1974 NBA Playoffs

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The 1974 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1973-74 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. John Havlicek was named NBA Finals MVP.

It was the Celtics' 12th NBA title, and first accomplished in the post-Bill Russell era.

Using the revised playoff format adopted in 1973, two third-place teams (Buffalo in the East, Detroit in the West) qualified for the playoffs, while the second-place finishers in the Central (Atlanta) and Pacific (Golden State) divisions did not. Also, since the top three Western qualifiers were in the Midwest Division, the two divisional champions in the Western Conference (Milwaukee and Los Angeles) played in the conference semifinals.

With a 4-3 series victory over the Pistons in the first round, the Bulls earned their first playoff series victory. In their first 8 years of existence, the Bulls made the playoffs 7 times.

As a matter of historical curiosity, 3 of the 4 teams in the 1974 Western Conference bracket (Milwaukee, Detroit and Chicago) now reside in the Eastern Conference.

This was the only appearance of the Capital Bullets in the playoffs under that moniker; they assumed the "Capital" name for one year before changing to the Washington Bullets the next season. It was the playoff debut of the Buffalo Braves, who had joined the league in 1971.

For the first time in BAA/NBA history (dating back to 1947), neither the Lakers (of Minnesota, then Los Angeles) or Warriors (of Philadelphia, then San Francisco and Golden State) participated in a conference (or division prior to 1971) finals series.

Bracket

  Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                           
  1  Milwaukee 4  
4  Los Angeles 1  
  1  Milwaukee 4  
Western Conference
    2  Chicago 0  
3  Detroit 3
  2  Chicago 4  
    W1  Milwaukee 3
  E1  Boston 4
  1  Boston 4  
4  Buffalo 2  
1  Boston 4
Eastern Conference
    2  New York 1  
3  Capital 3
  2  New York 4  


Western Conference

Champion: Milwaukee Bucks

Conference Semifinals

  • (1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (4) Los Angeles Lakers: Bucks win series 4-1
  • Game 1 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 99, Los Angeles 95
  • Game 2 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 109, Los Angeles 90
  • Game 3 @ Los Angeles: Los Angeles 98, Milwaukee 96
  • Game 4 @ Los Angeles: Milwaukee 112, Los Angeles 90
  • Game 5 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 114, Los Angeles 92 (Jerry West’s final NBA game)
  • (2) Chicago Bulls vs. (3) Detroit Pistons: Bulls win series 4-3
  • Game 1 @ Chicago: Detroit 97, Chicago 88
  • Game 2 @ Detroit: Chicago 108, Detroit 103
  • Game 3 @ Chicago: Chicago 84, Detroit 83
  • Game 4 @ Detroit: Detroit 102, Chicago 87
  • Game 5 @ Chicago: Chicago 98, Detroit 94
  • Game 6 @ Detroit: Detroit 92, Chicago 88
  • Game 7 @ Chicago: Chicago 96, Detroit 94

Conference Finals

  • (1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (2) Chicago Bulls: Bucks win series 4-0
  • Game 1 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 101, Chicago 85
  • Game 2 @ Chicago: Milwaukee 113, Chicago 111
  • Game 3 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 113, Chicago 90
  • Game 4 @ Chicago: Milwaukee 115, Chicago 99

Eastern Conference

Champion: Boston Celtics

Conference Semifinals

  • (1) Boston Celtics vs. (4) Buffalo Braves: Boston win series 4-2
  • Game 1 @ Boston: Boston 107, Buffalo 97
  • Game 2 @ Buffalo: Buffalo 115, Boston 105
  • Game 3 @ Boston: Boston 120, Buffalo 107
  • Game 4 @ Buffalo: Buffalo 104, Boston 102 (Jim McMillan tip in at the buzzer)
  • Game 5 @ Boston: Boston 100, Buffalo 97
  • Game 6 @ Buffalo: Boston 106, Buffalo 104 (Jojo White's free throws with no time left)
  • (2) New York Knicks vs. (3) Capital Bullets: Knicks win series 4-3
  • Game 1 @ New York: New York 102, Capital 91
  • Game 2 @ Capital: Capital 99, New York 87
  • Game 3 @ New York: Capital 88, New York 79
  • Game 4 @ Capital: New York 101, Capital 93 (OT)
  • Game 5 @ New York: New York 106, Capital 105
  • Game 6 @ Capital: Capital 109, New York 92
  • Game 7 @ New York: New York 91, Capital 81

Conference Finals

  • (1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) New York Knicks: Celtics win series 4-1
  • Game 1 @ Boston: Boston 113, New York 88
  • Game 2 @ New York: Boston 111, New York 99
  • Game 3 @ Boston: New York 103, Boston 100
  • Game 4 @ New York: Boston 98, New York 91
  • Game 5 @ Boston: Boston 105, New York 94 (Willis Reed and Jerry Lucas’ final NBA game)

NBA Finals

(1) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (1) Boston Celtics: Celtics win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Milwaukee: Boston 95, Milwaukee 83
  • Game 2 @ Milwaukee: Milwaukee 105, Boston 96 (OT)
  • Game 3 @ Boston: Boston 95, Milwaukee 83
  • Game 4 @ Boston: Milwaukee 97, Boston 89
  • Game 5 @ Milwaukee: Boston 96, Milwaukee 87
  • Game 6 @ Boston: Milwaukee 102, Boston 101 (2OT; Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hits the game-winning sky-hook with 3 seconds left)
  • Game 7 @ Milwaukee: Boston 102, Milwaukee 87 (Oscar Robertson’s final NBA game)

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