Atlantic Division (NBA)

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Atlantic Division
Conference Eastern Conference
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Inaugural season 1970–71 season
No. of teams
Most recent champion(s) (2nd title)
Most titles (21 titles)

The Atlantic Division is one of the three divisions in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The division consists of five teams, the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. All teams, except the Raptors, are located on the East Coast of the United States. However, Toronto sports teams have over the years enjoyed rivalries with teams in the Northeastern United States (particularly, Toronto teams also share divisions with Boston teams in Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, with the former also containing a team in New York City).

The division was created at the start of the 1970–71 season, when the league expanded from 14 to 17 teams with the addition of the Buffalo Braves, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Portland Trail Blazers. The league realigned itself into two conferences, the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference, with two divisions in each conference. The Atlantic Division began with four inaugural members, the Celtics, the Braves, the Knicks and the 76ers.[1] The Celtics, the Knicks and the 76ers all joined from the Eastern Division.

The Celtics have won the most Atlantic Division titles with 21. The 76ers have won the second most titles with five. Eight NBA champions came from the Atlantic Division. The Celtics won six championships, while the Knicks and the 76ers won one championship each. All of them, except the 1972–73 Knicks, were division champions. In the 1983–84 season, all five teams from the division qualified for the playoffs. In the 1982–83 season, all teams in the division had winning percentages above 0.500 (50%). The most recent division champion is the Toronto Raptors.

Until the end of the 2012-13 season (when both the Celtics and 76ers appear to have entered a rebuilding stage, by trading away valuable players for future draft picks), the Atlantic Division was considered as being perhaps the most competitive division in the NBA (a title historically bestowed on divisions from the Western Conference, during the late 1990s and 2000s this was particularly thought to be the Southwest Division).[2]

Teams[edit]

Team City Year From
Joined
Boston Celtics Boston, Massachusetts 1970 Eastern Division
Brooklyn Nets (2012–present)
New Jersey Nets (19772012)
New York Nets (19761977)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Piscataway/East Rutherford/Newark, New Jersey
Uniondale, New York
1976 ABAdouble-dagger
New York Knicks New York City, New York 1970 Eastern Division
Philadelphia 76ers Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1970 Eastern Division
Toronto Raptors Toronto, Ontario 2004 Central Division
Notes

Former teams[edit]

Team City Year From Year To Current division
Joined Left
Buffalo Braves (19701978, now Los Angeles Clippers) Buffalo, New York 1970 dagger 1978 Pacific Division
(as San Diego Clippers)
Pacific Division
Charlotte Hornets (19882002; 2004–present, formerly Charlotte Bobcats) Charlotte, North Carolina 1988 dagger 1989 Midwest Division Southeast Division
Miami Heat Miami, Florida 1989 Midwest Division 2004 Southeast Division Southeast Division
Orlando Magic Orlando, Florida 1991 Midwest Division 2004 Southeast Division Southeast Division
Washington Wizards (1997–present)
Washington Bullets (19741997)
Washington, D.C.
Landover, Maryland
1978 Central Division 2004 Southeast Division Southeast Division
Notes

Team timeline[edit]

Denotes team that is currently in the division
Denotes team that has left the division

Toronto Raptors Orlando Magic Miami Heat Charlotte Hornets Washington Wizards Brooklyn Nets Philadelphia 76ers New York Knicks Buffalo Braves Boston Celtics

Division champions[edit]

