2006 NBA playoffs

2006 NBA playoffs
Dates April 22–June 20, 2006
Season 2005–06
Teams 16
Champions Miami Heat (1st title)
Runners-up Dallas Mavericks (1st finals appearance)
Semifinalists

The 2006 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2005–06 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat defeating the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Dwyane Wade was named NBA Finals MVP.

The Clippers were the biggest surprise, as they not only made the playoffs for the first time since 1997, but advanced to the second round for the first time since 1976, when they were the Buffalo Braves. They came within 1 game of making the conference finals for the first time, but lost Game 7 to the Suns.

2006 was the playoff debut of LeBron James, who helped the Cavaliers eke out 1-point OT victories over the Washington Wizards in Games 5 and 6 of their first-round series to advance. It was their first playoff appearance since 1998, and they earned their first playoff series win since 1993. Against the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons, the Cavs were routed in Game 1 and lost Game 2 by 6 before winning the next 3 and being 1 game away from beating the Pistons. Detroit recovered and won the last 2 to take the series in 7.

Format

With the addition of the 30th NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats, in 2005, the NBA realigned its divisions. Each conference had three divisions of five teams each, and at this point in time, the winner of each division was guaranteed a top-three playoff seed regardless of whether the team had one of the top-eight records in its conference. However, the division champion was not guaranteed home-court advantage; a division-leading team could be seeded second or third but face a lower seed (that did not win its division) with a better record, and the lower seed would have home-court advantage.

This was illustrated in the first round here when the 44-win Denver Nuggets won the Northwest Division and had the third seed, yet did not have home-court advantage against the sixth-seeded, 47-win Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers had played the Memphis Grizzlies a week before the playoffs to determine the fifth and sixth seed. The loser of the game would face Denver, whereas the winner would face fourth-seeded Dallas, who had the second-best record in the conference. It was speculated that the Clippers lost on purpose to play Denver in the first round. Starting in the 2007 playoffs, being a division winner did not guarantee a top-3 playoff seed.

Playoff qualifying

Eastern Conference

The Detroit Pistons clinched the best record in the NBA, earning home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. However, when the Pistons lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, home-court advantage in the NBA Finals went to the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks, which had a better record than the Heat.

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

  1. Detroit Pistons (64-18) (clinched Central division)
  2. Miami Heat (52-30) (clinched Southeast division)
  3. New Jersey Nets (49-33) (clinched Atlantic division)
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers (50-32)
  5. Washington Wizards (42-40)
  6. Indiana Pacers (41-41)
  7. Chicago Bulls (41-41)
  8. Milwaukee Bucks (40-42)

Western Conference

The San Antonio Spurs clinched the best record in the Western Conference, and had home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. However, when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals, Dallas had home court advantage in the Western Conference Finals.

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

  1. San Antonio Spurs (63-19) (clinched Southwest division)
  2. Phoenix Suns (54-28) (clinched Pacific division)
  3. Denver Nuggets (44-38) (clinched Northwest division)
  4. Dallas Mavericks (60-22)
  5. Memphis Grizzlies (49-33)
  6. Los Angeles Clippers (47-35)
  7. Los Angeles Lakers (45-37)
  8. Sacramento Kings (44-38)

Bracket

Teams that advanced to the next round are boldfaced; those with home court advantage are in italics.

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
E1 Detroit* 4  
E8 Milwaukee 1  
  E1 Detroit* 4  
  E4 Cleveland 3  
E4 Cleveland 4
E5 Washington 2  
  E1 Detroit* 2  
Eastern Conference
  E2 Miami* 4  
E3 New Jersey* 4  
E6 Indiana 2  
  E3 New Jersey* 1
  E2 Miami* 4  
E2 Miami* 4
E7 Chicago 2  
  E2 Miami* 4
  W4 Dallas 2
W1 San Antonio* 4  
W8 Sacramento 2  
  W1 San Antonio* 3
  W4 Dallas 4  
W4 Dallas 4
W5 Memphis 0  
  W4 Dallas 4
Western Conference
  W2 Phoenix* 2  
W3 Denver* 1  
W6 LA Clippers 4  
  W6 LA Clippers 3
  W2 Phoenix* 4  
W2 Phoenix* 4
W7 LA Lakers 3  


* Division winner
Bold Series winner
Italic Team with home-court advantage


TV coverage

First and second-round games were televised on ABC, TNT, ESPN, ESPN2 and NBA TV in the United States and on TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, The Score, and Raptors NBA TV in Canada; some games were also televised on local or regional TV networks. The Eastern Conference finals aired exclusively on ESPN and ABC, and the Western Conference finals aired exclusively on TNT; TSN and The Score split coverage of the Conference Finals. The NBA Finals aired exclusively on ABC in the U.S. and on TSN in Canada. [1]

Eastern Conference

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTCβˆ’4)

First Round

Regular-season series
Detroit won 3–1 in the regular-season series

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

Regular-season series
Miami won 2–1 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series [2]
Chicago leads 3–0 in all-time playoff series
Regular-season series
Indiana won 2–1 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series [3]
New Jersey leads 1–0 in all-time playoff series
  • In Game 3, LeBron James hits the game-winner over Michael Ruffin with 5.7 seconds left, and in Game 5, he hits another game-winner from the baseline with .9 seconds left.
  • In Game 6, Gilbert Arenas forces overtime with a three from 32 feet with 2.3 seconds left, and in OT, Damon Jones hits the series-winning shot with 4.8 seconds left.
Regular-season series
Washington won 3–1 in the regular-season series
February 10, 2006
Cleveland Cavaliers 89, Washington Wizards 101
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.
April 16, 2006
Cleveland Cavaliers 92, Washington Wizards 104
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

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

Conference Semifinals

2006 marked the first time the Cavaliers had made the playoffs since 1998 with Shawn Kemp, and the first time that major professional teams from Michigan and Ohio met in a postseason series or game since 1957. They came off a playoff series win vs the Wizards, while the Pistons came in off a 4-1 win vs the 8th seeded Bucks. Detroit was expected to win the series, and took a commanding two games to none lead with two wins at the Palace of Auburn Hills. James and the Cavaliers weren't intimidated however, and won their two home games to tie the series at 2. Coming into Game 5, both teams were confident, but the Pistons were expected to pull out the win easily. The game was low scoring throughout as usual in this series, with Cleveland holding a 68-66 lead through 3 quarters. With the game tied at 84 with 26 seconds left in regulation, Drew Gooden came through and hit a layup to give Cleveland the lead that they never squandered. James led the Cavs with 32 and this brought the series to Cleveland up 3–2, quite shockingly. In the final minute of Game 6, Richard Hamilton grabbed two offensive rebounds and passed the ball to Rasheed Wallace, who was fouled. Detroit held on to win Game 6 by 2, and won Game 7 at home to advance.

This was the first playoff meeting between the Cavaliers and the Pistons.[5]

Regular-season series
New Jersey won 3–1 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series [6]
Miami leads 1–0 in all-time playoff series

Conference Finals: (1) Detroit Pistons vs. (2) Miami Heat

Regular-season series
Detroit won 3–1 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series [7]
Tied 1–1 in all-time playoff series

Western Conference

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTCβˆ’4)

First Round

  • In Game 2, Brent Barry hit a wild 3 with 4 seconds left to force OT.
  • In Game 3, Kevin Martin hit the game-winning lay-up at the buzzer.
Regular-season series
San Antonio won 2–1 in the regular-season series

This was the first playoff meeting between the Kings and the Spurs.[8]

  • In Game 4, Kobe Bryant hit both a lay-up with 0.7 seconds left to force OT, and the game-winning jump shot at the buzzer in overtime.
  • In Game 6, Tim Thomas hit a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left to force OT.
  • The Suns became the 8th team in NBA history to overcome a 3–1 series deficit.[9]
  • This was the first playoff series a Phil Jackson coached team lost after taking a series lead, prior to this his record was 44-0.
Regular-season series
Phoenix won 3–1 in the regular-season series
November 3, 2005
Phoenix Suns 122, Los Angeles Lakers 112
Staples Center, Los Angeles
April 16, 2006
Phoenix Suns 89, Los Angeles Lakers 109
Staples Center, Los Angeles

This was the tenth playoff meeting between these two teams, with the Lakers winning seven of the first nine meetings.

Regular-season series
Los Angeles won 3–1 in the regular-season series
January 28, 2006
Denver Nuggets 79, Los Angeles Clippers 112
Staples Center, Los Angeles
April 4, 2006
Denver Nuggets 109, Los Angeles Clippers 111
Staples Center, Los Angeles

This was the first playoff meeting between the Nuggets and the Clippers.[11]

  • In Game 3, Dirk Nowitzki hit the game-tying 3 with 15.7 seconds left to force OT.
Regular-season series
Dallas won 3–1 in the regular-season series

This was the first playoff meeting between the Mavericks and the Grizzlies.[12]

Conference Semifinals

The Mavericks almost blew a 3-1 series lead to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs, but managed to pull out a Game 7 overtime win in San Antonio to close out the series and become the 5th NBA road team to win Game 7 after leading series 3–1. This was also the second time in NBA history that the road team won a Game 7 in overtime; the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings in the same manner in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

Regular-season series
Tied 2–2 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series [13]
San Antonio leads 2–0 in all-time playoff series
  • In Game 4, Sam Cassell hit two three-pointers down the stretch, including one with 27 seconds left, after the Suns had rallied from 13 down to within one with under a minute to play.
  • In Game 5, Raja Bell tied the game at 111 on a three-pointer from the corner with 1.1 seconds left to force the second overtime, this after telling his teammates during a timeout he would make it.[14] The Suns, who blew a 19-point third quarter lead, never trailed in the second extra session.
Regular-season series
Tied 2–2 in the regular-season series
December 10, 2005
Phoenix Suns 91, Los Angeles Clippers 101
Staples Center, Los Angeles
January 18, 2006
Phoenix Suns 112, Los Angeles Clippers 102
Staples Center, Los Angeles

This was the first playoff meeting between the Clippers and the Suns.[15]

Conference Finals: (2) Phoenix Suns vs. (4) Dallas Mavericks

Regular-season series
Tied 2–2 in the regular-season series

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

Previous playoff series [16]
Phoenix leads 1–0 in all-time playoff series

NBA Finals: (W4) Dallas Mavericks vs. (E2) Miami Heat

All times are in Eastern Daylight Time (UTCβˆ’4)
Regular-season series
Dallas won 2–0 in the regular-season series

This was the first playoff meeting between the Mavericks and the Heat.[17]

This NBA Finals featured two teams that never made it to the finals before. The last time this happened was in 1971, when the Milwaukee Bucks met the Baltimore Bullets.

Statistic leaders

References

External links

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