Central Division (NBA)

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Central Division
Conference Eastern Conference
League National Basketball Association
Sport Basketball
Inaugural season 1970–71 season
No. of teams 5
Most recent champion(s) Indiana Pacers (6th title)
Most titles Detroit Pistons (9 titles)

The Central Division is one of the three divisions in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The division consists of five teams, the Chicago Bulls, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons, the Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks. All teams, except the Cavaliers, are former Midwest Division teams, hence the Central Division now largely resembling the Midwest Division in the 1970s.

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 each in each conference. The Central Division began with four inaugural members, the Atlanta Hawks, the Baltimore Bullets, the Cincinnati Royals and the Cleveland Cavaliers.[1] The Hawks joined from the Western Division, while the Bullets and the Royals joined from the Eastern Division.

The Pistons have won the most Central Division titles with nine. The Bulls have won the second most titles with eight. Ten NBA champions came from the Central Division. The Bulls won six championships, the Pistons won three championships and the Bullets won one championship. All of them, except the 1977–78 Bullets and the 2003–04 Pistons, were division champions. In the 2005–06 season, all five teams from the division qualified for the playoffs. The most recent division champion is the Indiana Pacers.

The main rivalry in the Central Division is Bulls–Pistons, which hit its peak in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The Central Division existed for one season in the 1949–50 season as one of the three divisions in the NBA, along with the Western and the Eastern Division. On the other hand, the current Central Division that was formed in the 1970, is one of the three divisions in the Eastern Conference, the successor of the Eastern Division.

All five teams in the current Central Division line-up are located in states with members of the Big Ten Conference located within.

Standings[edit]

Main article: 2013–14 NBA season
Central Division W L PCT GB Home Road Div GP
c-Indiana Pacers 56 26 .683 35–6 21–20 12–4 82
x-Chicago Bulls 48 34 .585 8.0 27–14 21–20 11–5 82
Cleveland Cavaliers 33 49 .402 23.0 19–22 14–27 7–9 82
Detroit Pistons 29 53 .354 27.0 17–24 12–29 6–10 82
Milwaukee Bucks 15 67 .183 41.0 10–31 5–36 4–12 82


Notes

  • y – Clinched division title
  • x – Clinched playoff spot

Teams[edit]

Team City Year From
Joined
Chicago Bulls Chicago, Illinois 1980 Midwest Division
Cleveland Cavaliers Cleveland, Ohio 1970 dagger
Detroit Pistons Detroit, Michigan 1978 Midwest Division
Indiana Pacers Indianapolis, Indiana 1979 Midwest Division
Milwaukee Bucks Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1980 Midwest Division
Notes

Former teams[edit]

Team City Year From Year To Current division
Joined Left
Atlanta Hawks Atlanta, Georgia 1970 Western Division 2004 Southeast Division Southeast Division
Charlotte Hornets (19882002; 2004–present, formerly Charlotte Bobcats) Charlotte, North Carolina 1990 Midwest Division 2002* Southeast Division Southeast Division
Cincinnati Royals (19571972, now Sacramento Kings) Cincinnati, Ohio 1970 Eastern Division 1972 Midwest Division
(as Kansas City-Omaha Kings)
Pacific Division
Houston Rockets Houston, Texas 1972 Western Division 1980 Midwest Division Southwest Division
New Orleans Hornets (2002–present, now New Orleans Pelicans) New Orleans, Louisiana 2002* dagger 2004 Southwest Division Southwest Division
New Orleans Jazz (19741979, now Utah Jazz) New Orleans, Louisiana 1974 dagger 1979 Midwest Division
(as Utah Jazz)
Northwest Division
Orlando Magic Orlando, Florida 1989 dagger 1990 Midwest Division Southeast Division
San Antonio Spurs San Antonio, Texas 1976 ABAdouble-dagger 1980 Midwest Division Southwest Division
Toronto Raptors Toronto, Ontario 1995 dagger 2004 Atlantic Division Atlantic Division
Washington Bullets (19741997, now Washington Wizards)
Capital Bullets (1973–1974)
Baltimore Bullets (19631973)
Landover, Maryland
Landover, Maryland
Baltimore, Maryland
1970 Eastern Division 1978 Atlantic Division Southeast Division
Notes
  • dagger denotes an expansion team.
  • double-dagger denotes a team that merged from the American Basketball Association (ABA).
  • * The Charlotte NBA franchise was inactive from 2002 to 2004 upon the relocation of the Hornets to New Orleans. A new franchise, initially known as the Bobcats, began play in the 2004–05 season. In 2013, the Hornets were renamed the Pelicans, and the following season, the Bobcats were renamed the Hornets, acquiring the history and records of the 1988–2002 Hornets while retroactively designating the Pelicans as an expansion team.

