2006 NBA Playoffs

The 2006 NBA Playoffs was the postseason of the National Basketball Association's 2005-06 season. The 2006 NBA Champions were the Miami Heat who won the first championship in the history of the franchise. The team defeated the Dallas Mavericks 4-2 in the 2006 NBA Finals. The Heat's Dwyane Wade was named Finals MVP.

The Mavericks almost gave up a 3-1 series lead to the defending champion San Antonio Spurs in the conference semifinals but managed to pull out a Game 7 overtime win in San Antonio to close out the series. This was just the second time in NBA history that the road team won a Game 7 in overtime; the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Sacramento Kings in the same manner in the 2002 Western Conference Finals.

The Los Angeles Clippers were one of the playoffs' biggest surprises in 2006, as they not only made the playoffs for the first time since 1997 but they advanced to the second round for the first time since 1976, when they were the Buffalo Braves. They came within one game of making it to the conference finals for the first time ever, but lost Game 7 to the Phoenix Suns.

2006 marked the playoff debut of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James, who helped the Cavs eke out one-point overtime victories over the Washington Wizards in Games 5 and 6 of their first-round series to advance. Against the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons, the Cavaliers were routed in Game 1 of the semifinal series and lost by six in Game 2 before coming back to win the following three games and come within one game of handing the Pistons a playoff defeat. The Pistons recovered and won the last two games of the series for a seven-game series win.

It was the Cavaliers' first playoff appearance since 1998, and they earned their first playoff series win since 1993.

With the help of Dwyane Wade, the Heat earned their first NBA Finals appearance. In the Finals, the Heat faced the Dallas Mavericks, who won the first two games at home. The Heat won all three home games, and narrowly edged the Mavs in Game 6 in Dallas to capture their first NBA Championship.

The 2006 NBA postseason was regarded as one of the most entertaining in recent memory.

Format

Consisting of 16 teams in two conferences, the playoffs involve nearly two months of play and between 60 and 105 games under the current format. The playoffs were conducted in four rounds of best of seven series. In each series, the team with the better record (or which wins a tiebreaker, in the event that teams with identical records are matched) held home court advantage, meaning that the seventh game, if played, is held in their home arena.

The first two games in each series were played in the home arena of the team with home court advantage. The third and fourth games were played in the other arena. The fifth, sixth, and seventh games alternated between the two arenas. However, in the NBA Finals, the team with home court advantage hosted the first two and last two games, while the other team hosted the middle three games. With the addition of the 30th NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats, in 2004, the NBA realigned its divisions. Each conference had three divisions of five teams each, and at this point in time, the winner of each division was guaranteed a top three playoff seed, regardless of whether the team had one of the top eight records in its conference. However, the division champion was not guaranteed home court advantage; a division-leading team could be ranked third or even second but face a lower seed (that did not win its division) with a better record, which would then have the home court advantage. This was illustrated in the first round this year when the 44-win Denver Nuggets won the Northwest Division and had the third seed, yet did not have home court advantage against the sixth-seeded 47-win Los Angeles Clippers. However, starting in the 2007 NBA playoffs; being a division-leading team does not guarantee a top three playoff seed. Now, the best non division-leading team is capable of gaining a higher seed than the other two division leading-teams. Also, none of the division-leading teams will be seeded lower than the four seed.

Bracket

Teams that advanced to the next round are boldfaced; those with home court advantage are in italics.16TeamBracket
RD1=First Round
RD2=Conference Semifinals
RD3=Conference Finals
RD4=NBA Finals
group1=Eastern Conference
group2=Western Conference

RD1-seed01=1
RD1-team01="Detroit"
RD1-score01=4
RD1-seed02=8
RD1-team02=Milwaukee
RD1-score02=1

RD1-seed03=4
RD1-team03="Cleveland"
RD1-score03=4
RD1-seed04=5
RD1-team04=Washington
RD1-score04=2

RD1-seed05=3
RD1-team05="New Jersey"
RD1-score05=4
RD1-seed06=6
RD1-team06=Indiana
RD1-score06=2

RD1-seed07=2
RD1-team07="Miami"
RD1-score07=4
RD1-seed08=7
RD1-team08=Chicago
RD1-score08=2

RD1-seed09=1
RD1-team09="San Antonio"
RD1-score09=4
RD1-seed10=8
RD1-team10=Sacramento
RD1-score10=2

RD1-seed11=4
RD1-team11="Dallas"
RD1-score11=4
RD1-seed12=5
RD1-team12=Memphis
RD1-score12=0

RD1-seed13=3
RD1-team13=Denver
RD1-score13=1
RD1-seed14=6
RD1-team14="L.A. Clippers"
RD1-score14=4

