The 1961 NBA World Championship Series was the championship series of the 1961 NBA Playoffs, which concluded the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1960–61 season. The best-of-seven series was played between the Western Conference champion St. Louis Hawks and the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics. This was the fourth and final World Championship Series meeting between the two teams. It was also Celtics' fifth straight trip to the championship series, and they won the series against the Hawks, 4–1.
As of the 2018–19 season, this remains the Hawks franchise’s[note 1] last appearance in the NBA Finals, the second-longest drought behind the Kings franchise who last played in the NBA Finals in 1951.
|1961 NBA Finals|
|Eastern Finals||Celtics defeat Nationals, 4–1|
|Western Finals||Hawks defeat Lakers, 4–3|
|Game||Date||Home Team||Score||Road Team|
|Game 1||April 2||Boston Celtics||129–95 (1–0)||St. Louis Hawks|
|Game 2||April 5||Boston Celtics||117–108 (2–0)||St. Louis Hawks|
|Game 3||April 8||St. Louis Hawks||124–120 (1–2)||Boston Celtics|
|Game 4||April 9||St. Louis Hawks||104–119 (1–3)||Boston Celtics|
|Game 5||April 11||Boston Celtics||121–112 (4–1)||St. Louis Hawks|
Celtics win series 4–1
The 1962 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the 1962 NBA Playoffs, which concluded the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1961–62 season. The best-of-seven series was played between the Western Division champion Los Angeles Lakers and Eastern Division champion Boston Celtics. This was the Celtics' 6th straight trip to the Finals, and they won the best-of-seven series in Game 7, 110–107 in overtime. It was the second time in NBA history and the most recent Finals in which the series was decided by overtime in Game 7. The only other Finals series decided in overtime in the seventh game was the 1957 Finals.1983 NBA playoffs
The 1983 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1982–83 season. This was the final postseason using the 12-team format, before the NBA expanded the postseason to 16 teams the next season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers defeating the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 0 in the NBA Finals. Moses Malone was named NBA Finals MVP.
Malone made a famous prediction about the Sixers' chances prior to the playoffs, saying "Fo', fo', fo'" – predicting the number of games the Sixers would need to win each of the three series they would play on the way to a championship. They nearly accomplished this prediction of a sweep of all three rounds, only losing one game (to Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference Finals) en route to the championship. The Sixers set a record for highest winning percentage in the playoffs that was not broken until the Lakers went 15–1 in 2001. The Lakers' mark, however, came after the expansion to the current 16-team, four-round playoff format, which was first implemented in the 1984 playoffs, while the Sixers avoided the first round by virtue of their top seeding.
It was the third time in four years that the Lakers and 76ers had met in the NBA Finals, with the Lakers winning the previous two series.
After missing the playoffs the previous year, the Blazers began a string of 21 straight playoff appearances in 1983 lasting until 2003. They made the playoffs 25 out of 26 years from their title-winning season of 1977–2003. The record was just one season shy of the 22-year playoff run set by the Syracuse Nationals/Philadelphia 76ers from 1950–1971.
The Celtics were swept out of the playoffs for the first time in team history, losing 4–0 to the Bucks in the second round.
This was the Spurs' last appearance in the Conference Finals until 1995. However, for players such as George Gervin and Artis Gilmore, the 6-game loss to the Lakers was the last chance they got at reaching the NBA Finals, let alone an NBA Championship (Gilmore did return to the conference finals with the Celtics in 1988, but played sparingly).1986 NBA playoffs
The 1986 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1985–86 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Houston Rockets 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Larry Bird was named NBA Finals MVP for the second time.
This was the second NBA Finals meeting between the Celtics and Rockets; they met in the 1981 NBA Finals with the same result. It was the third of four straight Eastern Conference championships for Boston, who won 67 games that year, and went 40–1 at home. The Rockets, meanwhile had won just their second conference title in franchise history.