Team timeline[edit]

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

New Orleans Pelicans Toronto Raptors Charlotte Hornets Orlando Magic Milwaukee Bucks Chicago Bulls Indiana Pacers Detroit Pistons San Antonio Spurs Utah Jazz Houston Rockets Cleveland Cavaliers Sacramento Kings Washington Wizards Atlanta Hawks

Division champions[edit]

^ Had or tied for the best regular season record for that season
Season Team Record Playoffs result
1970–71 Baltimore Bullets 42–40 (.512) Lost NBA Finals
1971–72 Baltimore Bullets 38–44 (.463) Lost Conference Semifinals
1972–73 Baltimore Bullets 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Semifinals
1973–74 Capital Bullets 47–35 (.573) Lost Conference Semifinals
1974–75 Washington Bullets^ 60–22 (.732) Lost NBA Finals
1975–76 Cleveland Cavaliers 49–33 (.598) Lost Conference Finals
1976–77 Houston Rockets 49–33 (.598) Lost Conference Finals
1977–78 San Antonio Spurs 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Semifinals
1978–79 San Antonio Spurs 48–34 (.585) Lost Conference Finals
1979–80 Atlanta Hawks 50–32 (.610) Lost Conference Semifinals
1980–81 Milwaukee Bucks 60–22 (.732) Lost Conference Semifinals
1981–82 Milwaukee Bucks 55–27 (.671) Lost Conference Semifinals
1982–83 Milwaukee Bucks 51–31 (.622) Lost Conference Finals
1983–84 Milwaukee Bucks 50–32 (.610) Lost Conference Finals
1984–85 Milwaukee Bucks 59–23 (.720) Lost Conference Semifinals
1985–86 Milwaukee Bucks 57–25 (.695) Lost Conference Finals
1986–87 Atlanta Hawks 57–25 (.695) Lost Conference Semifinals
1987–88 Detroit Pistons 54–28 (.659) Lost NBA Finals
1988–89 Detroit Pistons^ 63–19 (.768) Won NBA Finals
1989–90 Detroit Pistons 59–23 (.720) Won NBA Finals
1990–91 Chicago Bulls 61–21 (.744) Won NBA Finals
1991–92 Chicago Bulls^ 67–15 (.817) Won NBA Finals
1992–93 Chicago Bulls 57–25 (.695) Won NBA Finals
1993–94 Atlanta Hawks 57–25 (.695) Lost Conference Semifinals
1994–95 Indiana Pacers 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Finals
1995–96 Chicago Bulls^ 72–10 (.878) Won NBA Finals
1996–97 Chicago Bulls^ 69–13 (.841) Won NBA Finals
1997–98 Chicago Bulls^ 62–20 (.756) Won NBA Finals
1998–99[a] Indiana Pacers 33–17 (.660) Lost Conference Finals
1999–00 Indiana Pacers 56–26 (.683) Lost NBA Finals
2000–01 Milwaukee Bucks 52–30 (.634) Lost Conference Finals
2001–02 Detroit Pistons 50–32 (.610) Lost Conference Semifinals
2002–03 Detroit Pistons 50–32 (.610) Lost Conference Finals
2003–04 Indiana Pacers^ 61–21 (.744) Lost Conference Finals
2004–05 Detroit Pistons 54–28 (.659) Lost NBA Finals
2005–06 Detroit Pistons^ 64–18 (.780) Lost Conference Finals
2006–07 Detroit Pistons 53–29 (.646) Lost Conference Finals
2007–08 Detroit Pistons 59–23 (.720) Lost Conference Finals
2008–09 Cleveland Cavaliers^ 66–16 (.805) Lost Conference Finals
2009–10 Cleveland Cavaliers^ 61–21 (.744) Lost Conference Semifinals
2010–11 Chicago Bulls^ 62–20 (.756) Lost Conference Finals
2011–12[b] Chicago Bulls^ 50–16 (.758) Lost First Round
2012–13 Indiana Pacers 49–32 (.605)dagger Lost Conference Finals
2013–14 Indiana Pacers 56–26 (.683) Lost Conference Finals

Titles by team[edit]

^ Denotes team that has left the division
Team Titles Season(s) won
Detroit Pistons 9 1987–88, 1988–89, 1989–90, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05, 2005–06, 2006–07, 2007–08
Chicago Bulls 8 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98, 2010–11, 2011–12
Milwaukee Bucks 7 1980–81, 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1985–86, 2000–01
Indiana Pacers 6 1994–95, 1998–99, 1999–00, 2003–04, 2012–13, 2013–14
Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets^ (now Washington Wizards) 5 1970–71, 1971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75
Atlanta Hawks^ 3 1979–80, 1986–87, 1993–94
Cleveland Cavaliers 3 1975–76, 2008–09, 2009–10
San Antonio Spurs^ 2 1977–78, 1978–79
Houston Rockets^ 1 1976–77

