1971 NBA Playoffs

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The 1971 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1970–71 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks defeating the Eastern Conference champion Baltimore Bullets 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals.

Led by Finals MVP and the previous season's Rookie of the Year Lew Alcindor and Oscar Robertson, the Bucks became the fastest expansion team in NBA history to win the championship (a record that they still hold as of 2016), and did so in dominating fashion, finishing 12-2 in the playoffs with a postseason average point differential of 14.5.[1]

The playoff format changed from the previous 2-division format. There were now 4, with each division qualifying its champion and second-place team. In the Conference Semifinals, the champion of each division played the 2nd place team in the other, with the divisional champion having home-court advantage. The two winners then played for the conference championship.

This was the first NBA Finals appearance for the Bullets, and their only trip to the championship round in Baltimore; they made 3 more appearances (winning one title) later in the decade.

The 1971 Playoffs was the last for the San Francisco Warriors under that moniker; the following season, symbolizing their already-established home base of Oakland, they changed their name to the Golden State Warriors.

  Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                           
  M1  Milwaukee 4  
P2  San Francisco 1  
  M1  Milwaukee 4  
Western Conference
    P1  L.A. Lakers 1  
M2  Chicago 3
  P1  L.A. Lakers 4  
    M1  Milwaukee 4
  C1  Baltimore 0
  A1  New York 4  
C2  Atlanta 1  
A1  New York 3
Eastern Conference
    C1  Baltimore 4  
A2  Philadelphia 3
  C1  Baltimore 4  


Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Milwaukee Bucks

Conference Semifinals

(M1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (P2) San Francisco Warriors: Bucks win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ San Francisco (March 27): Milwaukee 107, San Francisco 96
  • Game 2 @ Madison (March 29): Milwaukee 104, San Francisco 90
  • Game 3 @ Madison (March 30): Milwaukee 114, San Francisco 102
  • Game 4 @ San Francisco (April 1): San Francisco 106, Milwaukee 104
  • Game 5 @ Madison (April 4): Milwaukee 136, San Francisco 86

All three Milwaukee home games in the series were played at the UW Fieldhouse in Madison due to a scheduling conflict with the Milwaukee Arena.

This was the first playoff meeting between the Bucks and the Warriors.

(P1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (M2) Chicago Bulls: Lakers win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Los Angeles (March 24): Los Angeles 100, Chicago 99
  • Game 2 @ Los Angeles (March 26): Los Angeles 105, Chicago 95
  • Game 3 @ Chicago (March 28): Chicago 106, Los Angeles 98
  • Game 4 @ Chicago (March 30): Chicago 112, Los Angeles 102
  • Game 5 @ Los Angeles (April 1): Los Angeles 115, Chicago 89
  • Game 6 @ Chicago (April 4): Chicago 113, Los Angeles 99
  • Game 7 @ Los Angeles (April 6): Los Angeles 109, Chicago 98

Last Playoff Meeting: 1968 Western Division Semifinals (Los Angeles won 4-1)

Conference Finals

(M1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (P1) Los Angeles Lakers: Bucks win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Milwaukee (April 9): Milwaukee 106, Los Angeles 85
  • Game 2 @ Milwaukee (April 11): Milwaukee 91, Los Angeles 73
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles (April 14): Los Angeles 118, Milwaukee 107
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles (April 16): Milwaukee 117, Los Angeles 94
  • Game 5 @ Milwaukee (April 18): Milwaukee 116, Los Angeles 98

This was the first playoff meeting between the Bucks and the Lakers.

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Baltimore Bullets

Conference Semifinals

(A1) New York Knicks vs. (C2) Atlanta Hawks: Knicks win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ New York (March 25): New York 112, Atlanta 101
  • Game 2 @ New York (March 27): Atlanta 113, New York 104
  • Game 3 @ Atlanta (March 28): New York 110, Atlanta 95
  • Game 4 @ Atlanta (March 30): New York 113, Atlanta 107
  • Game 5 @ New York (April 1): New York 111, Atlanta 107

This is the first meeting in the playoffs between the Knicks and the Hawks.

(C1) Baltimore Bullets vs. (A2) Philadelphia 76ers: Bullets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Baltimore (March 24): Philadelphia 126, Baltimore 112
  • Game 2 @ Philadelphia (March 26): Baltimore 119, Philadelphia 107
  • Game 3 @ Baltimore (March 28): Baltimore 111, Philadelphia 103
  • Game 4 @ Philadelphia (March 30): Baltimore 120, Philadelphia 105
  • Game 5 @ Baltimore (April 1): Philadelphia 104, Baltimore 103
  • Game 6 @ Philadelphia (April 3): Philadelphia 98, Baltimore 84
  • Game 7 @ Baltimore (April 4): Baltimore 128, Philadelphia 120

This is the first meeting in the playoffs between the Bullets and the 76ers.

Conference Finals

(A1) New York Knicks vs. (C1) Baltimore Bullets: Bullets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ New York (April 6): New York 112, Baltimore 111
  • Game 2 @ New York (April 9): New York 107, Baltimore 88
  • Game 3 @ Baltimore (April 11): Baltimore 114, New York 88
  • Game 4 @ Baltimore (April 14): Baltimore 101, New York 80
  • Game 5 @ New York (April 16): New York 89, Baltimore 84
  • Game 6 @ Baltimore (April 18): Baltimore 113, New York 96
  • Game 7 @ New York (April 19): Baltimore 93, New York 91

Last Playoff Meeting: 1969 Eastern Division Semifinals (New York won 4-0)

NBA Finals[edit]

Main article: 1971 NBA Finals

(M1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (C1) Baltimore Bullets: Bucks win series 4-0

  • Game 1 @ Milwaukee (April 21): Milwaukee 98, Baltimore 88
  • Game 2 @ Baltimore (April 25): Milwaukee 102, Baltimore 83
  • Game 3 @ Milwaukee (April 28): Milwaukee 107, Baltimore 99
  • Game 4 @ Baltimore (April 30): Milwaukee 118, Baltimore 106 (The Bucks win their first championship only 3 years after founding.)

This is the first meeting in the playoffs between the Bucks and the Bullets.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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