Throughout NBA history there have been 119 Game 7s, beginning in 1948 with a semifinal matchup between the Philadelphia Warriors and the St. Louis Bombers and continuing all the way through last weekend’s first round clash between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs. Of these games, 19 have occurred in the first round, 49 in the conference/division semifinals, 33 in the conference/division finals, and 18 in the NBA Finals. All manner of great players have participated, from Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to LeBron James and Tim Duncan.

There is, quite simply, no greater stage in basketball than a Game 7. The added urgency given to every possession makes it one of the most intense sporting experiences on earth, and with this enormous pressure we can quickly sort the truly great teams from the rest. We get so many Game 7 blowouts because, when the stakes are at their highest, many teams simply collapse.

However, when the teams are evenly-matched and both are fully prepared to do whatever it takes to win, that’s when we get a truly special game. While there are many to choose from, these are the Greatest Game 7s in NBA History.

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