1984 NBA Playoffs

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The 1984 NBA Playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1983-84 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. Larry Bird was named NBA Finals MVP.

This was the first postseason allowing 16 teams to qualify, a format still in use as of 2012.

It was the first NBA Finals meeting between the Celtics and Lakers since 1969; they met 7 times in the Finals from 1959–69, with Boston coming out on top each year. Going into the 1984 playoffs, the Lakers had already won 2 titles in the 1980s and the Celtics 1, making the revival of the Celtics–Lakers rivalry arguably inevitable and certainly highly anticipated.

Two teams made their playoff debuts and won their first playoff series: the Utah Jazz (who joined the NBA for the 1974-75 season as the New Orleans Jazz) and Dallas Mavericks, a 1981 expansion team. The Jazz did not miss the playoffs again until 2004.

The Detroit Pistons made the playoffs for the first time since 1977; they did not miss the playoffs again until 1993.

The New Jersey Nets won a playoff series for the first time in their NBA history, upsetting the defending champion Philadelphia 76ers in 5. This was also the only time the road team won every game in a playoff series. The Nets would not win a playoff series again until 2002.

The 1984 Playoffs also involved two of the hottest games in NBA history. Game 5 of the First Round between the Knicks and Pistons was played at Joe Louis Arena, as the Pontiac Silverdome was unavailable, with temperatures reaching as high as 120°. Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Celtics and Lakers at Boston Garden reached temperatures as high as 100°, as the Garden lacked air-conditioning, coupled with the sweltering outdoors conditions in Boston.

Bracket

First Round Conference Semifinals Conference Finals NBA Finals
                       
1 Los Angeles 3
8 Kansas City 0
1 Los Angeles 4
4 Dallas 1
4 Dallas 3
5 Seattle 2
1 Los Angeles 4
Western Conference
6 Phoenix 2
3 Portland 2
6 Phoenix 3
6 Phoenix 4
2 Utah 2
2 Utah 3
7 Denver 2
W1 Los Angeles 3
E1 Boston 4
1 Boston 3
8 Washington 1
1 Boston 4
5 New York 3
4 Detroit 2
5 New York 3
1 Boston 4
Eastern Conference
2 Milwaukee 1
3 Philadelphia 2
6 New Jersey 3
6 New Jersey 2
2 Milwaukee 4
2 Milwaukee 3
7 Atlanta 2

Western Conference

Champion: Los Angeles Lakers

1st Round

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (8) Kansas City Kings: Lakers win series 3-0

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 18): Los Angeles 116, Kansas City 105
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 20): Los Angeles 109, Kansas City 102
  • Game 3 @ Kemper Arena, Kansas City (April 22): Los Angeles 108, Kansas City 102

Last Playoff Meeting: 1955 Western Division Semifinals (Lakers won 2-1; Lakers were in Minneapolis, Kings were in Rochester, New York as the Royals)

(2) Utah Jazz vs. (7) Denver Nuggets: Jazz win series 3-2

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Jazz and Nuggets.

(3) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (6) Phoenix Suns: Suns win series 3-2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1979 Western Conference First Round (Phoenix won 2-1)

(4) Dallas Mavericks vs. (5) Seattle SuperSonics: Mavericks win series 3-2

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Mavericks and SuperSonics.

(*) Reunion Arena was booked because of a World Championship Tennis event

Conference Semifinals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (4) Dallas Mavericks: Lakers win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (April 28): Los Angeles 134, Dallas 91
  • Game 2 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 1): Los Angeles 117, Dallas 101
  • Game 3 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 4): Dallas 125, Los Angeles 115
  • Game 4 @ Reunion Arena, Dallas (May 6)*: Los Angeles 122, Dallas 115 (OT)
  • Game 5 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (May 8): Los Angeles 115, Dallas 99

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Lakers and Mavericks.

(*)In Game 4, Derek Harper made a mistake by dribbling out the clock thinking Dallas was ahead by one, when the score was actually tied.

(2) Utah Jazz vs. (6) Phoenix Suns: Suns win series 4-2

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Jazz and Suns.

