star games. Paired with Klay Thompson, they are considered the greatest shooting backcourt that the game has ever seen, garnering the nickname, “Splash Bros.”

The year after his Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, superstar Kevin Durant decided to join Golden State, and would help them win two more championships in 2017 and 2018.

San Antonio Spurs: 5 NBA Championships
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX – JUNE 15: Manu Ginobili #20, Tony Parker #9, Patty Mills #8 and Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs celebrate on the bench in the closing minutes of Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.

During the late 90’s, the Spurs were formidable competition for the rest of the league with teams that were led by David Robinson, Avery Johnson, and arguably the greatest power forward of all-time in Tim Duncan. That team, coached by Gregg Popovich, would win their franchises first championship in 1999.

Their true domination started during the early 2000’s though, when they won the NBA Finals in 2003, 2005, and 2007. Those teams were led by Popovich, Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobli. After a seven-year title drought, San Antonio got another chance to add to their trophy case, and did so in defeating the Miami Heat and their “Big 3” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh, while avenging their gut-wrenching loss to Miami in 2013.

Philadelphia 76ers: 3 NBA Championships
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
INGLEWOOD, CA – JUNE 1982: Julius Eving #6 of the Philadelphia 76ers lays the ball up over Kurt Rambis #31 and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar #33 of the Los Angeles Lakers during an 1982 NBA Finals basketball game at the Forum in Inglewood, California.

The Philadelphia 76ers were once known as the Syracuse Nationals, and posted winning seasons in 11 out of their first 14 campaigns. After losing the 1950 and 1954 finals to the Minneapolis Lakers, the Nats broke through in 1955 in beating the Fort Wayne Pistons in seven games to win their first championship. Earl Lloyd and Dolph Schayes were key cogs in that championship team.

The Nats would undergo a name change 12 years later, making them the Philadelphia 76ers on August 6th of 1963. They’d win their first championship four seasons later, as Hal Greer, Wilt Chamberlain, and Billy Cunningham beat Rick Barry and the San Francisco Warriors for the franchises 2nd title.

In 1982, the Sixers made a trade that would lead to their next and latest triumph. They got Moses Malone from the Houston Rockets in what is now considered one of the more lob-sided trades in NBA history. Malone would join Julius Erving, who they acquired from the Nets in 1976, Bobby Jones, Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney on a Sixers team, coached by Billy Cunningham, that would sweep the Lakers in 1983 in the NBA Finals.

18 years later, they came within three wins of lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy once more, when a skinny guard from Georgetown named Allen Iverson led Philly to having the best record in the Eastern Conference and an NBA Finals appearance in 2001. They lost in five games to Kobe, Shaq, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Detroit Pistons: 3 NBA Championships
JEFF HAYNES/AFP via Getty Images)
AUBURN HILLS, UNITED STATES: Chauncey Billups of the Detroit Pistons holds the MVP trophy after beating the Los Angeles Lakers in game five of the NBA Finals to win the championship 15 June, 2004 at The Palace in Auburn Hills, MI. The Pistons won the game 100-87 to win the best-of-seven game series 4-1.

The late 1980’s and early 1990’s Detroit Pistons basketball teams had a reputation for a hardcore bully-ball play style that optimized basketball during that era. While Isaiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, and Bill Laimbeer, might’ve been the brutes of the league, they were also kings of the crop when they won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. Their heated rivalries with the Bulls and Celtics during that era was great for basketball. Hall of Fame head coach Chuck Daly coached those Pistons teams.

Their latest championship came during 2004. That year, the Pistons acquired Rasheed Wallace from the Atlanta Hawks midseason, and would end the year winning 16 of their last 19 games. Accompanied by Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, TayShaun Prince and Ben Wallace, the Pistons would end the Lakers dynasty in 04′, defeating LA in five games.

Miami Heat: 3 NBA Championships
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL – MAY 30: LeBron James #6 and Chris Bosh #1 and Toney Douglas #0 of the Miami Heat celebrate after defeating the Indiana Pacers in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Arena on May 30, 2014 in Miami, Florida.

When the Miami Heat drafted Dwayne Wade out of Marquette in the 2003 NBA Draft, they found themselves a franchise cornerstone for the next 12 years. By the time 2004 rolled around ,the heat were a young playoff team, but were missing one more piece to take them to the next level. At the time, Shaquille O’Neal was not happy in Los Angeles, and longed for the possibility of joining forces with an up-and-coming D-Wade. In 2006, it all came together when Wade and O’Neal led Miami to their franchise’s first NBA title.

Six years later, another NBA superstar fancied the idea of joining forces with Wade and the Heat. On July 8th of 2010, LeBron James did, and created a super team led by himself, Wade and Chris Bosh. That Miami Heat “Big 3” would win back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013.

For me, their most memorable title run came against the Spurs in 2012, when the Heat rallied from being down 3-2 in the series to win in seven games for LeBron’s first NBA championship.

Houston Rockets: 2 NBA Championships
Allsport /Allsport
10 Jun 1994: Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets (center) goes up for two during the NBA finals game against the New York Knicks.

During the NBA’s Jordan-less years of 1994 and 1995, the Houston Rockets were able to capitalize on the league’s best player opting to go play baseball. In 94′ the Rockets, led by Hakeem Olajuwon, Kenny Smith, Robert Horry, Vernon Maxwell and Sam Cassell, matched up against Patrick Ewing’s Knicks , beating New York in seven games.

The next year, Olajuwon and company swept Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neal, and the Orland Magic in route to their franchise’s second championship.

New York Knicks: 2 NBA Championships
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED – CIRCA 1975: Walt Frazier #10 of the New York Knicks dribbles the ball during an NBA basketball game circa 1975 at the Baltimore Civic Center in Baltimore, Maryland. Frazier played for the Knicks from 1967-77.

I’m sure the Knicks would’ve liked to have the likes of Walt Frazier and Willis Reed, while going up Hakeem Olajuwon and those Houston Rocket teams during the mid 90’s.

Unfortunately for those Knicks teams, Reed was before their time, but was the MVP of the 1970 NBA Finals. That series saw New York defeating the Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain led Los Angeles Lakers in seven games for their first NBA championship. Walt Frazier, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, and Dave DeBusschere were other key players for the Knicks during the early 70’s. The Knicks would win for a second time in 1974, beating that same Lakers team, this time in five games.

Those mid 90’s battles against Houston is the closest that New York has gotten to another championship.