1995 NBA Playoffs

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The 1995 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1994-95 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets defeating the Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals. Hakeem Olajuwon was named NBA Finals MVP.

Houston became the eighth team to win back-to-back titles (after the Minneapolis Lakers of '49 and 50, and again '52-'54, and the Celtics dynasty of '59-66 and again in '68-69, as the LA Lakers of '87 and '88, Pistons of '89 and '90 and Bulls of '91, '92 and '93). It would go on to happen four more times, with the Bulls winning 3 more starting in 1996, the Lakers from 2000-2002 and 2009-2010, and the Miami Heat from 2012-2013. The Rockets championships were also part of a run that saw 5 straight teams win consecutive titles (The Lakers 87-88, Pistons 89-90, Bulls 91-93, Rockets 94-95, Bulls 96-98). That streak was stopped, ironically, by a Spurs franchise who, like the Celtics of the 80s, didn't win back-to-back titles, but did win numerous championships and is considered a dynasty.

The sixth-seeded Rockets (47-35) took out 4 impressive opponents on their way to the title, defeating the 3rd-seeded Utah Jazz (60-22), 2nd-seeded Phoenix Suns (59-23), top-seeded San Antonio Spurs (62-20) and Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic (57-25) in the NBA Finals. In the Conference Semifinals against the Suns, the Rockets came back from a 2-0 and 3-1 series deficit without home-court advantage, winning Games 5 and 7 in Phoenix. Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon dominated league MVP David Robinson and Shaquille O'Neal in consecutive series to win the title.

The 1995 Playoffs featured the first 3 playoff series victories in Magic history, as they beat the Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, and Indiana Pacers to win their first Eastern Conference title.

It also featured the return of Michael Jordan to the playoffs after a year's absence, returning mid-season, and the only time the Bulls didn't win a title with him on board since they started their string of titles in 1991.

Game 4 of the Celtics-Magic series was the last game ever played at Boston Garden. Boston returned to the playoffs in 2002, this time in the new FleetCenter (now TD Garden).

Game 3 of the Blazers-Suns series was the last game ever played at the then-Memorial Coliseum (renamed the Veterans Memorial Coliseum as of 2012). The Blazers continued their playoff streak at Rose Garden (now Moda Center) for the next 7 years.

Game 3 of the Spurs-Nuggets series marked the final playoff game at McNichols Sports Arena; the Nuggets missed the playoffs in each of the arena's final four years. Denver returned to the playoffs in 2004, this time in the Pepsi Center.

The Pacers made the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year (and finally defeated the New York Knicks on their way to doing so), but found the Magic too powerful to overcome. Coincidentally, they met all 3 playoff opponents (Orlando, Atlanta, and New York) they had in 1994, just in a different order.

Since the NBA playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1984, the Jazz became the second team (along with the 1994 Sonics) to win at least 60 regular season games and lose in the first round, when they lost to the eventual NBA champion Rockets.

Bracket[edit]

First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                       
1 San Antonio 3
8 Denver 0
1 San Antonio 4
5 L.A. Lakers 2
4 Seattle 1
5 L.A. Lakers 3
1 San Antonio 2
Western Conference
6 Houston 4
3 Utah 2
6 Houston 3
6 Houston 4
2 Phoenix 3
2 Phoenix 3
7 Portland 0
W6 Houston 4
E1 Orlando 0
1 Orlando 3
8 Boston 1
1 Orlando 4
5 Chicago 2
4 Charlotte 1
5 Chicago 3
1 Orlando 4
Eastern Conference
2 Indiana 3
3 New York 3
6 Cleveland 1
3 New York 3
2 Indiana 4
2 Indiana 3
7 Atlanta 0

Western Conference[edit]

Champion: Houston Rockets

1st Round

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Denver Nuggets: Spurs win series 3-0

  • Game 1 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (April 28): San Antonio 104, Denver 88
  • Game 2 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (April 30): San Antonio 122, Denver 96
  • Game 3 @ McNichols Sports Arena, Denver (May 2): San Antonio 99, Denver 95

This was the fourth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Spurs winning two of the first three meetings.

(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (7) Portland Trail Blazers: Suns win series 3-0

This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams, with each team winning two series apiece.

(3) Utah Jazz vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (April 27): Utah 102, Houston 100 (John Stockton hits the game-winning lay-up with 2.4 seconds left)
  • Game 2 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (April 29): Houston 140, Utah 126
  • Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (May 3): Utah 95, Houston 82
  • Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (May 5): Houston 123, Utah 106
  • Game 5 @ Delta Center, Salt Lake City (May 7): Houston 95, Utah 91

This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with each team winning one series apiece.

(4) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (5) Los Angeles Lakers: Lakers win series 3-1

This was the sixth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning three of the first five meetings.

Conference Semifinals

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Los Angeles Lakers: Spurs win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (May 6): San Antonio 110, Los Angeles 94
  • Game 2 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (May 8): San Antonio 97, Los Angeles 90 (OT)
  • Game 3 @ Great Western Forum, Los Angeles (May 12): Los Angeles 92, San Antonio 85
  • Game 4 @ Great Western Forum, Los Angeles (May 14): San Antonio 80, Los Angeles 71
  • Game 5 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (May 16): Los Angeles 98, San Antonio 96 (OT) (Nick Van Exel hits the game-winning 3 with 5 tenths left in OT)
  • Game 6 @ Great Western Forum, Los Angeles (May 18): San Antonio 100, Los Angeles 88

This was the fifth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning the first four meetings.