Second-year player Michael Jordan put on a record-setting performance in Game 2 of the Bulls' first-round series against the Celtics, scoring 63 points in a 2-OT loss, which surpassed Elgin Baylor's 61-point performance from the 1962 NBA Finals and still stands as the NBA Playoff scoring record. Jordan averaged 44.7 points per game in the series, but was unable to prevent the Bulls from being swept by a more experienced, more talented Celtics team. The Bulls set a dubious mark by posting the second worst record for a playoff-qualifying team in history, going just 30–52 during the season. Game 2, where the record was set, was ranked by TV Guide as the 26th Most Memorable Moment in Television History, and is credited with boosting the NBA's popularity surge and eventual rise to near the top of the United States television sports market, trailing only football by the mid-90s.The 1986 playoffs marked the third time in four years that the Milwaukee Bucks advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, but it would be their last appearance in the series until 2001. The Celtics avenged their 1983 sweep by sweeping the Bucks in four games.
As for the Philadelphia 76ers, this was the last time they would play in a Game 7 until 2001. After their first round loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Detroit Pistons would advance past the first round in each of the next five seasons (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), which include all appearances in the conference finals, three NBA Finals, and two championships.
After moving from Kansas City, where the franchise played its previous thirteen seasons, the Sacramento Kings made their first postseason appearance in their first season in its new city.1988 NBA playoffs
The 1988 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1987–88 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals. James Worthy was named NBA Finals MVP.
The Lakers became the first team since the Boston Celtics in 1969 to repeat as champions, a feat that coach Pat Riley guaranteed the previous offseason.
This marked the first time since 1983 that the Celtics did not represent the East in the NBA Finals, but they did win one of the most memorable games of the 1988 playoffs, beating the Hawks 118–116 in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in Boston Garden. Larry Bird scored 20 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to help Boston overcome the 47 points scored by Dominique Wilkins.The Dallas Mavericks made their first trip to the Western Conference Finals, losing in 7 to the Lakers. They would not advance that far again until 2003, and would not face the Lakers again until 2011.
The New York Knicks made the playoffs for the first time since 1984. They remained regulars until 2001, which included NBA Finals appearances in 1994 and 1999. On the other hand, the Washington Bullets did not return until 1997, and would not win a playoff game again until 2005 as the Wizards.
In the first round against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Michael Jordan scored 50 or more points twice—50 points in Game 1, and 55 points in Game 2—becoming the first player to do so in the same series. Allen Iverson would later equal that feat in the 2001 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors.This was the first time in NBA history that a game other than a Finals game was played during the month of June.
Game 4 of the Hawks-Bucks series was the last game ever played at the MECCA, later known as the US Cellular Arena. The Bucks moved to the Bradley Center the next season; BMO Harris Bank purchased its naming rights in 2012. The Bucks played there for 30 seasons, moving into the Fiserv Forum for the 2018-19 season.
Game 5 of the NBA Finals was the last NBA game ever played at the Pontiac Silverdome.2008 NBA playoffs
The 2008 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2007–08 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics defeating the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Paul Pierce was named NBA Finals MVP.
The playoffs were noted for the Atlanta Hawks' return after 9 years, taking the #1 seed Celtics to 7 games before bowing out. Also notable was the debut of the Chris Paul-led Hornets in the playoffs after Hurricane Katrina and their 7-game series against defending champions San Antonio Spurs, and the Lakers and Celtics' revitalization of their franchises, most especially after key trades during the preseason and regular season. The Celtics ended up playing 26 playoff games (2 games short of a full length postseason of 28), breaking the 25 game record of the 1994 Knicks and 2005 Pistons by 1 game for the most playoff games in a single season played by 1 NBA team. The Knicks, however, only played a Best-of-5 First Round, and so had 2 fewer games to accomplish that feat. Also, the top seeds from each Conference met in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2000. The 2008 Finals was also the first since 1998 to feature neither Shaquille O'Neal nor Tim Duncan.
The Golden State Warriors won 48 games, more than 5 of the 8 playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. However, all eight qualifiers in the Western Conference finished with at least 50 wins, thus leaving the Warriors out of the postseason.2012 NBA playoffs
The 2012 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2011–12 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat defeating the Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals. LeBron James was named NBA Finals MVP.
