1954 NBA playoffs
The 1954 NBA playoffs was the postseason tournament of the National Basketball Association's 1953–54 season. The tournament concluded with the Western Conference champion Minneapolis Lakers defeating the Eastern Conference champion Syracuse Nationals 4 games to 3 in the NBA Finals.
|Dates||March 16–April 12, 1954|
|Champions||Minneapolis Lakers (5th title)|
|Runners-up||Syracuse Nationals (2nd finals appearance)|
For the Lakers, it was their third straight NBA title, and fifth in the last six years.
With the folding of the Indianapolis Olympians after the previous year's playoffs, leaving the NBA with nine teams, they resorted to a round-robin playoff format in 1954 for the only time in league history.
Although the Minneapolis Lakers, Fort Wayne Pistons, Rochester Royals and Syracuse Nationals all play in different cities now (Los Angeles, Detroit, Sacramento and Philadelphia respectively), this is the earliest NBA playoff in which every team that participated still exists today.
Division Semifinals (Round–Robin)Edit
Within each division, the top three teams in the season standings played a double round robin, comprising one home game in each city for each pair of teams, in order to eliminate one of the three participants. A three-way tie with two wins each would have secured home-court advantage in the Division Finals for New York or Minneapolis, who finished first in the season standings, against an opponent to be determined by one further game played with the season runner-up as host. In the event, neither round-robin generated even a two-way tie, so no seventh game was required in either Division. Two of three teams (shaded green) advanced to the Division Finals. The second game between Minneapolis and Rochester—the sixth and final Western game scheduled—was not played because both teams had qualified for the Division Final and Minneapolis had secured home-court advantage in that series. The sixth and final Eastern game scheduled, Boston at Syracuse, was played because home-court advantage in their subsequent Division Final had not been determined. Both teams had won 42 season games and Boston had won by coin flip the edge in case of a tie in the round-robin stage.
Five games, Tuesday to Sunday, March 16–21
Six games, Tuesday to Monday, March 16–22
|Division Finals||NBA Finals|
Champion: Minneapolis Lakers
- Game 1 @ Minneapolis (March 24): Minneapolis 89, Rochester 76
- Game 2 @ Rochester (March 27): Rochester 74, Minneapolis 73
- Game 3 @ Minneapolis (March 28): Minneapolis 82, Rochester 72
Last Playoff Meeting: 1952 NBA Western Division Finals (Minneapolis won 2–1)
Champion: Syracuse Nationals
- Game 1 @ Syracuse (March 25): Syracuse 109, Boston 94
- Game 2 @ Boston (March 27): Syracuse 83, Boston 76
Last Playoff Meeting: 1953 NBA Eastern Division Semifinals (Boston won 2–0)
- Game 1 @ Minneapolis (March 31): Minneapolis 79, Syracuse 68
- Game 2 @ Minneapolis (April 3): Syracuse 62, Minneapolis 60 (Paul Seymour hits the game-winner from 43 feet with 7 seconds left)
- Game 3 @ Syracuse (April 4): Minneapolis 81, Syracuse 67
- Game 4 @ Syracuse (April 8): Syracuse 80, Minneapolis 69
- Game 5 @ Syracuse (April 10): Minneapolis 84, Syracuse 73
- Game 6 @ Minneapolis (April 11): Syracuse 65, Minneapolis 63
- Game 7 @ Minneapolis (April 12): Minneapolis 87, Syracuse 80
Last Playoff Meeting: 1950 NBA Finals (Minneapolis won 4–2)
- "NBA Division Playoffs Open Tonight". The Washington Post. March 16, 1954.
- 1954 NBA Playoffs Summary at Basketball-Reference.com