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The 2001 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2000–01 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers winning their second consecutive championship by defeating the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers four games to one.

This was the 76er's first appearance in the championship round since Moses Malone and Julius Erving led the 1983 squad to the NBA championship (coincidently, last defeating the Lakers) in the famous "'fo, fo', fo'" year (which ended up being "fo', fi', fo", as Philadelphia lost one second-round game that year).

However, this was the Laker's turn to put together the most dominant postseason in league history, finishing 15-1 with their only setback being an overtime loss to the Sixers in Game 1 of the championship round. The Lakers set a multitude of playoff records, including going undefeated in both regulation and on the road (finishing an unprecedented 8-0 in the latter category). They were the second NBA champion to defeat 4 successive 50-win or better teams on their way to the title as the Houston Rockets did it first in 1995. This team is widely regarded as one of the greatest teams of all time along with the 1967 Philadelphia 76ers, 1986 Boston Celtics, 1996 Chicago Bulls, 1983 Philadelphia 76ers, and 1987 Los Angeles Lakers.

The Milwaukee Bucks were one of the surprise teams of the playoffs, winning a playoff series for the first time since 1989 and advancing to the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1986. As of 2009, however, they have been unable to duplicate this feat.

The Dallas Mavericks also ended years of futility in the 2001 playoffs, making the postseason for the first time since 1990. Along the way they had had several abysmal seasons including back-to-back years with only 11 and 13 wins. By stunning the Utah Jazz in the first round, the Mavericks won their first playoff series since 1988.

The Sacramento Kings won their first playoff series since 1981 (when they were then known as the Kansas City Kings)and first since the franchise moved to Sacramento.

The Toronto Raptors won their first playoff series in franchise history with a 3-2 series win over the New York Knicks, but fell in seven games to the 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The total of number of playoff games in the NBA Playoffs is 72, including the NBA Finals.

For the first time since 1991, the New York Knicks failed to win a first round playoff series (losing to the Toronto Raptors 3 games to 2).

Contents

Bracket

  First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                                     
1  San Antonio 3  
8  Minnesota 1  
  1  San Antonio 4  
 
  5  Dallas 1  
4  Utah 2
5  Dallas 3  
  1  San Antonio 0  
Western Conference
  2  L.A. Lakers 4  
3  Sacramento 3  
6  Phoenix 1  
  3  Sacramento 0
 
  2  L.A. Lakers 4  
2  L.A. Lakers 3
7  Portland 0  
  W2  L.A. Lakers 4
  E1  Philadelphia 1
1  Philadelphia 3  
8  Indiana 1  
  1  Philadelphia 4
 
  5  Toronto 3  
4  New York 2
5  Toronto 3  
  1  Philadelphia 4
Eastern Conference
  2  Milwaukee 3  
3  Miami 0  
6  Charlotte 3  
  6  Charlotte 3
 
  2  Milwaukee 4  
2  Milwaukee 3
7  Orlando 1  

Playoff qualifying

Western Conference

Best record in NBA

The San Antonio Spurs clinched the best record in the NBA, and earned home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. However, when San Antonio lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, the Lakers gained home court advantage for the NBA Finals.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

  1. San Antonio Spurs (clinched Midwest division)
  2. Los Angeles Lakers (clinched Pacific division)
  3. Sacramento Kings
  4. Utah Jazz
  5. Dallas Mavericks
  6. Phoenix Suns
  7. Portland Trail Blazers
  8. Minnesota Timberwolves

Eastern Conference

Best record in conference

The Philadelphia 76ers clinched the best record in the Eastern Conference, and had home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (clinched Atlantic division)
  2. Milwaukee Bucks (clinched Central division)
  3. Miami Heat
  4. New York Knicks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Charlotte Hornets
  7. Orlando Magic
  8. Indiana Pacers

Western Conference

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

First Round

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SA-MIN)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 21 Minnesota 82 San Antonio 87 1-0 Alamodome, San Antonio NBC 5:30et [1] Bob Costas & Matt Guokas
2 April 23 Minnesota 69 San Antonio 86 2-0 Alamodome, San Antonio TNT 9:30et [2] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
3 April 28 San Antonio 84 Minnesota 93 2-1 Target Center, Minneapolis NBC 5:30et [3] Bob Costas & Matt Guokas
4 April 30 San Antonio 97 Minnesota 84 3-1 Target Center, Minneapolis TNT 8:30et [4] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
San Antonio wins series 3–1

(4) Utah Jazz vs. (5) Dallas Mavericks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(UTA-DAL)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 21 Dallas 86 Utah 88 1-0 Delta Center, Utah NBC 3:00et [5] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
2 April 24 Dallas 98 Utah 109 2-0 Delta Center, Utah TBS 10:30et [6] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
3 April 28 Utah 91 Dallas 94 2-1 Reunion Arena, Dallas NBC 3:00et [7] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
4 May 1 Utah 77 Dallas 107 2–2 Reunion Arena, Dallas TBS 9:30et [8] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
5 May 3 Dallas 84 Utah 83 2–3 Delta Center, Utah TNT 8:30et [9] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
Dallas wins series 3–2

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (7) Portland Trail Blazers

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(LAL-POR)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 22 Portland 93 Los Angeles 106 1-0 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 5:30et [10] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
2 April 26 Portland 88 Los Angeles 106 2-0 Staples Center, Los Angeles TNT 10:30et [11] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
3 April 29 Los Angeles 99 Portland 86 3-0 Rose Garden Arena, Portland NBC 5:30et [12] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
Los Angeles wins series 3–0

(3) Sacramento Kings vs. (6) Phoenix Suns

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SAC-PHX)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 22 Phoenix 86 Sacramento 83 0–1 ARCO Arena, Sacramento NBC 3:00et [13] Bob Costas & Matt Guokas
2 April 25 Phoenix 90 Sacramento 116 1–1 ARCO Arena, Sacramento TNT 10:30et [14] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
3 April 29 Sacramento 104 Phoenix 96 2-1 America West Arena, Phoenix NBC 3:00et [15] Bob Costas & Matt Guokas
4 May 2 Sacramento 89 Phoenix 82 3-1 America West Arena, Phoenix TNT 10:30et [16] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
Sacramento wins series 3–1

Conference Semifinals

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (5) Dallas Mavericks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SA-DAL)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 May 5 Dallas 78 San Antonio 94 1-0 Alamodome, San Antonio NBC 6:30et [17] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
2 May 7 Dallas 86 San Antonio 100 2-0 Alamodome, San Antonio TNT 8:30et [18] Bob Neal & Hubie Brown
3 May 9 San Antonio 104 Dallas 90 3-0 Reunion Arena, Dallas TNT 9:30et [19] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
4 May 12 San Antonio 108 Dallas 112 3-1 Reunion Arena, Dallas NBC 3:30et [20] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
5 May 14 Dallas 87 San Antonio 105 4-1 Alamodome, San Antonio TNT 8:30et [21] Bob Neal & Hubie Brown
San Antonio wins series 4–1

(2) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (3) Sacramento Kings

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(LAL-SAC)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 May 6 Sacramento 105 Los Angeles 108 1-0 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 3:00et [22] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
2 May 8 Sacramento 90 Los Angeles 96 2-0 Staples Center, Los Angeles TBS 10:30et [23] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
3 May 11 Los Angeles 103 Sacramento 81 3-0 ARCO Arena, Sacramento TNT 10:30et [24] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
4 May 13 Los Angeles 119 Sacramento 113 4-0 ARCO Arena, Sacramento NBC 5:30et [25] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
Los Angeles wins series 4–0

Conference Finals

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (2) Los Angeles Lakers

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(SA-LAL)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 May 19 Los Angeles 104 San Antonio 90 0–1 Alamodome, San Antonio NBC 6:30et [26] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
2 May 21 Los Angeles 88 San Antonio 81 0–2 Alamodome, San Antonio TNT 8:30et [27] Kevin Harlan, John Thompson & Danny Ainge
3 May 25 San Antonio 72 Los Angeles 111 0–3 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 9:00et [28] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
4 May 27 San Antonio 82 Los Angeles 111 0–4 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 5:30et [29] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
Los Angeles wins Western Conference Championship series 4–0

Eastern Conference

Champion: Philadelphia 76ers

First Round

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (8) Indiana Pacers

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(PHI-IND)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 21 Indiana 79 Philadelphia 78 0–1 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 12:30et [30] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
2 April 24 Indiana 98 Philadelphia 116 1–1 First Union Center, Philadelphia TBS 8:00et [31] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
3 April 28 Philadelphia 92 Indiana 87 2-1 Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis NBC 12:30et [32] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
4 May 2 Philadelphia 88 Indiana 85 3-1 Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis TBS 7:00et [33] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
Philadelphia wins series 3–1

(4) New York Knicks vs. (5) Toronto Raptors

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(NYK-TOR)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 22 Toronto 85 New York 92 1-0 Madison Square Garden, New York NBC 12:30et [34] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
2 April 26 Toronto 94 New York 74 1–1 Madison Square Garden, New York TNT 8:00et [35] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
3 April 29 New York 97 Toronto 89 2-1 Air Canada Centre, Toronto NBC 12:30et [36] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
4 May 2 New York 93 Toronto 100 2–2 Air Canada Centre, Toronto TNT 8:00et [37] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
5 May 4 Toronto 93 New York 89 2–3 Madison Square Garden, New York TNT 8:00et [38] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
Toronto wins series 3–2

(2) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (7) Orlando Magic

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(MIL-ORL)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 22 Orlando 90 Milwaukee 103 1-0 Bradley Center, Milwaukee TNT 8:30et [39] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
2 April 25 Orlando 96 Milwaukee 103 2-0 Bradley Center, Milwaukee TNT 8:00et [40] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
3 April 28 Milwaukee 116 Orlando 121 2-1 TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando TNT 8:30et [41] Bob Neal & Reggie Theus
4 May 1 Milwaukee 112 Orlando 104 3-1 TD Waterhouse Centre, Orlando TBS 7:00et [42] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
Milwaukee wins series 3–1

(3) Miami Heat vs. (6) Charlotte Hornets

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(MIA-CHA)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 April 21 Charlotte 106 Miami 80 0–1 AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami TNT 8:30et [43] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
2 April 23 Charlotte 102 Miami 78 0–2 AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami TNT 7:00et [44] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
3 April 27 Miami 79 Charlotte 94 0–3 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte TNT 8:30et [45] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
Charlotte wins series 3–0

Conference Semifinals

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (5) Toronto Raptors

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(PHI-TOR)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 May 6 Toronto 96 Philadelphia 93 0–1 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 5:30et [46] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
2 May 9 Toronto 92 Philadelphia 97 1–1 First Union Center, Philadelphia TNT 7:00et [47] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
3 May 11 Philadelphia 78 Toronto 102 1–2 Air Canada Centre, Toronto TNT 8:00et [48] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
4 May 13 Philadelphia 84 Toronto 79 2–2 Air Canada Centre, Toronto NBC 3:00et [49] Mike Breen & Bill Walton
5 May 16 Toronto 88 Philadelphia 121 3–2 First Union Center, Philadelphia TNT 8:00et [50] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
6 May 18 Philadelphia 89 Toronto 101 3–3 Air Canada Centre, Toronto TNT 8:00et [51] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
7 May 20 Toronto 87 Philadelphia 88 4–3 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 5:30et [52] Mike Breen, Doug Collins & Bill Walton
Philadelphia wins series 4–3

(2) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (6) Charlotte Hornets

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(MIL-CHA)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 May 6 Charlotte 92 Milwaukee 104 1-0 Bradley Center, Milwaukee NBC 12:30et [53] Bob Costas & Matt Guokas
2 May 8 Charlotte 90 Milwaukee 91 2-0 Bradley Center, Milwaukee TBS 8:00et [54] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
3 May 10 Milwaukee 92 Charlotte 102 2-1 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte TNT 8:00et [55] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
4 May 13 Milwaukee 78 Charlotte 85 2–2 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte NBC 12:30et [56] Bob Costas, Matt Guokas & Steve Jones
5 May 15 Charlotte 94 Milwaukee 86 2–3 Bradley Center, Milwaukee TBS 8:00et [57] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
6 May 17 Milwaukee 104 Charlotte 97 3–3 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte TNT 8:00et [58] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
7 May 20 Charlotte 95 Milwaukee 104 4-3 Bradley Center, Milwaukee NBC 3:00et [59] Bob Costas, Matt Guokas & Steve Jones
Milwaukee wins series 4–3

Conference Finals

(1) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (2) Milwaukee Bucks

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(PHI-MIL)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 May 22 Milwaukee 85 Philadelphia 93 1-0 First Union Center, Philadelphia TNT 8:00et [60] Marv Albert & Mike Fratello
2 May 24 Milwaukee 92 Philadelphia 78 1–1 First Union Center, Philadelphia TNT 8:00et [61] Dick Stockton & Hubie Brown
3 May 26 Philadelphia 74 Milwaukee 80 1–2 Bradley Center, Milwaukee NBC 5:30et [62] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
4 May 28 Philadelphia 89 Milwaukee 83 2–2 Bradley Center, Milwaukee NBC 5:30et [63] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
5 May 30 Milwaukee 88 Philadelphia 89 3-2 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 9:00et [64] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
6 June 1 Philadelphia 100 Milwaukee 110 3–3 Bradley Center, Milwaukee NBC 9:00et [65] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
7 June 3 Milwaukee 91 Philadelphia 108 4-3 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 7:30et [66] Mike Breen, Bill Walton & Steve Jones
Philadelphia wins Eastern Conference Championship series 4–3

In 2001, the Milwaukee Bucks played the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference Finals. The small-market Bucks (who had not even been featured on NBC that year prior to the second round of the playoffs) did not have any "big-time" stars, with the exception of Ray Allen (who, despite being popular, was not in the upper-echelon of NBA players in terms of endorsements). Their opponent that year, the Philadelphia 76ers had the polarizing and popular Allen Iverson, who had a multitude of shoe deals and mainstream recognition. The Sixers also featured that year's winners of the MVP award in Iverson[45], Defensive Player of the Year award in Dikembe Mutumbo[46], Sixth Man of the Year award in Aaron McKie[47], and Coach of the Year award in Larry Brown[48].

The series had several calls deemed dubious by the Bucks and their fans. Glenn Robinson, Sam Cassell and George Karl joined Allen in complaining about the officiating and hinting that the league was against them. Karl and Allen were both fined for their comments[44]. In Game 6 of the tensely-fought series, Bucks forward Scott Williams threw an elbow at Iverson and was subsequently suspended for the deciding Game 7. After Milwaukee lost Game 7 on the road, Sports Illustrated columnist Marty Burns insinuated that the suspension may have been a form of payback by the league:

“Williams elbow to Iverson's chin warranted the flagrant 2 ruling, which kept Williams out of Game 7, but the Bucks public airing of such potentially damaging charges to the NBA probably didn't help their case.[49]”

2001 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Philadelphia 76ers

Game Date Visitor Score Home Score Record

(LAL-PHI)

Venue TV Time Recap TV Commentators
1 June 6 Philadelphia 107 Los Angeles 101 0–1 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 9:00et [67] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
2 June 8 Philadelphia 89 Los Angeles 98 1–1 Staples Center, Los Angeles NBC 9:00et [68] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
3 June 10 Los Angeles 96 Philadelphia 91 2-1 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 8:30et [69] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
4 June 13 Los Angeles 100 Philadelphia 86 3-1 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 8:30et [70] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
5 June 15 Los Angeles 108 Philadelphia 96 4-1 First Union Center, Philadelphia NBC 8:30et [71] Marv Albert & Doug Collins
Los Angeles wins NBA Championship series 4–1

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