Conference Finals

(1) Los Angeles Lakers vs. (6) Phoenix Suns: Lakers win series 4-2

Last Playoff Meeting: 1982 Western Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles won 4-0)

Eastern Conference

Champion: Boston Celtics

1st Round

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Washington Bullets: Celtics win series 3-1

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 17): Boston 91, Washington 83
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (April 19): Boston 88, Washington 85
  • Game 3 @ Capital Centre, Landover (April 21): Washington 111, Boston 108 (OT)
  • Game 4 @ Capital Centre, Landover (April 24): Boston 99, Washington 96

Last Playoff Meeting: 1982 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Boston won 4-1)

(2) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (7) Atlanta Hawks: Bucks win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 17): Milwaukee 105, Atlanta 89
  • Game 2 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 19): Milwaukee 101, Atlanta 87
  • Game 3 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 21): Atlanta 103, Milwaukee 94
  • Game 4 @ The Omni, Atlanta (April 24): Atlanta 100, Milwaukee 97
  • Game 5 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 26): Milwaukee 118, Atlanta 89

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Bucks and Hawks.

(3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) New Jersey Nets: Nets win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (April 18): New Jersey 116, Philadelphia 101
  • Game 2 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (April 20): New Jersey 116, Philadelphia 102
  • Game 3 @ Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford (April 22): Philadelphia 108, New Jersey 100
  • Game 4 @ Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford (April 24): Philadelphia 110, New Jersey 102
  • Game 5 @ The Spectrum, Philadelphia (April 26): New Jersey 101, Philadelphia 98

Last Playoff Meeting: 1979 Eastern Conference First Round (Philadelphia won 2-0)

(4) Detroit Pistons vs. (5) New York Knicks: Knicks win series 3-2

  • Game 1 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (April 17): New York 94, Detroit 93
  • Game 2 @ Pontiac Silverdome, Pontiac (April 19): Detroit 113, New York 105
  • Game 3 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (April 22): New York 120, Detroit 113
  • Game 4 @ Madison Square Garden, New York City (April 25): Detroit 119, New York 112
  • Game 5 @ Joe Louis Arena, Detroit (April 27): New York 127, Detroit 123 (OT) (Bernard King/Isiah Thomas Duel. King put up 44 points while having the flu and both middle fingers dislocated, while Thomas scored 16 points in the last 93 seconds of regulation to force OT.)

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Pistons and Knicks.

Conference Semifinals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (5) New York Knicks: Celtics win series 4-3

Last Playoff Meeting: 1974 Eastern Conference Finals (Boston won 4-1)

(2) Milwaukee Bucks vs. (6) New Jersey Nets: Bucks win series 4-2

  • Game 1 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (April 29): New Jersey 106, Milwaukee 100
  • Game 2 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 1): Milwaukee 98, New Jersey 94
  • Game 3 @ Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford (May 3): Milwaukee 100, New Jersey 93
  • Game 4 @ Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford (May 5): New Jersey 106, Milwaukee 99
  • Game 5 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 8): Milwaukee 94, New Jersey 82
  • Game 6 @ Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford (May 10): Milwaukee 98, New Jersey 97

Last Playoff Meeting: This is the first meeting between the Bucks and Nets.

Conference Finals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (2) Milwaukee Bucks: Celtics win series 4-1

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 15): Boston 119, Milwaukee 96
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 17): Boston 125, Milwaukee 100
  • Game 3 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 19): Boston 109, Milwaukee 100
  • Game 4 @ The MECCA, Milwaukee (May 21): Milwaukee 122, Boston 113
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 23): Boston 115, Milwaukee 108

Last Playoff Meeting: 1983 Eastern Conference Semifinals (Milwaukee won 4-0)

NBA Finals

(1) Boston Celtics vs. (1) Los Angeles Lakers: Celtics win series 4-3

  • Game 1 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 27): Los Angeles 115, Boston 109
  • Game 2 @ Boston Garden, Boston (May 31)*: Boston 124, Los Angeles 121 (OT; Gerald Henderson stole a James Worthy pass and made a layup to tie the game with 13 seconds left and eventually force OT)
  • Game 3 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 3): Los Angeles 137, Boston 104 (Magic Johnson gives out a Finals record 21 assists)
  • Game 4 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 6): Boston 129, Los Angeles 125 (OT; Kevin McHale clotheslined Kurt Rambis)
  • Game 5 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 8): Boston 121, Los Angeles 103 (The Heat Game)
  • Game 6 @ The Forum, Los Angeles (June 10): Los Angeles 119, Boston 108
  • Game 7 @ Boston Garden, Boston (June 12): Boston 111, Los Angeles 102

Last Playoff Meeting: 1969 NBA Finals (Boston won 4-3)

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