The Denver Nuggets’ 80-78 victory in Game 7 over the Utah Jazz was a battle of attrition and a stark contrast to the six games that preceded it…

L.M. OTERO/Associated Press
If there aren’t many future playoff matchups in the cards for Murray and Mitchell, they may well end up among these great battles:
Walt Frazier vs. Jerry West
These legendary guards met in the Finals three times. Frazier averaged 18.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.5 rebounds while leading the New York Knicks to two titles. West went for 25.0 points, 7.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds in those 17 games.
Larry Bird vs. Bernard King
It took seven games, but Larry Bird led the Boston Celtics over the New York Knicks in the 1984 Eastern Conference Semifinals with averages of 30.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 2.7 steals and 1.0 blocks.
Bernard King was the biggest reason for the struggle. He countered Bird with 29.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.1 steals, carrying a far less talented team further than most could’ve predicted.
Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins
Four years later, Bird matched up with the Atlanta Hawks’ Dominique Wilkins for one of the most iconic duels in league history.
For the series, Bird averaged 26.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists. Wilkins went for 31.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists.
The highlight, of course, was Game 7. Wilkins totaled 47 points, but it wasn’t quite enough to upend the Celtics, as Jack McCallum wrote for Sports Illustrated.
“Anything less than the transcendent fourth period that Larry Bird threw at Atlanta on Sunday, and all those Boston Celtics obituaries that had been set in type since October would have seen the light of day. However, Bird made nine of his 10 field-goal attempts in the final 12 minutes to lift Boston to a 118-116 victory…”
Larry Bird vs. Julius Erving
Sensing a theme here? Julius “Dr. J” Erving was another Eastern Conference star who got plenty of cracks against Bird. He went 12-12 in the playoffs against Bird and averaged 19.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists against Bird’s 22.1 points, 12.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
Michael Jordan vs. Isiah Thomas
The legend of Michael Jordan may not have taken on the life it did without the adversity he faced from Isiah Thomas and the Detroit Pistons.
Believe it or not, IT has a winning record (12-10) against the GOAT in playoff games.
Michael Jordan vs. the 1990s
Much like Bird in the 1980s, the following decade was loaded with playoff battles against one superstar. Jordan topped Magic Johnson, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Gary Payton, Reggie Miller and Karl Malone, just to name a few.
Vince Carter vs. Allen Iverson
In the 2001 Eastern Conference Semifinals, two of the league’s most dynamic offensive stars put on a show.
AI went for 33.7 points, 6.9 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals. Carter averaged 30.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.6 steals, 2.0 blocks and 1.9 steals.
Gilbert Arenas vs. LeBron James
In a battle that enlisted the help of Soulja Boy, prime Gilbert Arenas gave LeBron James all he and the Cleveland Cavaliers could handle during the first round of the 2006 Eastern Conference playoffs.
Agent Zero averaged 34.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.2 steals, but his Washington Wizards fell to LeBron and his 35.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
Dirk Nowitzki vs. Tim Duncan
These two Western Conference mainstays faced each other 33 times in the playoffs, with Tim Duncan winning 18 of those games. The highlight of the rivalry may have come during the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals.
In that seven-game series, Dirk led the Dallas Mavericks to victory with 27.1 points, 13.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists. And Duncan might’ve been even better. He put up 32.3 points, 11.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.6 blocks and 1.0 steals.
Dirk Nowitzki vs. Dwyane Wade
They weren’t matched up much, but Dirk and Dwyane Wade’s teams faced each other twice in the Finals during the 2000s.
After Wade led the Miami Heat to a Finals win in 2006 with 73 free-throw attempts over the last four games, Dirk got his revenge in 2011.
Carmelo Anthony vs. Kobe Bryant
Two of the greatest volume scorers of all time put on an offensive clinic in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
The Los Angeles Lakers topped the Denver Nuggets in six games behind Kobe Bryant’s 34.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists.
Carmelo Anthony didn’t make it easy, though. He put up 27.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists.