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1996 NBA Playoffs: Wikis

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The 1996 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1995-1996 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls winning their first NBA championship in three years by defeating the Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics four games to two.

By capturing their fourth championship, the Bulls put a cap on what many consider the greatest season in NBA history, as they finished a record 72-10 in the regular season, eclipsing the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers' record of 69-13. It was also redemption for Jordan after his first return to the playoffs the previous year and the Bulls' disappointing second-round loss to Orlando, a team that would go on to be swept in the NBA Finals. With Jordan leading the way, this year's Bulls would sweep the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, winning the four games by an average of 17 points, en route to an unprecedented combined record of 87-13 in regular season and postseason play.

For the SuperSonics, it was their first trip to the NBA Finals since winning the championship in 1979, and helped vindicate them as well after their startling first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets two years previous (the first time an eighth-seeded team had defeated a top seed in the playoffs).

This was the Sacramento Kings' first playoff appearance since 1986.

As for the two-time defending NBA champion Houston Rockets, their quest for a three-peat was thwarted by the eventual Western Conference champion Supersonics. The Supersonics swept the Rockets 4-0 in the Western conference semifinals. The Supersonics were also the last team to defeat the Rockets in the playoffs, before their two-year championship run, during the 1993 Western Conference Semi-finals (Sonics won in seven games).

Contents

Bracket

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
1  Seattle 3  
8  Sacramento 1  
  1  Seattle 4  
 
  5  Houston 0  
4  L.A. Lakers 1
5  Houston 3  
  1  Seattle 4  
Western Conference
  3  Utah 3  
3  Utah 3  
6  Portland 2  
  3  Utah 4
 
  2  San Antonio 2  
2  San Antonio 3
7  Phoenix 1  
  W1  Seattle 2
  E1  Chicago 4
1  Chicago 3  
8  Miami 0  
  1  Chicago 4
 
  5  New York 1  
4  Cleveland 0
5  New York 3  
  1  Chicago 4
Eastern Conference
  2  Orlando 0  
3  Indiana 2  
6  Atlanta 3  
  6  Atlanta 1
 
  2  Orlando 4  
2  Orlando 3
7  Detroit 0  

Playoff qualifying

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Western Conference

Best record in conference

The Seattle SuperSonics clinched the best record in the Western Conference, and had home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

  1. Seattle SuperSonics (clinched Pacific division)
  2. San Antonio Spurs (clinched Midwest division)
  3. Utah Jazz
  4. Los Angeles Lakers
  5. Houston Rockets 2-time defending NBA Champions
  6. Portland Trail Blazers
  7. Phoenix Suns
  8. Sacramento Kings

Eastern Conference

Best record in NBA

The Chicago Bulls clinched the best record in the NBA, and earned home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

  1. Chicago Bulls (clinched Central division)
  2. Orlando Magic (clinched Atlantic division)
  3. Indiana Pacers
  4. Cleveland Cavaliers
  5. New York Knicks
  6. Atlanta Hawks
  7. Detroit Pistons
  8. Miami Heat

Notes

  • For the fourth straight postseason, both #5 seeds beat their #4 seeded opponent in the first round.

Western Conference

Champion: Seattle SuperSonics

First round

(1) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (8) Sacramento Kings

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SEA-SAC)

Venue Recap
1 April 26 Sacramento 85 Seattle 97 1-0 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 1
2 April 28 Sacramento 90 Seattle 81 1-1 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 2
3 April 30 Seattle 96 Sacramento 89 2-1 ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California 3
4 May 2 Seattle 101 Sacramento 87 3-1 ARCO Arena, Sacramento, California 4
Seattle wins series 3–1

(4) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (5) Houston Rockets

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(LAL-HOU)

Venue Recap
1 April 25 Houston 87 Los Angeles 83 0-1 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 1
2 April 27 Houston 94 Los Angeles 104 1-1 Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California 2
3 April 30 Los Angeles 98 Houston 104 1-2 The Summit, Houston, Texas 3
4 May 2 Los Angeles 94 Houston 102 1-3 The Summit, Houston, Texas 4
Houston wins series 3–1

(3) Utah Jazz vs. (6) Portland Trail Blazers

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(UTAH-POR)

Venue Recap
1 April 25 Portland 102 Utah 110 1-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 1
2 April 27 Portland 90 Utah 105 2-0 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 2
3* April 29 Utah 91 Portland 94 2-1 Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon 3
4 May 1 Utah 90 Portland 98 2-2 Rose Garden Arena, Portland, Oregon 4
5 May 5 Portland 64 Utah 102 3-2 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 5
Utah wins series 3–2

*Required overtime

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Phoenix Suns

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SAS-PHX)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 26 Phoenix 98 San Antonio 120 1-0 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 1
2 April 28 Phoenix 105 San Antonio 110 2-0 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 2 NBC
3 May 1 San Antonio 93 Phoenix 94 2-1 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona 3
4 May 3 San Antonio 116 Phoenix 98 3-1 America West Arena, Phoenix, Arizona 4
San Antonio wins series 3–1

