A Year In Review: The Best Basketball Games of 2017
What do you remember about the NBA in 2017?
There was no shortage of memorable storylines from this jam-packed season. The Warriors defended their title against a loaded Cleveland Cavaliers team in the league’s finest rivalry. There were also record-breaking performances, blockbuster trades, and epic buzzer beaters.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights from this phenomenal year of basketball in the NBA. We’ve done the research for you and have compiled a list of the absolute best basketball games of the past year. Here are our picks and why they were so exciting.
Washington Wizards vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 2/6/17
The Cleveland Cavaliers get no shortage of attention thanks to having one of the best players of all time in Lebron James. But the Washington Wizards quietly established themselves as formidable opponents to the Cavs in 2017.
This game featured a 39-point outburst from Kevin Love, including two clutch free throws with 3 seconds remaining. LeBron James added 32 points, and Kyrie Irving added 11 points in overtime to take down the Washington Wizards 140-135.
It was a moral victory for the Wizards, who proved they had enough talent to hang with anyone in the Eastern Conference. The two-headed monster of Bradley Beal and John Wall combined for 63 points in the loss.
This game was also notable in that LeBron set a solo record as the only player to ever be top 20 all-time in points, assists, and steals.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets 3/6/17
Forget about the Warriors. All eyes were on the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs during their March matchup.
This game had all the makings of the best basketball games. It featured two MVP candidates, James Harden and Kawhi Leonard, going head to head in a battle for the two seed in the Western Conference.
Harden and Leonard both finished the game with 39 points. Leonard buried a game-winning 3-pointer late and even sealed the game by blocking Harden on the last shot of the game. The Spurs won 112-110.
Boston Celtics vs. Phoenix Suns 3/24/17
The Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns played in one of the most legendary NBA Finals in 1976. The series included a triple-overtime thriller and the Celtics eventually overcame the Suns in six games.
The two long-running franchises played another iconic game in Boston last March. On paper, this doesn’t look like one of the best basketball games of the season. The Celtics beat the Suns 130-120 in a low stakes regular season game.
But this game showed the emergence of budding 20-year-old star shooting guard Devin Booker. The baby-faced Phoenix Sun exploded for 70 points, the most since Kobe Bryant’s 80 point performance in 2006.
The Boston crowd cheered on Booker as he cemented his place in history. Booker’s 70 points were the 10th highest in history, and he was only the 6th player to reach the 70 point threshold.
Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder 4/9/17
Russell Westbrook’s 2017 MVP season will go down as one of the most amazing individual feats in history.
Westbrook set an NBA record with his 42nd triple-double against the Nuggets. But that wasn’t the night’s only memorable moment.
The Thunder trailed the Nuggets by ten late in the game. Westbrook flourished and scored the Thunder’s final 15 points, including a late 3 to put the game away. He ended the game with 50 points, a win, and an NBA record.
Not bad for a day’s work.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics 10/17/17
LeBron James has dominated the Eastern Conference for the entire 2010s. Kyrie Irving’s marquee trade made some people question whether LeBron could keep his stranglehold on the East.
Luckily, fans didn’t have to wait long to see LeBron and Kyrie go toe to toe. The two squared off on the NBA’s opening night in Cleveland.
Kyrie Irving’s 22 points and ten assists weren’t enough to propel him over his ex-team. The Celtics fell to the Cavaliers 102-99.
It was a decisive win for King James, who powered the Cavs to victory with 29 points, 16 rebound, and nine assists.
The Celtics were able to overcome Gordon Hayward’s gruesome injury to compete with the Cavs until the closing seconds. Kyrie’s last-second three fell just short, and the Cavs temporarily cemented their spot as the East’s number one team.
Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets 10/17/17
The Cavaliers and Celtics didn’t have the only unforgettable game on opening night.
The Golden State Warriors were the undeniable top dog in the Western Conference. They opened the 2017-2018 season coming off three straight NBA Finals appearances, two titles, and a 73-win 2015-2016 season.
The Houston Rockets, on the other hand, were quickly emerging as a powerhouse of their own. MVP candidate James Harden and coach Mike D’Antoni helped the Rockets reach the Western Conference semifinals in 2016-2017. The Rockets also pulled off a blockbuster trade in the offseason that sent 9-time all-star Chris Paul to Houston.
This game proved that the Rockets could hang with the Warriors’ super team. The opening night game came down to the wire. Ultimately, the Rockets used a 34 point 4th quarter to propel them to a 122-121 victory.
James Harden had 27 points and 11 assists. Kevin Durant and Steph Curry both scored over 20 points. Newly acquired guard Nick Young led the Warriors in scoring with 23 points.
P.J. Tucker sunk two free throws with 44 seconds left to give the Rockets a one-point lead. Kevin Durant seemingly made a game-winning jump shot as time expired. After further review, the ball left KD’s hands too late, and the Rockets pulled off the upset in Oakland.
Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers 12/25/17
No list of best basketball games is complete without the Golden State Warriors vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers.
This Christmas Day match came down to the wire. The Stephen Curry-less Warriors hung on to win the game 99-92 at home.
This game was tied at 92 with 1:30 remaining. Klay Thompson hit a clutch three, and the Warriors never looked back. The game further established the Warriors as the team to beat in the NBA.
The Best Basketball Games
There’s no shortage of incredible basketball games from 2017. 2018 is sure to bring even more fire, competition, and rivalries to the NBA.
Are you interested in learning more about basketball? We can help. We educate and train people of all ages in the game of basketball.
Check out our basketball tips to start dominating on the court today.