RD1-seed15=2
RD1-team15="Phoenix"
RD1-score15=4
RD1-seed16=7
RD1-team16=L.A. Lakers
RD1-score16=3

RD2-seed01=1
RD2-team01="Detroit"
RD2-score01=4
RD2-seed02=4
RD2-team02=Cleveland
RD2-score02=3

RD2-seed03=3
RD2-team03=New Jersey
RD2-score03=1
RD2-seed04=2
RD2-team04="Miami"
RD2-score04=4

RD2-seed05=1
RD2-team05="San Antonio"
RD2-score05=3
RD2-seed06=4
RD2-team06=Dallas
RD2-score06=4

RD2-seed07=6
RD2-team07=L.A. Clippers
RD2-score07=3
RD2-seed08=2
RD2-team08="Phoenix"
RD2-score08=4

RD3-seed01=1
RD3-team01="Detroit"
RD3-score01=2
RD3-seed02=2
RD3-team02=Miami
RD3-score02=4

RD3-seed03=4
RD3-team03="Dallas"
RD3-score03=4
RD3-seed04=2
RD3-team04=Phoenix
RD3-score04=2

RD4-seed01=E2
RD4-team01=Miami
RD4-score01=4
RD4-seed02=W4
RD4-team02="Dallas"
RD4-score02=2

Playoff qualifying

Western Conference

Best record in conference

The San Antonio Spurs clinched the best record in the Western Conference, and had home court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. However, when they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Conference Semifinals, Dallas had home court advantage in the Western Conference Finals.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the West:

# San Antonio Spurs (clinched Southwest division)
# Phoenix Suns (clinched Pacific division)
# Denver Nuggets (clinched Northwest division)
# Dallas Mavericks
# Memphis Grizzlies
# Los Angeles Clippers
# Los Angeles Lakers
# Sacramento Kings

Eastern Conference

Best record in NBA

The Detroit Pistons clinched the best record in the NBA, and earned home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. However, when the Pistons lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, home court advantage in the NBA Finals switched to the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks, who had a better record than the Heat.

Clinched a playoff berth

The following teams clinched a playoff berth in the East:

# Detroit Pistons (clinched Central division)
# Miami Heat (clinched Southeast division)
# New Jersey Nets (clinched Atlantic division)
# Cleveland Cavaliers
# Washington Wizards
# Indiana Pacers
# Chicago Bulls
# Milwaukee Bucks

TV coverage

First and second round games were televised on ABC, TNT, ESPN, ESPN2 and NBA TV in the United States and on TSN, Rogers Sportsnet, The Score, and Raptors NBA TV in Canada; some games were also televised on local or regional TV networks. The Eastern Conference finals aired exclusively on ESPN and ABC, and the Western Conference finals aired exclusively on TNT; TSN and The Score split coverage of the Conference Finals. The NBA Finals aired exclusively on ABC in the U.S. and on TSN in Canada. [http://www.nba.com/news/schedule_050808.html]

Western Conference

Champion: Dallas Mavericks

First Round

(1) San Antonio Spurs vs. (8) Sacramento Kings

(4) Dallas Mavericks vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies

**Required double overtime

Conference Finals

(2) Phoenix Suns vs. (4) Dallas Mavericks

(3) New Jersey Nets vs. (6) Indiana Pacers

2006 marked the first time Lebron James made the playoffs in his career, and the first time the Cavaliers had made the playoffs since 1998 with Shawn Kemp. They came off a playoff series win vs the Wizards, while the Pistons came in off a 4-1 win vs the 8th seeded Bucks. Detroit was expected to win the series, and took a commanding two games to none lead with two wins at the Palace of Auburn Hills. James and the Cavaliers would not be intimidated however, and won their two games at home to tie the series 2-2. Coming into game 5, both teams were confident, but the Pistons were expected to pull out the win easily. The game was low scoring throughout as usual in this series, with Cleveland holding a 68 to 66 lead throughout 3 quarters. With the game tied at 84 with 26 seconds left in regulation, Drew Gooden came through and hit a layup to give Cleveland the lead that they would never squander. James led the Cavs with 32 and this brought the series to Cleveland up 3-2, quite shockingly. Detroit held on to a 2 point win to win game 6, and won game 7 at home to seal the deal.

(2) Miami Heat vs. (3) New Jersey Nets

*Required overtime

Trivia

*The song "Bad Day" by Daniel Powter was played in arenas when the road team was eliminated (a la "American Idol"). This idea spread over to other sports competitions that year such as the 2006 FIFA World Cup, 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and sometimes even during the 2006 MLB season. Fact|date=May 2007

External links

* [http://www.nba.com/ Official website of the NBA]
* [http://www.nba.com/playoffs2006/ Official website of the 2006 NBA Playoffs]
* [http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/index ESPN's NBA page]


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