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NBA: the 10 most successful teams in the league

The NBA (National Basketball Association) was created in 1946. Each year, the two best teams in the league compete in the playoff finals to determine the champion team of the season. With 17 trophies each,  the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers are the two most successful NBA franchises in history .

10 – New York Knicks

The New York Knicks opened this ranking with two titles won: in 1970 and 1973. The year of their first victory, the Knicks won 60 regular season games before reaching the Playoffs final against the Los Angeles Lakers of Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the man on the NBA logo. In 1973, the NY Knicks returned to the Playoffs final against the Lakers, where they lost the first game … but won the next four.

9 – Houston Rockets

The Houston Rockets, worn by Hakeem Olajuwon, the hub from Lagos, Nigeria, made a back-to-back (Playoff champions two years in a row) in 1994 and 1995. The year of their first victory, they won. faces Patrick Ewing and his New York Knicks team. The following year, the Rockets faced the Orlando Magics and their duo Shaq & Penny, which they defeated 4-0.

8 – Philadelphia 76s

The Philly Sixers have racked up 3 wins in total since their team was created. The first in 1955 against the Pistons who were located in Fort Wayne. In 1967, the 76s won their second title with 68 wins for just 13 losses during the regular season. In 1983, their Playoffs were renamed “Four, Four, Four” after an interview where Moses Malone said they would pass all rounds of the Playoffs in 4 games. The Philly team ultimately won the Playoffs with 12 wins in just one loss.

7 – Detroit Pistons

Like the 76s, Detroit won three playoff finals. Their first victory was against the Los Angeles Lakers whom they beat 4-0, without too much difficulty. The second victory came back-to-back as they won the Playoffs final the following year against the Chicago Bulls, worn by the incredible Michael Jordan. This series took place in 7 games with a victory for the Pistons in Game 7. Their third title was won in 2004 against the Los Angeles Lakers as in 1989.

6 – Miami Heat 

The Miami Heat also won three league titles but at a different time. Their first Playoff victory came in 2006 against the Dallas Mavericks, who they struggled to beat. Indeed, the Mavs led the scoring with 2 wins to 0 before the Heat recovered. Six years later, the Florida team made a back-to-back in 2012 against the Oklahoma City Thunders and 2013 against the San Antonio Spurs, during the era of the « Big Three », a trio made up of Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. 

5 – San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs are in fifth place in this ranking with 5 Playoff victories. They lifted the trophy in 1999, 2003, 2005, 2007 and most recently in 2014. In the year of their last title, they scored 19 straight wins, the biggest winning streak in the NBA with the help of Kawhi Leonard. 

4 – Golden State Warriors 

The San Francisco team climbed to fourth place, with 6 Playoff victories including a back-go-back. The Warriors had the honor of winning the league’s first title the year the NBA was formed, during the 1946-47 season. The other trophies were won in 1956, 1975, 2015, 2017 and 2018. Their last two playoff victories came back-to-back with their flagship player, Stephen Curry.

3 – Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls opened this podium with 6 Playoff victories in two three peats (three Playoff victories in a row). The first series of victories was achieved in  1991-1992-1993  with the duo Pippen & Jordan and the second in  1996-1997-1998  with the enormous trio Jordan, Pippen and Rodman. Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. The latter have contributed to all the victories of the Chicago Bulls.

2 – Los Angeles Lakers

Far ahead of the Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers (like Boston Celitics) have won 17 league titles since the team’s inception. The Lakers lifted the trophy in 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010 and 2020 (with LeBron James) Many of those wins have were carried out in back-to-back and in three peat. Great players like Jerry West, the man on the NBA logo, Wilt Chamberlain, who broke point records after scoring 100 points in 1962 while playing for the New York Knicks, Kobe Bryant, or still Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

1 – Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics (along with Los Angeles Lakers) dominate this ranking with their 17 trophies. Indeed, Boston and Los Angeles are two great rivals who often faced each other in the final. The Boston team won a league title in 1957, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986 and 2008. Between 1959 and 1969 , the Celtics have won every title except in 1967 when they lost in the conference final to the Philadelphia 76s.

Par Jules Bercy

A writer a blogger passionate about science, history politics, the general knowledge of our planet and the Universe...

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