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NBA Finals History

The story of the NBA Finals is, to a large extent, the story of two teams: The Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, who have won a combined 33 of 67 NBA championships since the first NBA Finals was held in 1947. The Lakers have made it to the Finals the most often, appearing in 31 NBA Finals and winning 16, while the Celtics have won the most championships, winning 17 NBA titles in just 21 appearances.

The first NBA Finals tickets went on sale in 1947, when the Philadelphia Warriors defeated the Chicago Stags. Yet the early years were marked by the emergence of the Lakers dynasty (then known as the Minneapolis Lakers), who won five NBA championships in six years from 1947-1956.

Not to be outdone, the next decade was dominated by the Celtics, who won a record eight straight championships from 1959-1966. In those days, NBA Finals tickets were all about getting the chance to see Bill Russell and company flat-out dominate the opposition, including the Lakers — who they beat in the NBA Finals seven out of seven times from 1959-1969.

In the 1970s, NBA Finals tickets became a more egalitarian affair, with eight different teams hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy in what became known as “the decade of parity.” This era was marked by the emergence of new teams from the West getting their hands on the 14-pound, 24-karat gold plated trophy including the Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, and Seattle Supersonics.

The 1980s were again all about the Lakers and Celtics, with NBA Finals tickets featuring either Boston and/or Los Angeles every year. During this decade, NBA Finals tickets meant seeing basketball legends Larry Bird and Magic Johnson square off again and again, with the Lakers beating the Celtics in the NBA Finals two out of three times. All together, the Lakers won five titles and the Celtics won three during the 1980s.

In the 1990s, the power base for NBA Finals tickets shifted to Chicago, with Michael Jordan and the Bulls winning six titles from 1991-1998, the third most titles of any team in NBA history besides the Celtics and Lakers. The Phil Jackson-coached team won their first three titles from 1991-1993, with the NBA Finals moving to Houston from 1994-1995 with the Rockets winning two titles.

But with the acquisition of Dennis Rodman and the return of Jordan from retirement, the Bulls would amass the best record in NBA history in 1996, going 72-10 en route to an NBA Finals victory over Seattle. NBA Finals tickets would remain with Phil Jackson and Chicago in 1997 and 1998, with the Bulls defeating the Karl Malone-led Utah Jazz both times.

But the start of the millennium did not mean the end for Phil Jackson, who would go on to win five more NBA Finals with the Lakers from 2000-2010. In this decade, NBA Finals tickets meant seeing Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neill become the first team since the Bulls to three-peat as they took home championships each year from 2000-2002. However, this era was also marked by the emergence of the San Antonio Spurs, who would win four championships from 1999-2007.

Yet the Lakers would close out the decade strong, losing to the Celtics in the 2008 NBA Finals before winning in 2009 against the Orlando Magic and defeating the Celtics in 2010 for Phil Jackson’s record-setting 11th NBA title.

The current decade has been marked by the emerge of the Miami Heat, who lost the 2010 championship to the Dallas Mavericks before winning the next two years versus the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs. These days, more often than not, NBA Finals tickets means a trip to South Beach to see LeBron James and company work to establish themselves as basketball’s newest dynasty.

Yet amidst all the celebration, let’s not forget there are still seven teams for whom NBA Finals tickets have never been in the offering. Teams who, at this point, have never made it to the NBA Finals include the Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, and Charlotte Bobcats.

However, with several of those teams currently in the 2014 NBA playoffs, the history of the NBA Finals is begging to be rewritten.

