1952: Minneapolis Lakers 4, New York Knicks 3. George Mikan averaged 21.7 points and 17.4 rebounds, and the Lakers beat the Knicks in seven games. The teams alternated wins and losses in each game. — 1953: Minneapolis Lakers 4, New York Knicks 1. Mikan was dominant again, averaging 20.8 points. The Knicks took Game 1 on the road, but the Lakers won the next four — keyed by two two-point triumphs.
2 of 14Richard Meek
1957: Boston Celtics 4, St. Louis Hawks 3. A tremendous series, with four of the seven games decided by two points — including Game 7, the Celtics winning 125-123 in double overtime. — 1958: St. Louis Hawks 4, Boston Celtics 2. Denied a title the previous year, Hawks star Bob Pettit averaged 29.3 points and 17 rebounds — with 50 points in the Game 6 clincher.
3 of 14Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images; AP
1960: Boston Celtics 4, St. Louis Hawks 3. Tom Heinsohn averaged 22.4 points, Bill Russell averaged 24.9 rebounds and the Celtics got four double-digit wins, including a 122-103 victory in Game 7. — 1961: Boston Celtics 4, St. Louis Hawks 1. More of the same. Heinsohn led the Celtics in scoring again at 22 points, Russell grabbed an astounding 28.8 rebounds and Boston easily defended its title.
4 of 14Walter Iooss Jr.; Rich Clarkson
1962: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 3. Lakers stars Elgin Baylor (who had a 61-point game, a Finals record) and Jerry West were brilliant, averaging 72 points per game. But the Celtics rallied from 3-2 down. Bill Russell averaged 22.9 points and 27 rebounds for Boston. — 1963: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 2. Baylor and West averaged 63 points per game. The Celtics, with Sam Jones, Tom Heinsohn and Russell leading the way, had too much depth and balance.
5 of 14Focus on Sport/Getty Images; AP
1965: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 1. Boston left little doubt, winning Game 1 by 32 points and Game 5 by 33 points. Jerry West averaged 33.8 points in vain for the Lakers; Sam Jones averaged 27.8 points for Boston. — 1966: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 3. Up 3-1 at one point, the Celtics were forced to a Game 7 in Red Auerbach’s final season. Boston escaped with a two-point win for its eighth straight title
6 of 14AP; Tony Triolo
1968: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 2. Boston blew a big lead in Game 5 at home but won in overtime, then closed it out on the road in Game 6 behind 40 points from John Havlicek. — 1969: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 3. The Celtics’ dominance over the NBA continued, Boston winning its 11th title in a 13-year span. Jerry West won the MVP award, in a losing effort.
7 of 14George Long; John D. Hanlon
1972: Los Angeles Lakers 4, New York Knicks 1. The Knicks rolled in Game 1, and after that it was all Lakers. Wilt Chamberlain (19.4 ppg, 23.2 rpg) wins MVP honors, leading the Lakers to the win. — 1973: New York Knicks 4, Los Angeles Lakers 1. Turnabout was fair play; the Lakers grabbed a 1-0 lead and then the Knicks won out. It was Chamberlain’s last game, and the Knicks’ most-recent title.
8 of 14NBA Photo Library/NBAE via Getty Images; Peter Read Miller
1978: Washington Bullets 4, Seattle SuperSonics 3. Seattle led 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 — but the Bullets took Games 6 and 7. Wes Unseld was Finals MVP, averaging 9 points and nearly 12 rebounds per game. — 1979: Seattle SuperSonics 4, Washington Bullets 1. Gus Williams averaged 28.6 points, Finals MVP Dennis Johnson added 22.6 points and Seattle won the last four games of the series.
9 of 14Manny Millan
1982: Los Angeles Lakers 4, Philadelphia 76ers 2. Magic Johnson caps an MVP performance with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists in Game 6, and the Lakers win in Pat Riley’s rookie coaching season. — 1983: Philadelphia 76ers 4, Los Angeles Lakers 0. Moses Malone averaged 25.8 points and 18 rebounds, and the 76ers capped a dominant playoff run with a one-sided romp in the Finals.
10 of 14Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images; Andy Hayt
1984: Boston Celtics 4, Los Angeles Lakers 3. Cedric Maxwell’s 24 points in Game 7 and an MVP performance from Larry Bird lifted the Celtics to their 15th world title. — 1985: Los Angeles Lakers 4, Boston Celtics 2. Game 1 was the “Memorial Day Massacre,” a 148-114 Boston win. But the Lakers won four of the next five games, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP.
11 of 14Reed Saxon/AP; Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
1988: Los Angeles Lakers 4, Detroit Pistons 3. The Lakers win their second straight title, taking Games 6 and 7 by a combined four points. James Worthy scored 36 points in Game 7 for the Lakers. — 1989: Detroit Pistons 4, Los Angeles Lakers 0. Detroit’s so-called “Bad Boys” proved best, sweeping to the title behind Joe Dumars’ 27.3 points per game.
12 of 14John W. McDonough; John Biever
1997: Chicago Bulls 4, Utah Jazz 2. Michael Jordan wins MVP honors, he and Scottie Pippen average 52 points and the Bulls hold off Karl Malone, John Stockton and the Jazz. — 1998: Chicago Bulls 4, Utah Jazz 2. Jordan’s sixth and final championship was capped by a 45-point effort, punctuated by the go-ahead jumper in the final seconds of Game 6.
13 of 14John W. McDonough; Greg Nelson
2013: Miami Heat 4, San Antonio Spurs 3. Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left in Game 6 saves Miami, then LeBron James takes over late in Game 7 as the Heat go back-to-back. — 2014: San Antonio Spurs 4, Miami Heat 1. The Spurs split the first two games at home, then got two big wins in Miami and finished it off at San Antonio in Game 5 for their fifth title.
14 of 14John W. McDonough
2015: Golden State Warriors 6, Cleveland Cavaliers 2. Revived by Stephen Curry, their fresh-faced shooting superstar, and bonded by first-year coach Steve Kerr who made them believe, the Warriors ended a 40-year NBA championship drought by defeating LeBron James and the undermanned Cavaliers. — 2016: TBD
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