NBA postseason tidbits
Hornets hand Riley a rare first-round drubbing
Posted: Thursday April 26, 2001 2:34 AM
Updated: Saturday April 28, 2001 3:35 AM
Pat Riley didn't have any problem winning first-round games with the Lakers. Mike PowellAllsport
By Jacob Luft, CNNSI.com
Humiliating opponents in the first round was more or less a habit for Pat Riley's "Showtime" Lakers of the 1980s.
Since the NBA went to a 16-team playoff format, in the 1983-84 season, there have been 43 first-round sweeps. The most one-sided of those was administered by Riley's 1986 Lakers, who demolished the Spurs 135-88 in Game 1, 122-94 in Game 2 and 114-94 in Game 3, for a total margin of 95 points.
The Lakers dealt similar pain to the 1987 Nuggets (82 points) and the '85 Suns (61 points).
Now the dapper Miami coach knows what it feels like to be on the wrong side of the humiliation, dropping the first two games of the best-of-five series to Charlotte by 26 points each before losing the clincher by 15 on Friday.
The highest combined margins of victory in three-game sweeps since 1983-84 (seeds in parenthesis).
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The Game 3 victory gave the Hornets a series victory margin of 67 points, the third-largest for a first-round, best-of-five matchup since 1984.
The Hornets also become the first No. 6 seed to sweep a No. 3 seed in the first round. There have been only four other first-round sweeps by lower-seeded teams since '84, with three of them coming in the 4-5 matchup. There has been one sweep of a two seed by a seventh seed (No. 7 Golden State vs. No. 2 Utah, 1987).
As far as the second round, though, history is not on the
Hornets' side. Of the nine No. 6 seeds to reach the East's second round since
'84, only one advanced to the conference finals -- the Michael Jordan-led Bulls
of 1988-89. No sixth-seeded team from the Eastern Conference has made the NBA
Finals. The Houston Rockets made the Finals twice as the sixth seed, in 1981 and
'95, out of the Western Conference.
Odds and ends
Perhaps the player who most deserves to make the NBA Finals this year is Toronto's Antonio Davis, who has played in 71 postseason games without reaching the Finals. The only active player ahead of Davis on the list, Kevin Willis (73), did not make the playoffs. The all-time leader is Terry Cummings (110 games).
The leader for most playoff games played without winning an NBA title is Utah's John Stockton with 170, followed by teammate Karl Malone at 160.
Dallas' Shawn Bradley was the active leader in regular-season games played without a postseason appearance with 555 before starting for the Mavericks in Game 1 against Utah on Saturday. The active leader is now Denver's Terry Davis with 480 games.
In Game 2 against Indiana on Tuesday night, Philadelphia's Allen Iverson fell one point short of becoming the 26th player to score 46 in a playoff game. It has been done 62 times, mostly by Michael Jordan (19 times). Wilt Chamberlain is second on the list with seven, followed by Elgin Baylor and Jerry West with four each.
The Mavericks' 10-year playoff drought, which ended this season, stands as the second longest in NBA history. The record for the longest stretch of non-playoff seasons is held by the Clippers (15 years, 1977-91). Golden State (1978-86), Sacramento ('87-95) and Utah ('74-83) are tied for third at nine.
The Bucks are one game away from eliminating the Magic, which would give them their first playoff series victory since 1989. Among the other playoff teams this year, Sacramento has gone the longest without a series victory (1981). Dallas hasn't won since 1988, and recent expansionists Toronto and Minnesota have never won a series.
In recent years, the NBA playoffs have not been kind to Rookie of the Year winners, if they can get to the postseason at all. Top rookies have participated in only two of the past 11 playoffs, compared with 19 from 1952-53 to '88-89. There have been two winners on NBA champions, two others on runners-up, but no participants since Phoenix's Alvan Adams in 1975-76. The last Rookie of the Year to advance to the conference finals was Boston's Larry Bird in 1979-80. This year's leading candidate, Mike Miller, helped lead the Magic to the playoffs but they are down 2-0 to Bucks.
For the first time since 1978-79, no NBA team won 60 games in a full season. There have been 38 60-game winners in that span, with 14 of them winning the NBA title.