The Houston Rockets became the lowest seeded team to ever win the NBA Finals, winning as the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The Rockets also became the first team to defeat four opponents who had 50 or more wins en route to a title (Utah, Phoenix, San Antonio and Orlando); the only other team ever to accomplish that feat was the 2000–01 Los Angeles Lakers.
Midway through the season, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls after an attempt at a minor-league baseball career. His announcement consisted of a two-word fax: "I'm Back". Since the Bulls had already retired his number 23, he returned wearing number 45. However, he changed back to 23 during the playoffs.
An era came to an end as the Boston Celtics played their final season at the historic Boston Garden.
The Portland Trail Blazers played their final season at Memorial Coliseum (renamed as the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as of 2012). They would host a preseason game at the Coliseum in 2009.
The Cleveland Cavaliers played their first game at Gund Arena (now known as Quicken Loans Arena).
Due to extensive renovations to the Seattle Center Coliseum (renamed as KeyArena following the season), the Seattle SuperSonics played their home games at the Tacoma Dome, in nearby Tacoma, Washington.
The Western Conference Finals series between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets was notable for the lack of home team success. The home team lost each of the first 5 games of the series, with the Rockets finally breaking through with a home win in Game 6.
In the last game of the regular season for both teams, the Denver Nuggets defeated the Sacramento Kings to obtain the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Had the Kings won, they would have qualified instead. They had missed the playoffs for nine straight seasons. As for the Nuggets, this was their final postseason appearance until 2004.
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.