1994 NBA Playoffs

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The 1994 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1993-94 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets defeating the Eastern Conference champion New York Knicks 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. Hakeem Olajuwon was named NBA Finals MVP.

The biggest upset came in the first round, when the Denver Nuggets came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Seattle SuperSonics in five games, marking the first time in NBA history that an eighth seed had defeated a #1 seed. Denver stretched their improbable playoff run with the Utah Jazz to seven games after being down 0-3 (the first team in playoff history to do so), but Utah defeated them in Game 7 91-81.

The playoffs also featured the very first playoff series victory for the Indiana Pacers in their 18-year NBA existence, as they swept the Orlando Magic (who were making their first playoff appearance in franchise history) in the first round, then eliminated the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks 4-2 in the second round. The Pacers advanced within one game of the NBA Finals, but lost Games 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Knicks.

This was the first time since the ABA-NBA merger prior to the 1976-77 season that all the former ABA teams (Pacers, Nuggets, Spurs, and Nets) made the playoffs in the same year.

For the Chicago Bulls, this was their only playoff apperance between the first retirement of Michael Jordan and his return on March 17, 1995. After sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round, they fell in seven games to the Knicks in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

For the Knicks, they made history by playing a record 25 playoff games (one short of the maximum), the most postseason games that an NBA team had ever played. The 2005 Detroit Pistons tied this record.[1] However, it was broken by the 2008 Celtics.[1] Their easiest series was the first-round 3-1 win over the Nets. New York then forced three consecutive Game 7's, eliminating the Bulls 4-3 in the Conference Semifinals, knocking off the Pacers 4-3 in the Conference Finals, both times at Madison Square Garden, before falling in Game 7 to the Rockets at The Summit in the NBA Finals, which meant New York was denied both NBA and NHL titles. Game 4 of the Finals took place at the Garden a day after the New York Rangers won their first Stanley Cup in 54 years in Game 7 of the 1994 Stanley Cup Finals. Knicks coach Pat Riley made history by becoming the first (and to this date, the only) person in NBA history to have coached a Game 7 in the NBA Finals for two different teams, having been with the Lakers in 1984 and 1988. However, he had the distinction to have become the first (and as of 2013, only) coach to lose a Game 7 in the NBA Finals on two different teams, as his Lakers lost to the Celtics in 1984. It also denied him the distinction of becoming the first coach to win a Game 7 in the NBA Finals with two different teams, as his Lakers defeated the Detroit Pistons in 1988.

This was the last playoff appearance for the Golden State Warriors until 2007.

This was also the first time that the Boston Celtics since 1979, and Los Angeles Lakers since 1976, did not make the playoffs and their first-ever absence since the playoff field expanded to 16 teams in 1984. This was the first time that both teams missed the playoffs in the same year. This would not occur again until 2014.

Game 3 of the Bulls-Cavaliers series was the last game ever played at the Coliseum at Richfield.

Game 6 of the Bulls-Knicks series was the last game ever played at Chicago Stadium.

Game 5 of the Nuggets-Sonics series was the last to be played at Seattle Center Coliseum before the renovations and renaming into KeyArena two years later. The Sonics played the intervening 1994–95 NBA season at Tacoma Dome in nearby Tacoma, Washington.

Bracket[edit]

1st Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                       
1 Seattle 2
8 Denver 3
8 Denver 3
5 Utah 4
4 San Antonio 1
5 Utah 3
5 Utah 1
Western Conference
2 Houston 4
3 Phoenix 3
6 Golden State 0
3 Phoenix 3
2 Houston 4
2 Houston 3
7 Portland 1
W2 Houston 4
E2 New York 3
1 Atlanta 3
8 Miami 2
1 Atlanta 2
5 Indiana 4
4 Orlando 0
5 Indiana 3
5 Indiana 3
Eastern Conference
2 New York 4
3 Chicago 3
6 Cleveland 0
3 Chicago 3
2 New York 4
2 New York 3
7 New Jersey 1

Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Houston Rockets

1st Round

(1) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Nuggets win series 3-2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1988 Western Conference First Round (Denver won 3-2)

(2) Houston Rockets vs. (7) Portland Trail Blazers: Rockets win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ The Summit, Houston (April 29): Houston 115, Portland 104
  • Game 2 @ The Summit, Houston (May 1): Houston 114, Portland 104
  • Game 3 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (May 3): Portland 118, Houston 115
  • Game 4 @ Memorial Coliseum, Portland (May 6): Houston 92, Portland 89

Last Playoff Meeting: 1987 Western Conference First Round (Houston won 3-1)

(3) Phoenix Suns vs. (6) Golden State Warriors: Suns win series 3-0

Last Playoff Meeting: 1989 Western Conference Semifinals (Phoenix won 4-1)

(4) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Utah Jazz: Jazz win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (April 28): San Antonio 106, Utah 89
  • Game 2 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (April 30): Utah 96, San Antonio 84
  • Game 3 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 3): Utah 105, San Antonio 72
  • Game 4 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 5): Utah 95, San Antonio 90

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Spurs and Jazz.

