The NBA adopts the three-official system used in college basketball permanently. The league experimented with three officials per game in 1978–79, but went back to two officials per game for the next nine seasons, although they actually have three with the inclusion of an alternate referee for all playoff games and selected regular season games.
The Chicago Bulls started a playoff tradition by wearing black sneakers. Prior to that, the Boston Celtics were the only team to wear black sneakers. Following the Bulls' unlikely playoff run, other teams began adopting the style, beginning with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1990.
A ticket for a game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets during their inaugural season.
The League expands from twenty-three to twenty-five franchises, with new Expansion teams in Charlotte and Miami.
The Heat began its season as a member of the Western Conference despite its geographical position, enduring its longest road trips when playing Western Conference teams. It also began the season 0–17, at the time the worst start in NBA history. The Hornets finished at 20–62. Such record is typical for basketball expansion, with 15-67 being the lowest record repeated by expansions in Cleveland, Vancouver, San Diego, and Dallas, and the 1988-89 Miami Heat. The Sacramento Kings were moved to the Pacific Division.
Teams in bold advanced to the next round. The numbers to the left of each team indicate the team's seeding in its conference, and the numbers to the right indicate the number of games the team won in that round. The division champions are marked by an asterisk. Home court advantage does not necessarily belong to the higher-seeded team, but instead the team with the better regular season record; teams enjoying the home advantage are shown in italics.