6 NBA Matches That Every Fan Should Know

Every sport is defined by the moments that live on in the memories of its fans. In every sport, there are those last-minute wins or losses and moments of exceptional performance. Today we’re taking a look at the NBA and the six matches that every fan should know about.

Whether you’re a new fan or you just want to take a walk down memory lane, these matches exemplify the best and most dramatic games in modern American basketball. Knowing these examples can also help those betting on the NBA, as it shows off the league and its players at their very best.

1. 1976 NBA Finals – Game 5 

Game 5 of the 1976 NBA Finals pitted the Boston Celtics versus the Phoenix Suns. They were 2-2 on the series, so everything was to play for. What followed is a game that has everything you want in an NBA match, from multiple last-second plays to a clock misunderstanding and an assault. It’s often referred to as one of the greatest games ever played.

After overtime at 101-101, the teams ended the second overtime at 111-110 after Celtics’ John Havlicek sank what many seemed like a game-winning shot. However, there had been a delay in the clock that meant the game wasn’t over. Fans stormed the court and referee Richie Powers was assaulted.

Once everything died down, a second was put back on the clock and the game went on. A technical foul shot was made by Celtics’ Jo Jo White, the score was now 112-110. With just one second, the Suns’ Gar Heard made another basket and tied everybody again at 112-112. The third overtime ended with a Celtics win at 128-126.

2. Magic Johnson Plays Center 

You’ve probably heard of Magic Johnson. On May 16th of 1980, however, he wasn’t the NBA legend he is today. In fact, he was only 20 years old and a rookie point-guard for the LA Lakers against the Philadelphia 76ers. The true star of the show was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, their number one player and one of the greatest scorers of that era.

Abdul-Jabbar was injured and ruled out for this game, so the young point-guard was chosen to play center in his place. As the game advanced, Johnson racked up 42 points. The Lakers clinched the victory and the NBA had clearly unearthed some new talent. Unsurprisingly, Johnson was named MVP.

3. The Lakers Finally Beat The Celtics 

As something of a sequel to our first two games, check out the 1985 NBA Finals almost a decade later. The LA Lakers faced off against the Boston Celtics, who were still at the top of their game and had denied the Lakers repeatedly during championship series.

Entering game six with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson at the helm, they had to face off against the Celtics’ Kevin McHale and Larry Bird. After a fierce battle, both teams exceeded 250 points with the Lakers winning at 259-256.

4. The Flu Game 

The fifth game of the 1997 Finals is perhaps better known as Michael Jordan’s Flu Game. It’s quite simple – he was suffering from stomach flu when he played it – but the reason it stands out is that Jordan was named MVP after putting in a great performance.

At this point in the series, both teams were tied and so game 5 was for the lead. Jordan performed well by scoring 38 points and leading the Bulls to victory. Even when sick, Jordan was unstoppable and it was his fifth time being named MVP in a Finals game.

5. 2001 NBA All-Star Game 

Next, we have an exhibition game that showcased the best talent in the NBA at the turn of the century. It was a who’s who of the league and the biggest players active back then, like Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant. It’s a great way to introduce fans to some of the league’s most celebrated and beloved talent.

6. Kobe Scores 81 Points 

Having mentioned the late Kobe Bryant, he was the star of a January 22nd game in 2006 where he put in one of the best performances in modern basketball history. Playing for the Lakers against the Toronto Raptors, Bryant racked up 81 points.

Wilt Chamberlain leads for most points scored in a single game in 1962, but it was different back then. The late Kobe Bryant was the closest to beating his record and the best single-game scorer from modern basketball players.