Conference Semifinals

(1) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (5) Houston Rockets

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SEA-HOU)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 4 Houston 75 Seattle 108 1-0 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 1 NBC
2 May 6 Houston 101 Seattle 105 2-0 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 2
3 May 10 Seattle 115 Houston 112 3-0 The Summit, Houston, Texas 3
4* May 12 Seattle 114 Houston 107 4-0 The Summit, Houston, Texas 4 NBC
Seattle wins series 4–0

*Required overtime

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (3) Utah Jazz

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SAS-UTAH)

Venue Recap
1 May 7 Utah 95 San Antonio 75 0-1 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 1
2 May 9 Utah 77 San Antonio 88 1-1 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 2
3 May 11 San Antonio 75 Utah 105 1-2 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 3
4 May 12 San Antonio 86 Utah 101 1-3 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 4
5 May 14 Utah 87 San Antonio 98 2-3 Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas 5
6 May 16 San Antonio 81 Utah 108 2-4 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 6
Utah wins series 4–2

Conference finals

(1) Seattle SuperSonics vs. (3) Utah Jazz

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SEA-UTAH)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 18 Utah 72 Seattle 102 1-0 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 1 NBC
2 May 20 Utah 87 Seattle 91 2-0 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 2 NBC
3 May 24 Seattle 76 Utah 96 2-1 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 3 NBC
4 May 26 Seattle 88 Utah 86 3-1 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 4 NBC
5* May 28 Utah 98 Seattle 95 3-2 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 5 NBC
6 May 30 Seattle 83 Utah 118 3-3 Delta Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 6 NBC
7 June 2 Utah 86 Seattle 90 4-3 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 7 NBC
Seattle wins series 4–3

*Required overtime

Eastern Conference

Champion: Chicago Bulls

First round

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (8) Miami Heat

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(CHI-MIA)

Venue Recap Television
1 April 26 Miami 85 Chicago 102 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1
2 April 28 Miami 75 Chicago 106 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 NBC
3 May 1 Chicago 112 Miami 91 3-0 Miami Arena, Miami, Florida 3
Chicago wins series 3–0

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) New York Knicks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(CLE-NYK)

Venue Recap
1 April 25 New York 106 Cleveland 83 0-1 Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio 1
2 April 27 New York 84 Cleveland 80 0-2 Gund Arena, Cleveland, Ohio 2
3 May 1 Cleveland 76 New York 81 0-3 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 3
New York wins series 3–0

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(IND-ATL)

Venue Recap
1 April 25 Atlanta 92 Indiana 80 0-1 Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana 1
2* April 27 Atlanta 94 Indiana 102 1-1 Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana 2
3 April 29 Indiana 83 Atlanta 90 1-2 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 3
4 May 2 Indiana 83 Atlanta 75 2-2 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 4
5 May 5 Atlanta 89 Indiana 87 2-3 Market Square Arena, Indianapolis, Indiana 5
Atlanta wins series 3–2

*Required overtime

(2) Orlando Magic vs. (7) Detroit Pistons

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(ORL-DET)

Venue Recap
1 April 26 Detroit 92 Orlando 112 1-0 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 1
2 April 28 Detroit 77 Orlando 92 2-0 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 2
3 April 30 Orlando 101 Detroit 98 3-0 Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, Michigan 3
Orlando wins series 3–0

Conference Semifinals

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (5) New York Knicks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(CHI-NYK)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 5 New York 84 Chicago 91 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 NBC
2 May 7 New York 80 Chicago 91 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2
3* May 11 Chicago 99 New York 102 2-1 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 3 NBC
4 May 12 Chicago 94 New York 91 3-1 Madison Square Garden, New York, New York 4 NBC
5 May 14 New York 81 Chicago 94 4-1 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 5
Chicago wins series 4–1

*Required overtime

(2) Orlando Magic vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(ORL-ATL)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 8 Atlanta 95 Orlando 117 1-0 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 1
2 May 10 Atlanta 94 Orlando 120 2-0 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 2
3 May 12 Orlando 102 Atlanta 96 3-0 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 3 NBC
4 May 13 Orlando 99 Atlanta 104 3-1 Omni Coliseum, Atlanta, Georgia 4
5 May 15 Atlanta 88 Orlando 96 4-1 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 5
Orlando wins series 4–1

Conference finals

(1) Chicago Bulls vs. (2) Orlando Magic

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(CHI-ORL)

Venue Recap Television
1 May 19 Orlando 83 Chicago 121 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 NBC
2 May 21 Orlando 88 Chicago 93 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 TNT
3 May 25 Chicago 86 Orlando 67 3-0 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 3 NBC
4 May 27 Chicago 106 Orlando 101 4-0 Orlando Arena, Orlando, Florida 4 NBC
Chicago wins series 4-0

NBA finals

Chicago Bulls vs. Seattle SuperSonics

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(CHI-SEA)

Venue Recap Television
1 June 5 Seattle 90 Chicago 107 1-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 1 NBC
2 June 7 Seattle 88 Chicago 92 2-0 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 2 NBC
3 June 9 Chicago 108 Seattle 86 3-0 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 3 NBC
4 June 12 Chicago 86 Seattle 107 3-1 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 4 NBC
5 June 14 Chicago 78 Seattle 89 3-2 KeyArena, Seattle, Washington 5 NBC
6 June 16 Seattle 75 Chicago 87 4-2 United Center, Chicago, Illinois 6 NBC
Chicago wins NBA Championship series 4–2

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