^ Had or tied for the best regular season record for that season
Season Team Record Playoffs result
1970–71 New York Knicks 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Finals
1971–72 Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683) Lost Conference Finals
1972–73 Boston Celtics^ 68–14 (.829) Lost Conference Finals
1973–74 Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683) Won NBA Finals
1974–75 Boston Celtics^ 60–22 (.732) Lost Conference Finals
1975–76 Boston Celtics 54–28 (.659) Won NBA Finals
1976–77 Philadelphia 76ers 50–32 (.610) Lost NBA Finals
1977–78 Philadelphia 76ers 55–27 (.671) Lost Conference Finals
1978–79 Washington Bullets^ 54–28 (.659) Lost NBA Finals
1979–80 Boston Celtics^ 61–21 (.744) Lost Conference Finals
1980–81 Boston Celtics^ 62–20 (.756) Won NBA Finals
1981–82 Boston Celtics^ 63–19 (.768) Lost Conference Finals
1982–83 Philadelphia 76ers^ 65–17 (.793) Won NBA Finals
1983–84 Boston Celtics^ 62–20 (.756) Won NBA Finals
1984–85 Boston Celtics^ 63–19 (.768) Lost NBA Finals
1985–86 Boston Celtics^ 67–15 (.817) Won NBA Finals
1986–87 Boston Celtics 59–23 (.720) Lost NBA Finals
1987–88 Boston Celtics 57–25 (.695) Lost Conference Finals
1988–89 New York Knicks 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Semifinals
1989–90 Philadelphia 76ers 53–29 (.646) Lost Conference Semifinals
1990–91 Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683) Lost Conference Semifinals
1991–92 Boston Celtics 51–31 (.622) Lost Conference Semifinals
1992–93 New York Knicks 60–22 (.732) Lost Conference Finals
1993–94 New York Knicks 57–25 (.695) Lost NBA Finals
1994–95 Orlando Magic 57–25 (.695) Lost NBA Finals
1995–96 Orlando Magic 60–22 (.732) Lost Conference Finals
1996–97 Miami Heat 61–21 (.744) Lost Conference Finals
1997–98 Miami Heat 55–27 (.671) Lost First Round
1998–99[a] Miami Heat 33–17 (.660) Lost First Round
1999–00 Miami Heat 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Semifinals
2000–01 Philadelphia 76ers 56–26 (.683) Lost NBA Finals
2001–02 New Jersey Nets 52–30 (.634) Lost NBA Finals
2002–03 New Jersey Nets 49–33 (.598) Lost NBA Finals
2003–04 New Jersey Nets 47–35 (.573) Lost Conference Semifinals
2004–05 Boston Celtics 45–37 (.549) Lost First Round
2005–06 New Jersey Nets 49–33 (.598) Lost Conference Semifinals
2006–07 Toronto Raptors 47–35 (.573) Lost First Round
2007–08 Boston Celtics^ 66–16 (.805) Won NBA Finals
2008–09 Boston Celtics 62–20 (.756) Lost Conference Semifinals
2009–10 Boston Celtics 50–32 (.610) Lost NBA Finals
2010–11 Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683) Lost Conference Semifinals
2011–12[b] Boston Celtics 39–27 (.591) Lost Conference Finals
2012–13 New York Knicks 54–28 (.659) Lost Conference Semifinals
2013–14 Toronto Raptors 48–34 (.585) Lost First Round

Titles by team[edit]

^ Denotes team that has left the division
Team Titles Season(s) won
Boston Celtics 21 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1984–85,1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1991–92, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
Philadelphia 76ers 5 1976–77, 1977–78, 1982–83, 1989–90, 2000–01
New York Knicks 5 1970–71, 1988–89, 1992–93, 1993–94, 2012–13
Miami Heat^ 4 1996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00
New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets) 4 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2005–06
Orlando Magic^ 2 1994–95, 1995–96
Toronto Raptors 2 2006–07, 2013–14
Washington Bullets^ (now Washington Wizards) 1 1978–79

Season results[edit]

