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 classic performance in Game 2 of the Bulls' first-round series against the Celtics, scoring 63 points in an 2-OT loss, which still stands as the NBA Playoff record. Jordan averaged 43.7 points per game in the series, but was unable to prevent the Bulls from being swept by a more experienced, more talented Celtics team considered by many among the greatest all-time. 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 5 seasons (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991), which include all appearances in the conference finals, three NBA Finals, and two championships.

Read more about 1986 NBA Playoffs:  Bracket, Western Conference, Eastern Conference, NBA Finals

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