- 2002 NBA Playoffs
NBA Playoffswere the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2001–02 season. This would be the final postseason that held best-of-5 first-round series; next year's postseason would see those series expanded to a best-of-7 format. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakerswinning their third consecutive championship by sweeping the Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Netsfour games to none.
This tournament marked the return of playoff success for the
Boston Celtics, who had last made the playoffs in 1995, and had made their last Eastern Conference finals appearance in 1987. The total number of playoff games for the NBA was 70 games including the NBA Finals.
Best record in NBA
Sacramento Kingsclinched the best record in the NBA, and earned home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs. However, when Sacramento lost to the Los Angeles Lakersin 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:
Sacramento Kings(clinched Pacific division)
San Antonio Spurs(clinched Midwest division)
Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trail Blazers
Best record in conference
New Jersey Netsclinched 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:
New Jersey Nets(clinched Atlantic division)
Detroit Pistons(clinched Central division)
Los Angeles Lakers
Sacramento Kingsvs. (8) Utah Jazz
Dallas Mavericksvs. (5) Minnesota Timberwolves
Sacramento Kingsvs. (3) Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers and Kings split the first two games in Sacramento. The Kings went to Los Angeles and won game three to take a 2-1 series lead. In game four, the Kings built a 24-point lead in the second quarter, but the Lakers came back to be down by 12 at halftime and by six after three quarters. The two teams continued to fight it out. A missed free throw by
Vlade Divacgave the Lakers a chance to win the game, down 99-97. Kobe Bryantdrove the ball to the hoop and missed a running jumper. Shaquille O'Nealgot the rebound and missed a layup and Divac intended to knock the ball to a teammate, but instead it wound up going to a wide open Robert Horrywho drilled a three-pointer as time ran out and gave the Lakers an improbable game four win, which tied the series 2-2. In game five, Sacramento trailed almost the entire fourth quarter and was down 91-90 late in the 4th quarter, but a jump shot by Mike Bibbyoff a screen with 8.2 seconds left gave the team the lead and was the eventual game winner in a 92-91 win. In Game 6, O'Neal scored 41 points and had 17 rebounds in the Lakers' narrow victory, setting the stage for game seven in Sacramento, with the winner advancing to the NBA Finals. There are allegations that this sixth game was affected by the referees in relationship to the Tim Donaghy scandal. [cite web|url=http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=3436401|title=2002 Lakers-Kings Game 6 at heart of Donaghy allegations|author=Sheridan, Chris|publisher=ESPN.com|date= 2008-06-11|accessdate=2008-06-10] The Lakers had 27 free throws in the fourth quarter.
The seventh game had been close throughout, but two free throws made by Bibby tied the score 100-100 and forced the game into overtime. The Kings could not hold on, and eventually lost the game and the series to the Lakers.
Detroit Pistonsvs. (7) Toronto Raptors
Detroit Pistonsvs. (3) Boston Celtics
* [http://www.nba.com/playoffs2002/ NBA.com's 2002 Playoffs coverage]
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