Lakers-Celtics and Most Storied Rivalries in the NBA
The Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics resume their storied rivalry Thursday night as Kobe Bryant and the Lakers take on the Green in Beantown.
And whether it's Kobe versus Boston's "Big Three" or Magic going up against Bird, this Lakers-Celtics rivalry—probably the NBA's best ever—has seen plenty of meaningful iterations in recent years.
But there are plenty of other NBA rivalries that are nearly as bitter.
Here's a look at 10 of pro basketball's best rivalries of the last 30 years.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
It doesn't get any better than Lakers and Celtics when we talk about NBA rivalries.
Countless legendary Hall of Famers from Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and everyone in between and the 11 times they've met for the NBA Championship tells you everything you need to know about what happens when the two teams take the floor.
They only meet twice a year in the regular season, but it brings out the best in both teams.
New York Knicks vs. Indiana Pacers
These two franchises usually met up in the postseason and tempers often flared with Pacers guard Reggie Miller and Knicks fan Spike Lee usually at the forefront of everything.
Miller got the nickname of the "Knicks Killer" for a reason.
Detroit Pistons vs. Boston Celtics
These two teams hated each other as the rivalry peaked in the mid-80s.
They met in the NBA playoffs five times in seven seasons from 1985–1991, with the Celtics winning in 1985 and 1987, and the Pistons coming out on top en route to back-to-back finals appearances in 1988 and their championship season of 1989 and 1991.
Bill Laimbeer and Robert Parish got in scuffles on a regular basis, but the Larry Bird vs. Isiah Thomas made this rivalry special.
Miami Heat vs. New York Knicks
The heated battles between Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning highlighted this rivalry, but overall, the Knicks and Heat were just two teams that really hated each other in the '90s.
They played in four straight postseason series from 1997 to 2000. and it was a war every single time.
Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons
For Michael Jordan and the Bulls to get their first ring, first they had to get over the hump of beating the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals.
These two teams had a strong dislike for each other, and it was a brutal physical war every time they met.
Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
The Knicks were so close to a title but couldn't get past Michael Jordan in the 90s.
They met every year in the playoffs during the Bulls first three-peat, and the results were always the same, but this rivalry was filled with highlights and great basketball.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
This is a fairly new rivalry, but the Spurs and Mavericks had some battles for Texas supremacy on the line.
Before last season, the Mavericks had a resume filled with postseason failures that was in large part due to the play of Tim Duncan and the Spurs.
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers
The Celtics and Sixers rivalry of the 1980s was great mostly due in part to the fact that there was a genuine hate between Bird and Julius Erving.
The teams have met the most times in the NBA playoffs, playing each other 18 times with the Celtics winning 11 of those series.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets
Quite frankly what made these battles good was the fact that the Lakers had long been champions and wanted to stay that, while the Rockets were a hungry team eager to grab what the Lakers held so tight.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Sacramento Kings
The Kings were so close with a team led by Chris Webber and Mike Bibby.
They were talented enough to win the Western Conference, but they had to get through Shaq and Kobe to do so.
They never did, but the rivalry led to some great moments.