^ Denotes team that won the NBA championships
+ Denotes team that won the Conference Finals, but lost the NBA Finals
* Denotes team that qualified for the NBA Playoffs
Season Team (record)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th
1970–71 New York* (52–30) Philadelphia* (47–35) Boston (44–38) Buffalo (22–60)
1971–72 Boston* (56–26) New York+ (48–34) Philadelphia (30–52) Buffalo (22–60)
1972–73 Boston* (68–14) New York^ (57–25) Buffalo (21–61) Philadelphia (9–73)
1973–74 Boston^ (56–26) New York* (49–33) Buffalo* (42–40) Philadelphia (25–57)
1974–75 Boston* (60–22) Buffalo* (49–33) New York* (40–42) Philadelphia (34–48)
1975–76 Boston^ (54–28) Philadelphia* (46–36) Buffalo* (46–36) New York (38–44)
1976–77 Philadelphia+ (50–32) Boston* (44–38) N.Y. Knicks (40–42) Buffalo (30–52) N.Y. Nets (22–60)
1977–78 Philadelphia* (55–27) New York* (43–39) Boston (32–50) Buffalo (27–55) New Jersey (24–58)
1978–79 Washington+ (54–28) Philadelphia* (47–35) New Jersey* (37–45) New York (31–51) Boston (29–53)
1979–80 Boston* (61–21) Philadelphia+ (59–23) Washington* (39–43) New York (39–43) New Jersey (34–48)
1980–81 Boston^ (62–20) Philadelphia* (62–20) New York* (50–32) Washington (39–43) New Jersey (24–58)
1981–82 Boston* (63–19) Philadelphia+ (58–24) New Jersey* (44–38) Washington* (43–39) New York (33–49)
1982–83 Philadelphia^ (65–17) Boston* (56–26) New Jersey* (49–33) New York* (44–38) Washington (42–40)
1983–84 Boston^ (62–20) Philadelphia* (52–30) New York* (47–35) New Jersey* (45–37) Washington* (35–47)
1984–85 Boston+ (63–19) Philadelphia* (58–24) New Jersey* (42–40) Washington* (40–42) New York (24–58)
1985–86 Boston^ (67–15) Philadelphia* (54–28) Washington* (39–43) New Jersey* (39–43) New York (23–59)
1986–87 Boston+ (59–23) Philadelphia* (45–37) Washington* (42–40) New Jersey (24–58) New York (24–58)
1987–88 Boston* (57–25) Washington* (38–44) New York* (38–44) Philadelphia (36–46) New Jersey (19–63)
1988–89 New York* (52–30) Philadelphia* (46–36) Boston* (42–40) Washington (40–42) New Jersey (26–56) Charlotte (20–62)
1989–90 Philadelphia* (53–29) Boston* (52–30) New York* (45–37) Washington (31–51) Miami (18–64) New Jersey (17–65)
1990–91 Boston* (56–26) Philadelphia* (44–38) New York* (39–43) Washington (30–52) New Jersey (26–56) Miami (24–58)
1991–92 Boston* (51–31) New York* (51–31) New Jersey* (40–42) Miami* (38–44) Philadelphia (35–47) Washington (25–57) Orlando (21–61)
1992–93 New York* (60–22) Boston* (48–34) New Jersey* (43–39) Orlando (41–41) Miami (36–46) Philadelphia (26–56) Washington (22–60)
1993–94 New York+ (57–25) Orlando* (50–32) New Jersey* (45–37) Miami* (42–40) Boston (32–50) Philadelphia (25–57) Washington (24–58)
1994–95 Orlando+ (57–25) New York* (55–27) Boston* (35–47) Miami (32–50) New Jersey (30–52) Philadelphia (24–58) Washington (21–61)
1995–96 Orlando* (60–22) New York* (47–35) Miami* (42–40) Washington (39–43) Boston (33–49) New Jersey (30–52) Philadelphia (18–64)
1996–97 Miami* (61–21) New York* (57–25) Orlando* (45–37) Washington* (44–38) New Jersey (26–56) Philadelphia (22–60) Boston (15–67)
1997–98 Miami* (55–27) New York* (43–39) New Jersey* (43–39) Washington (42–40) Orlando (41–41) Boston (36–46) Philadelphia (31–51)
1998–99[a] Miami* (33–17) Orlando* (33–17) Philadelphia* (28–22) New York+ (27–23) Boston (19–31) Washington (18–32) New Jersey (16–34)
1999–00 Miami* (52–30) New York* (50–32) Philadelphia* (49–33) Orlando (41–41) Boston (35–47) New Jersey (31–51) Washington (29–53)
2000–01 Philadelphia+ (56–26) Miami* (50–32) New York* (48–34) Orlando* (43–39) Boston (36–46) New Jersey (26–56) Washington (19–63)
2001–02 New Jersey+ (52–30) Boston* (49–33) Orlando* (44–38) Philadelphia* (43–39) Washington (37–45) Miami (36–46) New York (30–52)
2002–03 New Jersey+ (49–33) Philadelphia* (48–34) Boston* (44–38) Orlando* (42–40) Washington (37–45) New York (37–45) Miami (25–57)
2003–04 New Jersey* (47–35) Miami* (42–40) New York* (39–43) Boston* (36–46) Philadelphia (33–49) Washington (25–57) Orlando (21–61)
2004–05 Boston* (45–37) Philadelphia* (43–39) New Jersey* (42–40) Toronto (33–49) New York (33–49)
2005–06 New Jersey* (49–33) Philadelphia (38–44) Boston (33–49) Toronto (27–55) New York (23–59)
2006–07 Toronto* (47–35) New Jersey* (41–41) Philadelphia (35–47) New York (33–49) Boston (24–58)
2007–08 Boston^ (66–16) Toronto* (41–41) Philadelphia* (40–42) New Jersey (34–48) New York (23–59)
2008–09 Boston* (62–20) Philadelphia* (41–41) New Jersey (34–48) Toronto (33–49) New York (32–50)
2009–10 Boston+ (50–32) Toronto (40–42) New York (29–53) Philadelphia (27–55) New Jersey (12–70)
2010–11 Boston* (56–26) New York* (42–40) Philadelphia* (41–41) New Jersey (24–58) Toronto (22–60)
2011–12[b] Boston* (39–27) New York* (36–30) Philadelphia* (35–31) Toronto (23–43) New Jersey (22–44)
2012–13 New York* (54–28) Brooklyn* (49–33) Boston* (41–40) Philadelphia (34–48) Toronto (34–48)
2013–14 Toronto* (48–34) Brooklyn* (44–38) New York (37–45) Boston (25–57) Philadelphia (19–63)

Rivalries[edit]

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks[edit]

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers[edit]

New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets[edit]

Main article: Knicks–Nets rivalry

New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers[edit]

Notes[edit]

  • a 1 2 Because of a lockout, the season did not start until February 5, 1999, and all 29 teams played a shortened 50-game regular season schedule.[3]
  • b 1 2 Because of a lockout, the season did not start until December 25, 2011, and all 30 teams played a shortened 66-game regular season schedule.[4]
  • daggerIn the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, the NBA canceled the April 16 game scheduled in Boston between the Celtics and the Pacers; the game was not rescheduled because it would have had no impact on either team's playoff seedings.[5]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "1970–71 Season Overview: Kareem Rules the League". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "NBA PM: The NBA’s Toughest Division". Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Donovan, John (February 4, 1999). "Let the semi-season begin: Expect injuries, intensity and a new champion in '99". CNN Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  4. ^ Jenkins, Lee (December 5, 2011). "'tis The Season". CNN Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]