(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 9): Phoenix 130, Houston 108
  • Game 2 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 11): Phoenix 118, Houston 94
  • Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (May 13): Houston 118, Phoenix 85
  • Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (May 14): Phoenix 114, Houston 110
  • Game 5 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 16): Houston 103, Phoenix 97 (OT)
  • Game 6 @ The Summit, Houston (May 18): Houston 116, Phoenix 103
  • Game 7 @ America West Arena, Phoenix (May 20): Houston 115, Phoenix 114 (Mario Elie's game-winning "Kiss of Death" three-pointer with 7.1 seconds left)

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Rockets winning the first meeting.

Conference Finals

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (May 22): Houston 94, San Antonio 93 (Robert Horry hits the game-winner with 6.5 seconds left)
  • Game 2 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (May 24): Houston 106, San Antonio 96
  • Game 3 @ The Summit, Houston (May 26): San Antonio 107, Houston 102
  • Game 4 @ The Summit, Houston (May 28): San Antonio 103, Houston 81
  • Game 5 @ Alamodome, San Antonio (May 30): Houston 111, San Antonio 90
  • Game 6 @ The Summit, Houston (June 1): Houston 100, San Antonio 95

This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Rockets winning the first two meetings.

Eastern Conference[edit]

Champion: Orlando Magic

1st Round

(1) Orlando Magic vs. (8) Boston Celtics: Magic win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (April 28): Orlando 124, Boston 77
  • Game 2 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (April 30): Boston 99, Orlando 92
  • Game 3 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 3): Orlando 82, Boston 77
  • Game 4 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 5): Orlando 95, Boston 92 (Final game at Boston Garden)

This was the first playoff meeting between the Celtics and the Magic.[8]

(2) Indiana Pacers vs. (7) Atlanta Hawks: Pacers win series 3-0

This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with each team winning one series apiece.

(3) New York Knicks vs. (6) Cleveland Cavaliers: Knicks win series 3-1

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Knicks winning the first meeting.

(4) Charlotte Hornets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls: Bulls win series 3-1

This was the first playoff meeting between the Hornets and the Bulls.[11]

Conference Semifinals

(1) Orlando Magic vs. (5) Chicago Bulls: Magic win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 7): Orlando 94, Chicago 91 (Nick Anderson's clutch steal off Michael Jordan, leading to his comments on Jordan's jersey number 45, saying he thought Jordan was playing like a 45-year old.)
  • Game 2 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 10): Chicago 104, Orlando 94
  • Game 3 @ United Center, Chicago (May 12): Orlando 110, Chicago 101
  • Game 4 @ United Center, Chicago (May 14): Chicago 106, Orlando 95
  • Game 5 @ Orlando Arena, Orlando (May 16): Orlando 103, Chicago 95
  • Game 6 @ United Center, Chicago (May 18): Orlando 108, Chicago 102

This was the first playoff meeting between the Bulls and the Magic.[12]

(2) Indiana Pacers vs. (3) New York Knicks: Pacers win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 7): Indiana 107, New York 105 (Reggie Miller scores 8 points in 8.9 seconds, including 2 straight 3's in 5.5 seconds, to rally from a 105-99 deficit)
  • Game 2 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 9): New York 96, Indiana 77
  • Game 3 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 11): Indiana 97, New York 95 (OT)
  • Game 4 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 13): Indiana 98, New York 84
  • Game 5 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 17): New York 96, Indiana 95 (Patrick Ewing hits the game-winner with 1.8 seconds left)
  • Game 6 @ Market Square Arena, Indianapolis (May 19): New York 92, Indiana 82
  • Game 7 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (May 21): Indiana 97, New York 95 (Ewing misses the game tying lay-up at the buzzer; Knicks' first Game 7 loss at Madison Square Garden)

This was the third playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Knicks winning the first two meetings.

Conference Finals

(1) Orlando Magic vs. (2) Indiana Pacers: Magic win series 4-3

This was the second playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Pacers winning the first meeting.

NBA Finals[edit]

Main article: 1995 NBA Finals

(1) Orlando Magic vs. (6) Houston Rockets: Rockets win series 4-0

This was the first playoff meeting between the Rockets and the Magic.[15]

Notes[edit]

  • Both #5 seeds beat their #4 seeded opponent in the first round for the third straight year.
  • The Rockets are the lowest seeded team to ever win a title (#6).
  • In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Pacers had earned the #2 seed via the Central Division title, but the Knicks had homecourt advantage because of a better regular season record.
  • Jordan changed his number back to 23 after the game 1 loss to the Orlando Magic, which led to him being fined.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Denver Nuggets versus San Antonio Spurs (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  2. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Phoenix Suns versus Portland Trail Blazers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Houston Rockets versus Utah Jazz (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Los Angeles Lakers versus Oklahoma City Thunder (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Los Angeles Lakers versus San Antonio Spurs (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Houston Rockets versus Phoenix Suns (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Houston Rockets versus San Antonio Spurs (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Boston Celtics versus Orlando Magic (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Atlanta Hawks versus Indiana Pacers (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Cleveland Cavaliers versus New York Knicks (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Charlotte Hornets versus Chicago Bulls (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Chicago Bulls versus Orlando Magic (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Indiana Pacers versus New York Knicks (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Indiana Pacers versus Orlando Magic (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Team Rivalry Finder — Houston Rockets versus Orlando Magic (Playoffs)". basketball-reference.com. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 

External links[edit]