Except for the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz, the playoffs featured the same teams from 2011; all 8 from the East were the same as last year. They also all had records over .500, the first time since 2005. The Clippers made the playoffs for the first time since 2006, while Utah made it for the 5th time in the last 6 years, it was their first without Jerry Sloan as head coach since 1988.
The Indiana Pacers opened the playoffs at home for the first time since 2004, while the Memphis Grizzlies earned home-court advantage for the first time in franchise history. For the fourth time since 2006, a division winner (in this case the Atlantic Division champion Boston Celtics) opened the playoffs on the road.
The defending champions Dallas Mavericks were swept by the Oklahoma City Thunder 4–0, becoming the third defending champion to be swept in the First Round after the Philadelphia Warriors in 1957 and Miami Heat in 2007, and second after Miami to be done so in a 7-game series. It was the first time the Mavericks were swept in a 7-game series, and only their second sweep since 1990.
The New York Knicks lost their 13th straight playoff game in Game 3 against the Heat, breaking Memphis' record from 2004–06 for the longest playoff losing streak.
The 8th-seeded Philadelphia 76ers defeated the 1st-seeded Bulls 4–2, becoming only the 5th team in NBA history to do so. Following the Grizzlies' 2011 upset of the 1st-seeded Spurs, this marked the first time in straight seasons an 8th-seed upset a #1 seed. The 76ers suffered the same fate as the Grizzlies, forcing the next series to a Game 7 but losing on the road.
Game 7 of the Lakers–Nuggets series ensured a 13th straight postseason with at least one Game 7 played. The last without one was the 1999 NBA Playoffs.
The Spurs became the fourth team and first from the West to go 8–0 through the playoffs' first two rounds following the 2003 change in the first round format to 7 games. The Heat in 2005, Cavs in 2009 and Magic in 2010, also went 8–0 through the first two rounds. In addition, all 3 lost Game 1 of their Conference Finals. The Spurs broke this trend by defeating the Thunder in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals. By winning 20 straight games, they set an NBA record for the longest winning streak carried over from the regular season to the playoffs, which was broken with the Game 3 loss, and finished a win short of tying the longest unbeaten playoff run in a single postseason. They ended up losing the series 4–2 after leading 2–0.
The Chicago Bulls were eliminated after losing Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to injuries, and the New York Knicks lost to the Miami Heat while losing Baron Davis and Iman Shumpert to knee injuries. The Heat were not immune, losing Chris Bosh for most of the playoffs en route to their championship. Commissioner David Stern initially said there was no connection between the injuries and the lockout that compressed the regular season to 66-game in 124 days; however, he backed off those comments a week later, saying more research was needed.2016 NBA playoffs
The 2016 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 2015–16 season. The tournament ended with the Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers defeating the Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors 4 games to 3 after the Warriors led the series 3 games to 1. In the NBA Finals, LeBron James was named NBA Finals MVP.
The Cavaliers swept their first two series and won the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Raptors to become the fourth team in NBA history to open a post-season with 10 straight victories. They matched the 2012 San Antonio Spurs, though the 1989 and 2001 Los Angeles Lakers had won their first eleven games en route to sweeping the first three rounds of the playoffs. Cleveland wound up repeating this feat the next year, when they swept the conference opening round, semifinal round, and winning the first 2 conference final games. However, this feat would be surpassed by the 2017 Golden State Warriors, who won 15 straight games.Bob Cousy
Robert Joseph Cousy (, born August 9, 1928) is an American retired professional basketball player. Cousy played point guard with the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963, and briefly with the Cincinnati Royals in the 1969–70 season. Making his high school varsity squad as a junior, he went on to earn a scholarship to the College of the Holy Cross, where he led the Crusaders to berths in the 1948 NCAA Tournament and 1950 NCAA Tournament, and won NCAA All-American honors for three seasons.
