Like any professional sport, American basketball is ruled by historical confrontations. That’s why we decided to team up with basketball expert Evelyn Balyton to list the NBA’s biggest rivalries!
Read on and you’ll see teams, players, and even coaches’ rivalries!
Cleveland Cavaliers against Golden State Warriors
- Games: 114
- Warriors win: 62
- Cavaliers win: 52
We opened the list of the greatest NBA’s confrontations with a clash that has only gained notoriety in recent years: Golden State vs. Cleveland.
Franchises took over the scene, monopolized the tournament and faced each other in four consecutive finals.
On one side we have LeBron James. On the other one, Stephen Curry. The top two athletes in the league measured their strengths on the court and ran a true basketball show between 2015 and 2018.
In the meantime, the Warriors won three rings. But the Cavaliers only one. These facts were essential for both of these teams to make it to this other list mentioning the best teams in the league’s history.
Los Angeles Clippers against Los Angeles Lakers
- Games: 114
- Lakers wins: 149
- Clippers wins: 74
This is also worth mentioning. The Clippers have long been considered Los Angeles’ “poor cousins”, but that scenario has finally changed.
With the bombastic hiring of the last windows, the franchise has risen to the next level. The Lakers lived dark times after Kobe Bryant’s retirement. But they are already settling with the arrival of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
This confrontation is balanced for the first time, and chances are that both of them can make it to the finals this season. Bet on the nba online betting philippines and pick your best players and teams to win this season’s ring!
Julius Erving against Larry Bird
- Regular season: 44 games (23V from Bird, 21V from Erving)
- Playoffs: 24 games (Bird 12V, Erving 12V)
Simply one of the NBA’s biggest player rivalries in history! But make no mistake: despite the heat of the moment, the respect was mutual.
On the one hand, the explosion and dominance in the Erving bottle. On the other, Bird’s technique and beautiful kicks.
New York Knicks against Chicago Bulls
- Games: 232
- Bulls wins: 123
- Knicks wins: 108
Chicago and New York also starred in one of the NBA’s incredible competition in the Michael Jordan era. The Knicks had a good team, but they suffered from the strength of the Bulls. The franchises faced each other six times between 1989 and 1995 in the playoffs.
The red team won five clashes. And the rest is the story!
Wilt Chamberlain against Bill Russell
- Regular season: 94 games (Russell’s 57V, Chamberlain’s 37V)
- Playoffs: 49 games (29V from Russell, 20V from Chamberlain)
Bill Russell is the greatest champion in NBA history. Between 1959 and 1973, he led the Boston Celtics to 11 league titles. An agile pivot for his size, a natural and extremely ferocious bouncer inside the carboy.
At that time, only one opponent could face the Big Man. And that person was Wilt Chamberlain, of the Sixers (and then Lakers). It was a separate show to see them battling on the court. Rivalry (and friendship) went on for a long time.
Magic Johnson against Larry Bird
- Regular season: 18 games (Johnson’s 11V, Bird’s 7V)
- Playoffs: 19 games (Johnson’s 11V, Bird’s 8V)
Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird is one of the greatest NBA fights in history. And look how interesting: before reaching the North American League, the two-faced in the very final of the College in 1979!
I could already tell what was coming. On the one hand, a legitimate Lakers showman. On the other, a shy boy from the Celtics. Two of the best basketball players in history who faced each other in three finals. And that took the tournament to a new better level.
Boston Celtics against Los Angeles Lakers
- Games: 292
- Celtics wins: 161
- Lakers wins: 131
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics is the NBA’s biggest rivalry. And we explain to you why.
First, they are the biggest winners in the league. Second: they fought the whole 12 times in the finals – something incredible in another professional sport.
Third: the franchises have revealed several basketball geniuses like Bill Russell, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Finally: the teams have been playing together since 1959. Tradition, competitiveness and a lot of history. The perfect ingredients for a perfect derby!
There were some truly remarkable rivalries throughout this article, and I’m pretty sure basketball fans will appreciate the nostalgic feeling of remembering some of them.
Please, feel free to add your favorite NBA rivalry of all time in the comments section!