Conference Semifinals

(2) Houston Rockets vs. (3) Phoenix Suns: Rockets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ The Summit, Houston (May 8): Phoenix 91, Houston 87
  • Game 2 @ The Summit, Houston (May 11): Phoenix 124, Houston 117 (OT)
  • Game 3 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 13): Houston 118, Phoenix 102
  • Game 4 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 15): Houston 107, Phoenix 96 (Kevin Johnson's famous dunk on Hakeem Olajuwon)
  • Game 5 @ The Summit, Houston (May 17): Houston 109, Phoenix 86
  • Game 6 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 19): Phoenix 103, Houston 89
  • Game 7 @ The Summit, Houston (May 21): Houston 104, Phoenix 94 (The Rockets become the second team to win a playoff series after losing the first 2 games at home.)

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Rockets and Suns.

(5) Utah Jazz vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Jazz win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 10): Utah 100, Denver 91
  • Game 2 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 12): Utah 104, Denver 94
  • Game 3 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 14): Utah 111, Denver 109 (OT)
  • Game 4 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 15): Denver 83, Utah 82
  • Game 5 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 17): Denver 109, Utah 101 (2OT)
  • Game 6 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 19): Denver 94, Utah 91 (Denver became the first team since the 1951 New York Knicks to force a Game 7 after being down 0-3)
  • Game 7 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 21): Utah 91, Denver 81

Last Playoff Meeting: 1985 Western Conference Semifinals (Denver won 4-1)

Conference Finals

(2) Houston Rockets vs. (5) Utah Jazz: Rockets win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ The Summit, Houston (May 23): Houston 100, Utah 88
  • Game 2 @ The Summit, Houston (May 25): Houston 104, Utah 99
  • Game 3 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 27): Utah 95, Houston 86
  • Game 4 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 29): Houston 80, Utah 78
  • Game 5 @ The Summit, Houston (May 31): Houston 94, Utah 83

Last Playoff Meeting: 1985 Western Conference First Round (Utah won 3-2)

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: New York Knicks

1st Round

(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (8) Miami Heat: Hawks win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 28): Miami 93, Atlanta 88
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 30): Atlanta 104, Miami 86
  • Game 3 @ Miami Arena, Miami (May 3): Miami 90, Atlanta 86
  • Game 4 @ Miami Arena, Miami (May 5): Atlanta 103, Miami 89
  • Game 5 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 8): Atlanta 102, Miami 91

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Hawks and Heat.

(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) New Jersey Nets: Knicks win series 3-1

Last Playoff Meeting: 1983 Eastern Conference First Round (New York won 2-0)

(3) Chicago Bulls vs. (6) Cleveland Cavaliers: Bulls win series 3-0

  • Game 1 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (April 29): Chicago 104, Cleveland 96
  • Game 2 @ Chicago Stadium, Chicago (May 1): Chicago 105, Cleveland 96
  • Game 3 @ The Coliseum, Richfield (May 3): Chicago 95, Cleveland 92 (OT)

Last Playoff Meeting: 1993 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Chicago won 4-0)

(4) Orlando Magic vs. (5) Indiana Pacers: Pacers win series 3-0

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Pacers and Magic.

Conference Semifinals

(1) Atlanta Hawks vs. (5) Indiana Pacers: Pacers win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 10): Indiana 96, Atlanta 85
  • Game 2 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 12): Atlanta 92, Indiana 69
  • Game 3 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 14): Indiana 101, Atlanta 81
  • Game 4 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 15): Indiana 102, Atlanta 86
  • Game 5 @ The Omni, Atlanta (May 17): Atlanta 88, Indiana 76
  • Game 6 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 19): Indiana 98, Atlanta 79

Last Playoff Meeting: 1987 Eastern Conference First Round (Atlanta won 3-1)

(2) New York Knicks vs. (3) Chicago Bulls: Knicks win series 4-3

Last Playoff Meeting: 1993 Eastern Conference Finals (Chicago won 4-2)

Conference Finals

(2) New York Knicks vs. (5) Indiana Pacers: Knicks win series 4-3

Last Playoff Meeting: 1993 Eastern Conference First Round (New York won 3-1)

NBA Finals[edit]

(2) Houston Rockets vs. (2) New York Knicks: Rockets win series 4-3

Last Playoff Meeting: 1975 Eastern Conference First Round (Houston won 2-1)

Notes[edit]

  • Down 2-0 against #1 seed Seattle, #8 seed Denver came back to win their first round series 3-2. By doing so, they became the first #8 seed to advance in the playoffs.
  • Both #5 seeds Indiana and Utah beat their #4 seeded opponents in the first round.
  • Down 3-0 in the series against Utah in the Western Conference Semifinals, Denver won 3 straight games to force a Game 7. They became the first of only two teams in league history to accomplish this. The second was the Portland Trail Blazers in 2003, who also lost Game 7, against the Dallas Mavericks.
  • Down 2-0 in the series against #3 seed Phoenix, Houston came back to win the Conference Semifinals 4-3 after losing the first 2 at home. They are 1 of 3 teams in NBA playoff history to win a 7-game series after losing the first 2 games at home.
  • Coverage of Game 5 of the NBA Finals on NBC had frequent updates of the OJ Simpson/Al Cowlings car chase. NBC executives had to make on-the-spot decisions to determine whether they would cover the game or car chase.
  • There were a record 5 Game 7s in this playoffs.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Beck, Howard (June 17, 2008). "Celtics Remain Mindful Of a Missed Opportunity". The New York Times. p. D2. 

External links[edit]