List of every NBA Finals series to go 7 games

Only 18 of the 77 NBA Finals in history have gone the distance.
2016 NBA Finals - Game Seven
2016 NBA Finals - Game Seven / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

There have been 77 Finals in the history of the NBA. Of those, 18 series (23.4 percent) have finished with the best phrase in sports: Game 7. The most recent series to go all the way to Game 7 was the 2026 NBA Finals featuring the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. 

The Dallas Mavericks lost Game 1 of the 2024 NBA Finals 107-89. The Mavericks must make significant adjustments if they hope to become the 19th series in NBA history to go the distance. 

Every NBA Finals series that has gone to Game 7

2015-16: Cleveland Cavaliers def. Golden State Warriors

2012-13: Miami Heat def. San Antonio Spurs

2009-10: Los Angeles Lakers def. Boston Celtics

2004-05: San Antonio Spurs def. Detroit Pistons

1993-94: Houston Rockets def. New York Knicks

1987-88: Los Angeles Lakers def. Detroit Pistons

1983-84: Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers

1977-78: Washington Bullets def. Seattle SuperSonics

1973-74: Boston Celtics def. Milwaukee Bucks

1969-70: New York Knicks def. Los Angeles Lakers

1968-69: Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers

1965-66: Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers

1961-62: Boston Celtics def. Los Angeles Lakers

1959-60: Boston Celtics def. St. Louis Hawks

1956-57: Boston Celtics def. St. Louis Hawks

1954-55: Syracuse Nationals def. Ft. Wayne Pistons

1953-54: Minneapolis Lakers def. Syracuse Nationals

1950-51: Rochester Royals def. New York Knicks

Takeaways from the Game 7 list

The main takeaway is the historical greatness of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, which explains their frequent appearance on this list. The Celtics were impressively on the winning side in seven of their eight Game 7 matchups. Meanwhile, the Lakers are 4-5, but four losses have come from the Celtics.

The historical franchises stand out in terms of how often they make the list, but their rivalry is also notable. The Celtics had the Lakers number in the 1960s. In that decade alone, the two teams met each other in the Finals on six occasions, with the Celtics winning each time. 

The other takeaway is the importance of home-court advantage in the Finals. From the list, the home teams won 14 out of the 18 matchups (77.8 percent). However, something to consider is the fact that the team that finished with the better record in the regular season has likely had the more talented roster.

The two notable underdogs from the list are the 1977-78 Washington Bullets (44-38) defeating the Seattle Supersonics (47-35), and the 2015-16 Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)  defeating the Golden State Warriors (73-9).