1976 NBA Playoffs

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1976 NBA playoffs
Season 1975–76
Teams 10
NBA playoffs
«1975 1977»

The 1976 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1975–76 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. The series was highlighted by Game 5, a 3-OT victory by Boston. The Celtics won their 13th NBA title, second in the Dave Cowens era. Jo Jo White was named NBA Finals MVP.

The Suns earned their first two playoff series victories in franchise history to advance to the NBA Finals; they won their second (and as of 2017, most recent) Western Conference title in 1993.

The sixth-year Cleveland Cavaliers made their first playoff appearance and won their first playoff series.

This was the final playoff appearance for the Buffalo Braves franchise in Buffalo and last until 1992, when they returned as the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Philadelphia 76ers made the playoffs for the first time since 1971, starting a 12-year run that included four NBA Finals (1977, 1980, 1982, and 1983).

Despite winning their division with a losing record of 38-44, the Milwaukee Bucks were forced to play in the best of three first round against the Detroit Pistons.

Bracket[edit]

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
        
  1  Golden State 4  
    5  Detroit 2  
4  Milwaukee 1
5  Detroit 2  
  1  Golden State 3  
Western Conference
  3  Phoenix 4  
        
        
  3  Phoenix 4
    2  Seattle 2  
      
        
  W3  Phoenix 2
  E1  Boston 4
        
        
  1  Boston 4
    5  Buffalo 2  
4  Philadelphia 1
5  Buffalo 2  
  1  Boston 4
Eastern Conference
  2  Cleveland 2  
        
        
  3  Washington 3
    2  Cleveland 4  
      

Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Phoenix Suns

1st Round

(1) Golden State Warriors, (2) Seattle SuperSonics & (3) Phoenix Suns have first round byes.

(4) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (5) Detroit Pistons: Pistons win series 2–1

  • Game 1 @ Milwaukee (April 13): Milwaukee 110, Detroit 107
  • Game 2 @ Detroit (April 15): Detroit 126, Milwaukee 123
  • Game 3 @ Milwaukee (April 18): Detroit 107, Milwaukee 104
Conference Semifinals

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (5) Detroit Pistons: Warriors win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Golden State (April 20): Golden State 127, Detroit 103
  • Game 2 @ Golden State (April 22): Detroit 123, Golden State 111
  • Game 3 @ Detroit (April 24): Golden State 113, Detroit 96
  • Game 4 @ Detroit (April 26): Detroit 106, Golden State 102
  • Game 5 @ Golden State (April 28): Golden State 128, Detroit 109
  • Game 6 @ Detroit (April 30): Golden State 118, Detroit 116 (OT)

(2) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (3) Phoenix Suns: Suns win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Seattle (April 13): Seattle 102, Phoenix 99
  • Game 2 @ Seattle (April 15): Phoenix 116, Seattle 111
  • Game 3 @ Phoenix (April 18): Phoenix 103, Seattle 91
  • Game 4 @ Phoenix (April 20): Phoenix 130, Seattle 104
  • Game 5 @ Seattle (April 25): Seattle 114, Phoenix 108
  • Game 6 @ Phoenix (April 27): Phoenix 123, Seattle 112
Conference Finals

(1) Golden State Warriors vs. (3) Phoenix Suns: Suns win series 4–3

  • Game 1 @ Golden State (May 2): Golden State 128, Phoenix 103
  • Game 2 @ Golden State (May 5): Phoenix 108, Golden State 101
  • Game 3 @ Phoenix (May 7): Golden State 99, Phoenix 91
  • Game 4 @ Phoenix (May 9): Phoenix 133, Golden State 129 (2OT)
  • Game 5 @ Golden State (May 12): Golden State 111, Phoenix 95
  • Game 6 @ Phoenix (May 14): Phoenix 105, Golden State 104
  • Game 7 @ Golden State (May 16): Phoenix 94, Golden State 86

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Boston Celtics

1st Round

(1) Boston Celtics, (2) Cleveland Cavaliers & (3) Washington Bullets have first round byes.

(4) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) Buffalo Braves: Braves win series 2–1

  • Game 1 @ Philadelphia (April 15): Buffalo 95, Philadelphia 89
  • Game 2 @ Buffalo (April 16): Philadelphia 131, Buffalo 106
  • Game 3 @ Philadelphia (April 18): Buffalo 124, Philadelphia 123 (OT)
Conference Semifinals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (5) Buffalo Braves: Celtics win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Boston (April 21): Boston 107, Buffalo 98
  • Game 2 @ Boston (April 23): Boston 101, Buffalo 96
  • Game 3 @ Buffalo (April 25): Buffalo 98, Boston 93
  • Game 4 @ Buffalo (April 28): Buffalo 124, Boston 122
  • Game 5 @ Boston (April 30): Boston 99, Buffalo 88
  • Game 6 @ Buffalo (May 2): Boston 104, Buffalo 100

(2) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (3) Washington Bullets: Cavaliers win series 4–3

  • Game 1 @ Cleveland (April 13): Washington 100, Cleveland 95
  • Game 2 @ Washington (April 15): Cleveland 80, Washington 79 (Bingo Smith hits game winning jumper to tie series)
  • Game 3 @ Cleveland (April 17): Cleveland 88, Washington 76
  • Game 4 @ Washington (April 21): Washington 109, Cleveland 98
  • Game 5 @ Cleveland (April 22): Cleveland 92, Washington 91 (Jim Cleamons hits game-winning tip-in)
  • Game 6 @ Washington (April 26): Washington 102, Cleveland 98 (OT)
  • Game 7 @ Cleveland (April 29): Cleveland 87, Washington 85 (Dick Snyder hits the series-winning shot with 4 seconds left)

Last playoff meeting: This is the first meeting between the Cavaliers and the Bullets

Conference Finals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Cleveland Cavaliers: Celtics win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Boston (May 6): Boston 111, Cleveland 99
  • Game 2 @ Boston (May 9): Boston 94, Cleveland 89
  • Game 3 @ Cleveland (May 11): Cleveland 83, Boston 78
  • Game 4 @ Cleveland (May 14): Cleveland 106, Boston 87
  • Game 5 @ Boston (May 16): Boston 99, Cleveland 94
  • Game 6 @ Cleveland (May 18): Boston 94, Cleveland 87

Last playoff meeting: This was the first meeting between the Celtics and the Cavaliers

NBA Finals[edit]

Main article: 1976 NBA Finals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (3) Phoenix Suns: Celtics win series 4–2

  • Game 1 @ Boston (May 23): Boston 98, Phoenix 87
  • Game 2 @ Boston (May 27): Boston 105, Phoenix 90
  • Game 3 @ Phoenix (May 30): Phoenix 105, Boston 98
  • Game 4 @ Phoenix (June 2): Phoenix 109, Boston 107
  • Game 5 @ Boston (June 4): Boston 128, Phoenix 126 (3OT; As John Havlicek hits the clutch shot in 2OT, the clock was supposed to stop on the basket, but then there were a few seconds left, and Paul Westphal called a timeout that the Suns didn't have before Jo Jo White makes the technical free throw, and then Gar Heard hits the game-tying buzzer-beater to force the third OT)
  • Game 6 @ Phoenix (June 6): Boston 87, Phoenix 80

External links[edit]