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 8th
1970–71 Baltimore+ (42–40) Atlanta* (36–46) Cincinnati (33–49) Cleveland (15–67)
1971–72 Baltimore* (38–44) Atlanta* (36–46) Cincinnati (30–52) Cleveland (23–59)
1972–73 Baltimore* (52–30) Atlanta* (46–36) Houston (33–49) Cleveland (32–50)
1973–74 Capital* (47–35) Atlanta (35–47) Houston (32–50) Cleveland (29–53)
1974–75 Washington+ (60–22) Houston* (41–41) Cleveland (40–42) Atlanta (31–51) New Orleans (23–59)
1975–76 Cleveland* (49–33) Washington* (48–34) Houston (40–42) New Orleans (38–44) Atlanta (29–53)
1976–77 Houston* (49–33) Washington* (48–34) San Antonio* (44–38) Cleveland* (43–39) New Orleans (35–47) Atlanta (31–51)
1977–78 San Antonio* (52–30) Washington^ (44–38) Cleveland* (43–39) Atlanta* (41–41) New Orleans (39–43) Houston (28–54)
1978–79 San Antonio* (48–34) Houston* (47–35) Atlanta* (46–36) Detroit (30–52) Cleveland (30–52) New Orleans (26–56)
1979–80 Atlanta* (50–32) Houston* (41–41) San Antonio* (41–41) Indiana (37–45) Cleveland (37–45) Detroit (16–66)
1980–81 Milwaukee* (60–22) Chicago* (45–37) Indiana* (44–38) Atlanta (31–51) Cleveland (28–54) Detroit (21–61)
1981–82 Milwaukee* (55–27) Atlanta* (42–40) Detroit (39–43) Indiana (35–47) Chicago (34–48) Cleveland (15–67)
1982–83 Milwaukee* (51–31) Atlanta* (43–39) Detroit (37–45) Chicago (28–54) Cleveland (23–59) Indiana (20–62)
1983–84 Milwaukee* (50–32) Detroit* (49–33) Atlanta* (40–42) Cleveland (28–54) Chicago (27–55) Indiana (26–56)
1984–85 Milwaukee* (59–23) Detroit* (46–36) Chicago* (38–44) Cleveland* (36–46) Atlanta (34–48) Indiana (22–60)
1985–86 Milwaukee* (57–25) Atlanta* (50–32) Detroit* (46–36) Chicago* (30–52) Cleveland (29–53) Indiana (26–56)
1986–87 Atlanta* (57–25) Detroit* (52–30) Milwaukee* (50–32) Indiana* (41–41) Chicago* (40–42) Cleveland (31–51)
1987–88 Detroit+ (54–28) Chicago* (50–32) Atlanta* (50–32) Milwaukee* (42–40) Cleveland* (42–40) Indiana (38–44)
1988–89 Detroit^ (63–19) Cleveland* (57–25) Atlanta* (52–30) Milwaukee* (49–33) Chicago* (47–35) Indiana (28–54)
1989–90 Detroit^ (59–23) Chicago* (55–27) Milwaukee* (44–38) Indiana* (42–40) Cleveland* (42–40) Atlanta (41–41) Orlando (18–64)
1990–91 Chicago^ (61–21) Detroit* (50–32) Milwaukee* (48–34) Atlanta* (43–39) Indiana* (41–41) Cleveland (33–49) Charlotte (26–56)
1991–92 Chicago^ (67–15) Cleveland* (57–25) Detroit* (48–34) Indiana* (40–42) Atlanta (38–44) Milwaukee (31–51) Charlotte (31–51)
1992–93 Chicago^ (57–25) Cleveland* (54–28) Charlotte* (44–38) Atlanta* (43–39) Indiana* (41–41) Detroit (40–42) Milwaukee (28–54)
1993–94 Atlanta* (57–25) Chicago* (55–27) Indiana* (47–35) Cleveland* (47–35) Charlotte (41–41) Milwaukee (20–62) Detroit (20–62)
1994–95 Indiana* (52–30) Charlotte* (50–32) Chicago* (47–35) Cleveland* (43–39) Atlanta* (42–40) Milwaukee (34–48) Detroit (28–54)
1995–96 Chicago^ (72–10) Indiana* (52–30) Cleveland* (47–35) Atlanta* (46–36) Detroit* (46–36) Charlotte (41–41) Milwaukee (25–57) Toronto (21–61)
1996–97 Chicago^ (69–13) Atlanta* (56–26) Detroit* (54–28) Charlotte* (54–28) Cleveland (42–40) Indiana (39–43) Milwaukee (33–49) Toronto (30–52)
1997–98 Chicago^ (62–20) Indiana* (58–24) Charlotte* (51–31) Atlanta* (50–32) Cleveland* (47–35) Detroit (37–45) Milwaukee (36–46) Toronto (16–66)
1998–99[a] Indiana* (33–17) Atlanta* (31–19) Detroit* (29–21) Milwaukee* (28–22) Charlotte (26–24) Toronto (23–27) Cleveland (22–28) Chicago (13–37)
1999–00 Indiana+ (56–26) Charlotte* (49–33) Toronto* (45–37) Detroit* (42–40) Milwaukee* (42–40) Cleveland (32–50) Atlanta (28–54) Chicago (17–65)
