1951 NBA Playoffs
|Dates||March 20–April 21, 1951|
|Champions||Rochester Royals (1st title)|
|Runners-up||New York Knicks (1st finals appearance)|
The 1951 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association 1950–51 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Division champion Rochester Royals defeating the Eastern Division champion New York Knicks 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals.
The eight qualified teams began tournament play on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 20 and 21, and the Finals concluded on Saturday, April 21. Rochester and New York played 14 games in a span of 33 days; their seven final games in fifteen days.
The Rochester Royals (now the Sacramento Kings) were "royalty" in their first nine seasons, from 1945–46 to 1954–54 always one of the strong teams in their league. Rochester had played three seasons in the National Basketball League, winning the 1946 NBL championship and losing the Finals in 1947 and 1948. In one BAA and one NBA season, the team had won 75% of its games before losing in the second round, then first round, of the 1949 and 1950 playoffs. The 1950–51 team won more than 60% of its games, as the Royals would do for three more seasons, and participated in the club's only NBA Finals. That remains true more than 60 years later, covering stints in Rochester, Cincinnati, Kansas City, and Sacramento.
The New York Knicks were an original Basketball Association of America franchise, now in its sixth season and participating in the BAA or NBA Finals for the first time. It would be the first three consecutive years as losing finalist.
Another six-year-old, original BAA team, the Boston Celtics had qualified only for the 1948 BAA Playoffs. Now the second-place Eastern Division team, Boston had earned home-court advantage for a first-round series with third-place New York. It was the first playoff meeting in the Celtics–Knicks rivalry and it would be the first of 19 consecutive years in the playoffs.
|Division Semifinals||Division Finals||NBA Finals|
Eastern Division Semifinals
- Game 1 @ Philadelphia (March 20): Syracuse 91, Philadelphia 89 (OT)
- Game 2 @ Syracuse (March 22): Syracuse 90, Philadelphia 78
Last playoff meeting: 1950 NBA Eastern Division Semifinals (Syracuse won 2–0)
- Game 1 @ Boston (March 20): New York 83, Boston 69
- Game 2 @ New York (March 22): New York 92, Boston 78
This was the first playoff meeting between the Celtics and Knicks.
Western Division Semifinals
- Game 1 @ Minneapolis (March 21): Minneapolis 95, Indianapolis 81
- Game 2 @ Indianapolis (March 23): Indianapolis 108, Minneapolis 88
- Game 3 @ Minneapolis (March 25): Minneapolis 85, Indianapolis 80
This was the first playoff meeting between the Lakers and Olympians.
- Game 1 @ Rochester (March 20): Rochester 110, Fort Wayne 81
- Game 2 @ Fort Wayne (March 22): Fort Wayne 83, Rochester 78
- Game 3 @ Rochester (March 24): Rochester 97, Fort Wayne 78
Last playoff meeting: 1950 NBA Central Division Semifinals (Fort Wayne won 2–0)
Eastern Division Finals
- Game 1 @ New York (March 28): New York 103, Syracuse 92
- Game 2 @ Syracuse (March 29): Syracuse 102, New York 80
- Game 3 @ New York (March 31): New York 77, Syracuse 75 (OT)
- Game 4 @ Syracuse (April 1): Syracuse 90, New York 83
- Game 5 @ New York (April 4): New York 83, Syracuse 81
Last playoff meeting: 1950 NBA Eastern Division Finals (Syracuse won 2–1)
Western Division Finals
- Game 1 @ Minneapolis (March 29): Minneapolis 76, Rochester 73
- Game 2 @ Minneapolis (March 31): Rochester 70, Minneapolis 66
- Game 3 @ Rochester (April 1): Rochester 83, Minneapolis 70
- Game 4 @ Rochester (April 3): Rochester 80, Minneapolis 75
Last playoff meeting: 1949 BAA Western Division Finals (Minneapolis won 2–0)
- Game 1 @ Rochester (April 7): Rochester 92, New York 65
- Game 2 @ Rochester (April 8): Rochester 99, New York 84
- Game 3 @ New York (April 11): Rochester 78, New York 71
- Game 4 @ New York (April 13): New York 79, Rochester 73
- Game 5 @ Rochester (April 15): New York 92, Rochester 89
- Game 6 @ New York (April 18): New York 80, Rochester 73
- Game 7 @ Rochester (April 21): Rochester 79, New York 75
This was the first playoff meeting between the Royals and Knicks.
"1950–51 NBA Season Summary". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-03-04.
Select "Previous Season" from the heading for 1950–51, and so on. Select "Finals" from League Playoffs for the daily schedule of the final series, and so on.