Cousy was initially drafted by the Tri-Cities Blackhawks as the third overall pick in the first round of the 1950 NBA draft, but after he refused to report, he was picked up by Boston. He had an exceptionally successful career with the Celtics, leading the league an unprecedented 8 straight years in assists, playing on six NBA championship teams, and being voted into 13 NBA All-Star Games in his 13 full NBA seasons. He was also named to 12 All-NBA First and Second Teams and won the 1957 NBA Most Valuable Player Award.En route to his assist streak that was unmatched either in number of crowns or consecutive years, Cousy introduced a new blend of ball-handling and passing skills to the NBA that earned him the nickname "The Houdini of the Hardwood". Also known as "Cooz", he was regularly introduced at Boston Garden as "Mr. Basketball". After his playing career, he coached the Royals for several years, capped by a seven-game cameo comeback for them at age 41.
Cousy then became a broadcaster for Celtics games. Upon his election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1971 the Celtics retired his #14 jersey and hung it in the rafters of the Garden. Cousy was named to the NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971, the NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1981, and the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996, making him one of only four players that were selected to each of those teams. He was also the first president of National Basketball Players Association.Earl Strom
Earl "Yogi" Strom (December 15, 1927 – July 10, 1994) was an American professional basketball referee for 29 years in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and for three years in the American Basketball Association (ABA). Strom is credited as one of the greatest referees in the history of the NBA and was known for his flamboyant style and ability to control the game. Nicknamed "The Pied Piper", the assertive Strom made foul calls with his whistle by using a "tweet-pause-tweet-tweet" tune and pointing at the offending player. In addition to calling fouls with flair, he was known for ejecting players from games with style and he sometimes supported his rulings with physical force.Over the course of his career, he officiated 2,400 professional basketball regular season games, 295 playoff games, 7 All-Star games, and 29 NBA and ABA Finals. For his extensive contributions to the game, Strom was posthumously elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1995.List of NBA franchise post-season droughts
This is a list of National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise post-season appearance droughts. This list includes the all-time and the active consecutive non-playoffs. Aside from the NBA playoff appearance droughts, this list also includes droughts of series wins, appearances in the NBA Finals and NBA championship wins. The oldest such franchise is the Suns (51 seasons), while the Royals/Kings and the Hawks have even longer championship droughts (68 and 61 seasons, respectively). Six franchises have never been to the NBA Finals, the highest number among the major North American sports. The oldest such team is the Braves/Clippers franchise (49 seasons); the Kings and the Hawks have appearance droughts that are even longer (69 and 59 seasons, respectively). The longest a franchise has gone without appearing in the playoffs at all is 15 seasons: the Braves/Clippers franchise from 1977 to 1991.
Of the 19 franchises that have won an NBA championship, 8 have droughts of 36 seasons or more, which is to say that the past 36 championships have been shared among only 11 franchises: the Lakers (8), the Bulls (6), the Spurs (5), the Celtics (3), the Pistons (3), the Heat (3), the Warriors (3), the Rockets (2), the Mavericks (1), the Cavaliers (1), and the Raptors (1). By contrast, the other three major North American sports have each had at least 16 franchises become champions over the same period of time.Mendy Rudolph
Marvin "Mendy" Rudolph (March 8, 1926 – July 4, 1979) was an American professional basketball referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for 22 years, from 1953 to 1975. Regarded as one of the greatest officials in NBA history, Rudolph officiated 2,112 NBA games (a record held at retirement) and was the first league referee to work 2,000 games. He was also selected to referee eight NBA All-Star Games and made 22 consecutive NBA Finals appearances.Following his career as a referee, he was a color commentator for CBS Sports's coverage of the NBA on CBS for two seasons from 1975 to 1977 and he appeared in a television advertisement for Miller Lite. He was a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2007.
Boston Celtics 1960–61 NBA champions
St. Louis Hawks 1960–61 Western Division Champions
Boston Celtics 1960–61 NBA champions
|G League affiliate|
|Culture and lore|
|G League affiliate|
|Culture and lore|
1960–61 NBA season by team