The NBA Playoffs are here once again with all the accompanying excitement. As tensions run high as the NBA playoffs 2015 gradually reaches its climax, a quick trip down memory lane might serve to calm some fraying nerves. With the playoffs underway, basketball enthusiast are being thrilled by the skills, dribbles, passes, dunks and three-point throws from the best teams from the three divisions that make up each of the two conferences. This is usually the time for teams to win the coveted title – NBA Champions. The 2015 playoffs for the 14/15 season is no different in intensity and fierceness of the battle to come out as the top dogs of the NBA.
The NBA Playoffs is now a much-anticipated event. With both teams and fans first working hard to top their divisions so as to qualify for the playoffs, and then working hard to win their games at the playoffs so as to emerge league champions.
The history of the NBA playoffs can be traced to as far back as 1947. The only difference is, in 1947 there was no National Basketball Association (NBA). The NBA came into existence in 1949 after the already existing basketball associations – Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) – merged. Before the merger, the BAA started the playoffs and had three seasons before transforming into what is known today as the NBA.
From inception till date, the NBA playoffs have been held a total of about 68 times with this season’s playoffs being the 69th. It has become a culture unto itself. In the approximately 68 years that the playoffs have been on, the team to have appeared in the championship the most is the Los Angeles Lakers with 60 appearances while the team with the least number of appearances is the New Orleans Pelicans with six appearances. The team with the most championship title wins is the Bolton Celtics with 17 championship title wins.
En-route achieving this feat, the Bolton Celtics won eight consecutive championships from 1959 to 1966. They are closely followed by the Los Angeles Lakers with 16 championship title wins. The Los Angeles Lakers are also the last team to achieve a back-to-back championship title win. They achieved this in 2009 and 2010. Other than these two teams, the only other teams to have achieved more than four championship title wins are the Chicago Bulls with six title wins and San Antonio Spurs with five title wins.
Looking at more historical facts from the NBA playoffs, of all the teams to have gotten to the finals more than once, only the Chicago Bulls have never lost at the finals. They have won all six times they got to the finals. The team with the longest unbroken winning run in a post-season is the San Antonio Spurs who recorded a 12 unbroken win run in the 1999 playoffs. They are closely followed by the Los Angeles Lakers with an 11 unbroken win run in the 2001 season. They also hold the record for the most dominant appearance in post-season, having a 15-1 record in the same 2001 season.
This is a fresh season with fresh prospects. Basketball fans are looking with keen interest to see what iconic landmarks will be created in the ongoing NBA playoffs. The playoffs started on April 18, 2015 and will end on June 4, 2015. The teams participating in this year’s playoffs are:
From The Eastern Conference
- Atlanta Hawks
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Chicago Bulls
- Toronto Raptors
- Washington Wizards
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
From The Western Conference
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Portland Trail Blazers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- San Antonio Spurs
- Dallas Mavericks
- New Orleans Pelicans
So far, some facts have been noted for the history books. Some of these are:
- On March 3, 2015, the Atlanta Hawks became the first team to qualify for the playoffs.
- All five teams from the Southwest division made the playoffs. Something like this last occurred in 2005/2006 season.
- San Antonio Spurs have become the first defending champion since the 2011/2012 season to be eliminated in the first round.
- Of the four remaining teams, one (Cleveland Cavaliers) have never won an NBA championship title and are hoping to do so this season.
- Atlanta Hawks have made the conference finals, a feat they last achieved in 1970.
- The Golden State Warriors have also made the conference finals which they last did in 1976.
- The Houston Rockets also made the conference finals. They last achieved this in 1997
From the nostalgic trip down NBA playoffs memory lane to the present, the stage is now set for the battle of the conference finals. Interestingly, the four contenders are all division winners. As these four winners battle for the two final slots, from which only one will emerge champion, fresh records will be set and history will once again be made. Looking at the past, excited for the present and on to the future – all for the love of the game.
By Chimerenka Odimba
Vegasinsider.com: NBA Finals History
basketball-reference.com: NBA & ABA Team Index
Photo courtesy of nba.com