NBA Finals is the best-of-seven championship series of the National Basketball Association (NBA) between the Eastern and Western Conference Champions.
Prior to the merger in 1949 between the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL), this series was known as the BAA Finals. From 1950 to 1982, the series was given the name - NBA World Championship Series. It was then changed to Showdown till 1986 before finally settling on NBA Finals.
A total of 19 franchises have been victorious at the NBA Finals stage, led by the prestigious franchise of the Boston Celtics that has 17 titles to its name. The Los Angeles Lakers are in a close second spot with 16 championships, however, they do lead the way with respect to number of appearances in the NBA Finals - 31. It's not a huge difference but the Eastern Conference has bragging rights over their counterparts in the West having won more championships - 38 times via 10 different franchise as compared to 34 by 9 different teams.
Up until 1985, the Finals harbored a format of 2-2-1-1-1 with the first two games and the final game being played at the area of the team with the home court advantage (better regular season record). To reduce the cross country-travel and thus the load on the players, the format was switched to 2-3-2 with the first and the last two games being played at the arena of the team with the better regular season record.
From 2015 to 2018, the Finals' match-up has been the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. They are the only team to meet in the Finals, four years in a row, a testament to the competitive nature and greatness of this ongoing rivalry.
The 2019 NBA Finals will be played between the Warriors and the Toronto Raptors with the latter appearing in the Finals for the first time in franchise history.