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1996 NBA playoffs

The 1996 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1995–96 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Chicago Bulls defeating the Western Conference champion Seattle SuperSonics 4 games to 2. Michael Jordan was named NBA Finals MVP for a then record fourth time. By winning their fourth title, the Bulls capped what many consider to be the greatest season in NBA history, as they finished a record 72–10 in the regular season, eclipsing the 1972 Los Angeles Lakers record of 69–13, helped by the addition of another future Hall of Famer to the Bulls, Dennis Rodman. It was also redemption for Jordan after his first return to the playoffs in 1995 and the Bulls' disappointing second-round loss to the Orlando Magic, a team that would be swept in the NBA Finals. With him leading the way, the Bulls swept the defending Eastern Conference champion Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals, winning the four games by an average of 17 points en route to a combined record of 87–13 in regular season and postseason play. As for the Magic, it ended a three-year run of dominance for the team, as Shaquille O'Neal went on to sign with the Lakers the following season. The Magic did not have another 50-win season, division title and first round playoff series victory until 2008, followed the season afterward by an Eastern Conference championship and the franchise's second NBA Finals appearance in 2009 to which they lost to the Lakers. The SuperSonics were only the tenth team in NBA history to win 64 games during the regular season, but their feat went largely unnoticed due to Chicago's record 72 wins. They made their first trip to the NBA Finals since 1979, and vindicated them as well after their stunning first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets in 1994, when they had become the first #1 seed to lose to an eighth-seed.

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2006 NBA playoffs

The 2006 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2005–06 season. The tournament concluded with the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat defeating the Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks 4 games to 2 in the NBA Finals. Dwyane Wade was named NBA Finals MVP. The Clippers were the biggest surprise, as they not only made the playoffs for the first time since 1997, but advanced to the second round for the first time since 1976, when they were the Buffalo Braves. They came within 1 game of making the conference finals for the first time, but lost Game 7 to the Suns. 2006 was the playoff debut of LeBron James, who helped the Cavaliers eke out 1-point OT victories over the Washington Wizards in Games 5 and 6 of their first-round series to advance. It was their first playoff appearance since 1998, and they earned their first playoff series win since 1993. Against the two-time defending Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons, the Cavs were routed in Game 1 and lost Game 2 by 6 before winning the next 3 and being 1 game away from beating the Pistons. Detroit recovered and won the last 2 to take the series in 7. As of 2022, this was the last time the Sacramento Kings made to playoffs, they would eventually hold the longest playoff drought in the NBA playoff history at 16 years.

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2009 NBA playoffs

The 2009 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2008–09 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic 4 games to 1 in the NBA Finals. Kobe Bryant was named NBA Finals MVP. The Boston Celtics lost a best-of-7 series after leading 3–2 for the first time to the Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Before that, their first round series with the Chicago Bulls set an NBA Playoff record for the most overtime games (4) and periods (7) played. The Houston Rockets won a first round series for the first time since 1997. They pushed the eventual champion Lakers to a Game 7 before losing. The Atlanta Hawks won a first round series for the first time since 1999, but were swept by the Cavs after enduring a tough 7-game series with the Miami Heat, who made the playoffs for the fifth time in 6 years. The Denver Nuggets won a playoff series for the first time since 1994, eventually reaching their first conference final since 1985. As for the Detroit Pistons and San Antonio Spurs, they failed to advance past the first round for the first time since 2000. The Pistons were swept by the Cavs, while the Spurs lost to the Dallas Mavericks 4–1.

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2020 NBA playoffs

The 2020 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2019–20 season. The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin on April 18. However, the league suspended the season on March 11, 2020, hours after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.On June 4, the NBA Board of Governors approved a plan to restart the season on July 31 in the NBA Bubble. This proposal was then approved by members of the National Basketball Players Association on June 5. Under this plan, the 22 top teams in the league at the time of the suspension played eight additional regular season games to determine playoff seeding, with 16 of those teams playing in a conventional postseason tournament. If the ninth seed within a conference would have finished the regular season within four games of the eighth seed, they would have then competed in a play-in series. The last time a play-in game was played to determine a playoff spot was in 1956.As part of the bubble, all playoff games were held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside Walt Disney World in Bay Lake, Florida. All three games that were scheduled to take place on August 26 were postponed by a wildcat strike, in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with the Milwaukee Bucks being the first team not to take the court prior to their game five matchup against the Orlando Magic. The games on August 27 and 28 were also postponed, with games resuming on August 29.The Toronto Raptors were defending champions, but lost in the Eastern Conference Semifinals round to the Boston Celtics. None of the teams that made it to the Conference Finals in the 2019 NBA playoffs made the Conference Finals in 2020.

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2021 NBA playoffs

The 2021 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 2020–21 season. With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the NBA for the second consecutive year, the regular season was reduced to 72 games for each team and the start date of the playoffs was moved from its usual time in mid-April to May 22, 2021. It ended with the 2021 NBA Finals in July. The 2021 NBA Finals matchup featured the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. Game 1 of the series was played on July 6, where the Suns took down the Bucks 118–105. Game 2 was played on July 8 at the Phoenix Suns Arena (now called Footprint Center) and ended with a score of 118–108 in favor of the Suns. The Bucks won the NBA Finals in six games after being down 0–2, their first championship since 1971. Both the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers and the 2020 NBA Finals runner-up Miami Heat lost in the first round to the eventual finalists: the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, respectively. The Suns advanced to their first NBA Finals since 1993 after winning the Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Clippers in six games; the Bucks also won the Eastern Conference Finals in six games, against the Atlanta Hawks to reach their first NBA Finals since 1974.It was the first year the NBA used a 20-team playoff, with a two-stage system in both conferences, with 16 of the 20 teams advancing to the second stage. The first stage, the NBA Play-In Games, was a four-team playoff in each conference for the No.

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