2000–01 Milwaukee* (52–30) Toronto* (47–35) Charlotte* (46–36) Indiana* (41–41) Detroit (32–50) Cleveland (30–52) Atlanta (25–57) Chicago (15–67)
2001–02 Milwaukee* (50–32) Atlanta* (47–35) Charlotte* (44–38) Indiana* (42–40) Toronto* (42-40) Detroit* (41–41) Cleveland (29–53) Chicago (21–61)
  • 2002: The Charlotte Hornets relocated and became the New Orleans Hornets. The New Orleans franchise, now known as the Pelicans, were retroactively designated as an expansion team in 2014, when the current Charlotte Hornets, formerly the Bobcats, acquired the historical records of the 1988–2002 Hornets.
2002–03 Detroit* (50–32) Indiana* (48–34) New Orleans* (47–35) Milwaukee* (42–40) Atlanta (35–47) Chicago (30–52) Toronto (24–58) Cleveland (17–65)
2003–04 Indiana* (61–21) Detroit^ (54–28) New Orleans* (41–41) Milwaukee* (41–41) Cleveland (35–47) Toronto (33–49) Atlanta (28–54) Chicago (23–59)
2004–05 Detroit+ (54–28) Chicago* (47–35) Indiana* (44–38) Cleveland (42–40) Milwaukee (30–52)
2005–06 Detroit* (64–18) Cleveland* (50–32) Indiana* (41–41) Chicago* (41–41) Milwaukee* (40–42)
2006–07 Detroit* (53–29) Cleveland+ (50–32) Chicago* (49–33) Indiana (35–47) Milwaukee (28–54)
2007–08 Detroit* (59–23) Cleveland* (45–37) Indiana (36–46) Chicago (33–49) Milwaukee (26–56)
2008–09 Cleveland* (66–16) Chicago* (41–41) Detroit* (39–43) Indiana (36–46) Milwaukee (34–48)
2009–10 Cleveland* (61–21) Milwaukee* (46–36) Chicago* (41–41) Indiana (32–50) Detroit (27–55)
2010–11 Chicago* (62–20) Indiana* (37–45) Milwaukee (35–47) Detroit (30–52) Cleveland (19–63)
2011–12[b] Chicago* (50–16) Indiana* (42–24) Milwaukee (31–35) Detroit (25–41) Cleveland (21–45)
2012–13 Indiana* (49–32)dagger Chicago* (45–37) Milwaukee* (38–44) Detroit (29–53) Cleveland (24–58)
2013–14 Indiana* (56–26) Chicago* (48–34) Cleveland (33–49) Detroit (29–53) Milwaukee (15–67)

Rivalries[edit]

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons[edit]

1949–50 season[edit]

Before the 1949–50 season, the BAA merged with the NBL and was renamed NBA. The number of teams competed increased from 12 teams to 17 teams and the league realigned itself to three divisions, creating the Central Division. The division consisted of five teams, the Chicago Stags, the Fort Wayne Pistons, the Minneapolis Lakers, the Rochester Royals and the St. Louis Bombers. All five teams joined from the Western Division. The Minneapolis Lakers won the Central Division title. The division was disbanded before the 1950–51 season, after 6 teams folded and the league realigned itself back into two divisions. The Stags and the Bombers folded, while the other three teams returned to the Western Division.

^ Denotes team that won the NBA championships
* Denotes team that qualified for the NBA Playoffs
Season Team (record)
1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th
1949–50 Minneapolis^ (51–17) Rochester* (51–17) Fort Wayne* (40–28) Chicago* (40–28) St. Louis (26–42)

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.[2]
  • 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.[3]
  • 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.[4]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "1970–71 Season Overview: Kareem Rules the League". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ 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. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ Jenkins, Lee (December 5, 2011). "'tis The Season". CNN Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]