NBA Finals Year-By-Year Results

Year Western Champion Games Eastern Champion
1947 Chicago Stags 1–4 Philadelphia Warriors
1948 Baltimore Bullets (original) 4–2 Philadelphia Warriors
1949 Minneapolis Lakers 4–2 Washington Capitols
1950 Minneapolis Lakers 4–2 Syracuse Nationals
1951 Rochester Royals 4–3 New York Knicks
1952 Minneapolis Lakers 4–3 New York Knicks
1953 Minneapolis Lakers 4–1 New York Knicks
1954 Minneapolis Lakers 4–3 Syracuse Nationals
1955 Fort Wayne Pistons 3–4 Syracuse Nationals
1956 Fort Wayne Pistons 1–4 Philadelphia Warriors
1957 St. Louis Hawks 3–4 Boston Celtics
1958 St. Louis Hawks 4–2 Boston Celtics
1959 Minneapolis Lakers 0–4 Boston Celtics
1960 St. Louis Hawks 3–4 Boston Celtics
1961 St. Louis Hawks 1–4 Boston Celtics
1962 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics
1963 Los Angeles Lakers 2–4 Boston Celtics
1964 San Francisco Warriors 1–4 Boston Celtics
1965 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 Boston Celtics
1966 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics
1967 San Francisco Warriors 2–4 Philadelphia 76ers
1968 Los Angeles Lakers 2–4 Boston Celtics
1969 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics
1970 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 New York Knicks
1971 Milwaukee Bucks 4–0 Baltimore Bullets
1972 Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 New York Knicks
1973 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 New York Knicks
1974 Milwaukee Bucks 3–4 Boston Celtics
1975 Golden State Warriors 4–0 Washington Bullets
1976 Phoenix Suns 2–4 Boston Celtics
1977 Portland Trail Blazers 4–2 Philadelphia 76ers
1978 Seattle SuperSonics 3–4 Washington Bullets
1979 Seattle SuperSonics 4–1 Washington Bullets
1980 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Philadelphia 76ers
1981 Houston Rockets 2–4 Boston Celtics
1982 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Philadelphia 76ers
1983 Los Angeles Lakers 0–4 Philadelphia 76ers
1984 Los Angeles Lakers 3–4 Boston Celtics
1985 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Boston Celtics
1986 Houston Rockets 2–4 Boston Celtics
1987 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Boston Celtics
1988 Los Angeles Lakers 4–3 Detroit Pistons
1989 Los Angeles Lakers 0–4 Detroit Pistons
1990 Portland Trail Blazers 1–4 Detroit Pistons
1991 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 Chicago Bulls
1992 Portland Trail Blazers 2–4 Chicago Bulls
1993 Phoenix Suns 2–4 Chicago Bulls
1994 Houston Rockets 4–3 New York Knicks
1995 Houston Rockets 4–0 Orlando Magic
1996 Seattle SuperSonics 2–4 Chicago Bulls
1997 Utah Jazz 2–4 Chicago Bulls
1998 Utah Jazz 2–4 Chicago Bulls
1999 San Antonio Spurs 4–1 New York Knicks
2000 Los Angeles Lakers 4–2 Indiana Pacers
2001 Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 Philadelphia 76ers
2002 Los Angeles Lakers 4–0 New Jersey Nets
2003 San Antonio Spurs 4–2 New Jersey Nets
2004 Los Angeles Lakers 1–4 Detroit Pistons
2005 San Antonio Spurs 4–3 Detroit Pistons
2006 Dallas Mavericks 2–4 Miami Heat
2007 San Antonio Spurs 4–0 Cleveland Cavaliers
2008 Los Angeles Lakers 2–4 Boston Celtics
2009 Los Angeles Lakers 4–1 Orlando Magic
2010 Los Angeles Lakers 4–3 Boston Celtics
2011 Dallas Mavericks 4–2 Miami Heat
2012 Oklahoma City Thunder 1–4 Miami Heat
2013 San Antonio Spurs 3–4 Miami Heat

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NBA Finals Tickets News

6-12-14: Miami Heat NBA Finals tickets for game 4 at the American Airlines Arena vs the Spurs have an secondary market average price of $958 and a get in price of $250. Tickets are still available for purchase on TiqIQ.com. The Spurs hold a 2-1 series lead.

6-10-14: The NBA Finals rematch has so far live up to its billing. After two tightly contested games the series is tied at one game apiece with the series now shifting in South Beach at the American Airlines Arena for game 3 Tuesday night. Game 3 Spurs vs Heat Finals tickets have an average price of $968 with a get in price of $222.

6-6-14: LeBron James has had the misfortune of being the butt of a joke of a new internet craze. “Lebronning” features two or more individuals carrying off another. The joke stems from LeBron's pre-mature exit from yesterday's Game 1 of the NBA Finals. After the air conditioning system went down, the game reached temperatures near the 3 digits. James suffered leg cramps, and missed a significant chunk of playing time.

6-5-14: The NBA Finals kicks off tonight for game 1 at the AT&T Center between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat. Game 1 Spurs Finals tickets vs the Heat have an average price of $670 with a get in price of $216.

6-3-14: The rematch from the 2013 NBA Finals is on. The San Antonio Spurs will host the Miami Heat at the AT&T Center on June 5. Spurs tickets for game 1 have an average price of $790 with a get in price of $274.

5-29-14: The NBA Finals is just a week away. The four teams (Thunder, Spurs, Heat, and Pacers) are still battling it out in the conference finals. The Pacers stayed alive in a big game 5 win at home against the Heat. Tonight, either the Thunder or Spurs can take control of this series with a game 5 win.

5-27-14: The NBA Finals are fast approaching and will begin on June 6. The four teams (Thunder, Spurs, Heat, and Pacers) are still competing in the conference finals for the right to play for NBA’s biggest prize.

5-22-14: NBA Finals tickets will be skyrocket no matter which of the four teams advance from the conference finals. The Finals are little more than two weeks away. When it’s all set and done, which team will be lifting that trophy?

5-21-14: The NBA Finals is fast approaching as four teams (Thunder, Spurs, Heat, Pacers) are battling it out in the Conference Finals. NBA Finals tickets will be top dollar no matter who which two teams advances.

5-15-14: The NBA Finals will begin on Thursday June 5. There are currently still 6 teams still competing for the NBA title with Miami Heat awaiting the winner of the Pacers and Wizard series and the San Antonio Spurs awaiting the winner of the Thunder and Clippers series.

5-7-14: Taking an early look at NBA Finals tickets on the secondary market – The Nets currently have the priciest tickets, followed by the Heat and the Clippers. The Clippers would certainly prove to be the most interesting story, having never made the NBA finals and dealing with owner issues throughout the playoffs.

Upcoming NBA Finals games: