Atlantic Division (NBA)

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Atlantic Division
ConferenceEastern Conference
LeagueNational Basketball Association
SportBasketball
Inaugural season1970–71 season
No. of teams
Most recent champion(s) (2nd title)
Most titles (21 titles)
 
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Atlantic Division
ConferenceEastern Conference
LeagueNational Basketball Association
SportBasketball
Inaugural season1970–71 season
No. of teams
Most recent champion(s) (2nd title)
Most titles (21 titles)

The Atlantic Division is one of the three divisions in the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The division consists of five teams, the Boston Celtics, the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors. All teams, except the Raptors, are located on the East Coast of the United States. However, Toronto sports teams have over the years enjoyed rivalries with teams in the Northeastern United States (particularly, Toronto teams also share divisions with Boston teams in Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League, with the former also containing a team in New York City).

The division was created at the start of the 1970–71 season, when the league expanded from 14 to 17 teams with the addition of the Buffalo Braves, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Portland Trail Blazers. The league realigned itself into two conferences, the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference, with two divisions in each conference. The Atlantic Division began with four inaugural members, the Celtics, the Braves, the Knicks and the 76ers.[1] The Celtics, the Knicks and the 76ers all joined from the Eastern Division.

The Celtics have won the most Atlantic Division titles with 21. The 76ers have won the second most titles with five. Eight NBA champions came from the Atlantic Division. The Celtics won six championships, while the Knicks and the 76ers won one championship each. All of them, except the 1972–73 Knicks, were division champions. In the 1983–84 season, all five teams from the division qualified for the playoffs. In the 1982–83 season, all teams in the division had winning percentages above 0.500 (50%). The most recent division champion is the Toronto Raptors.

Until the end of the 2012-13 season (when both the Celtics and 76ers appear to have entered a rebuilding stage, by trading away valuable players for future draft picks), the Atlantic Division was considered as being perhaps the most competitive division in the NBA (a title historically bestowed on divisions from the Western Conference, during the late 1990s and 2000s this was particularly thought to be the Southwest Division).[2]

Teams[edit]

TeamCityYearFrom
Joined
Boston CelticsBoston, Massachusetts1970Eastern Division
Brooklyn Nets (2012–present)
New Jersey Nets (19772012)
New York Nets (19761977)
Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Piscataway/East Rutherford/Newark, New Jersey
Uniondale, New York
1976ABAdouble-dagger
New York KnicksNew York City, New York1970Eastern Division
Philadelphia 76ersPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania1970Eastern Division
Toronto RaptorsToronto, Ontario2004Central Division
Notes

Former teams[edit]

TeamCityYearFromYearToCurrent division
JoinedLeft
Buffalo Braves (19701978, now Los Angeles Clippers)Buffalo, New York1970dagger1978Pacific Division
(as San Diego Clippers)
Pacific Division
Charlotte Hornets (19882002; 2004–present, formerly Charlotte Bobcats)Charlotte, North Carolina1988dagger1989Midwest DivisionSoutheast Division
Miami HeatMiami, Florida1989Midwest Division2004Southeast DivisionSoutheast Division
Orlando MagicOrlando, Florida1991Midwest Division2004Southeast DivisionSoutheast Division
Washington Wizards (1997–present)
Washington Bullets (19741997)
Washington, D.C.
Landover, Maryland
1978Central Division2004Southeast DivisionSoutheast Division
Notes

Team timeline[edit]

Denotes team that is currently in the division
Denotes team that has left the division

Toronto RaptorsOrlando MagicMiami HeatCharlotte HornetsWashington WizardsBrooklyn NetsPhiladelphia 76ersNew York KnicksBuffalo BravesBoston Celtics

Division champions[edit]

^Had or tied for the best regular season record for that season
SeasonTeamRecordPlayoffs result
1970–71New York Knicks 52–30 (.634)Lost Conference Finals
1971–72Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683)Lost Conference Finals
1972–73Boston Celtics^ 68–14 (.829)Lost Conference Finals
1973–74Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683)Won NBA Finals
1974–75Boston Celtics^ 60–22 (.732)Lost Conference Finals
1975–76Boston Celtics 54–28 (.659)Won NBA Finals
1976–77Philadelphia 76ers 50–32 (.610)Lost NBA Finals
1977–78Philadelphia 76ers 55–27 (.671)Lost Conference Finals
1978–79Washington Bullets^ 54–28 (.659)Lost NBA Finals
1979–80Boston Celtics^ 61–21 (.744)Lost Conference Finals
1980–81Boston Celtics^ 62–20 (.756)Won NBA Finals
1981–82Boston Celtics^ 63–19 (.768)Lost Conference Finals
1982–83Philadelphia 76ers^ 65–17 (.793)Won NBA Finals
1983–84Boston Celtics^ 62–20 (.756)Won NBA Finals
1984–85Boston Celtics^ 63–19 (.768)Lost NBA Finals
1985–86Boston Celtics^ 67–15 (.817)Won NBA Finals
1986–87Boston Celtics 59–23 (.720)Lost NBA Finals
1987–88Boston Celtics 57–25 (.695)Lost Conference Finals
1988–89New York Knicks 52–30 (.634)Lost Conference Semifinals
1989–90Philadelphia 76ers 53–29 (.646)Lost Conference Semifinals
1990–91Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683)Lost Conference Semifinals
1991–92Boston Celtics 51–31 (.622)Lost Conference Semifinals
1992–93New York Knicks 60–22 (.732)Lost Conference Finals
1993–94New York Knicks 57–25 (.695)Lost NBA Finals
1994–95Orlando Magic 57–25 (.695)Lost NBA Finals
1995–96Orlando Magic 60–22 (.732)Lost Conference Finals
1996–97Miami Heat 61–21 (.744)Lost Conference Finals
1997–98Miami Heat 55–27 (.671)Lost First Round
1998–99[a]Miami Heat 33–17 (.660)Lost First Round
1999–00Miami Heat 52–30 (.634)Lost Conference Semifinals
2000–01Philadelphia 76ers 56–26 (.683)Lost NBA Finals
2001–02New Jersey Nets 52–30 (.634)Lost NBA Finals
2002–03New Jersey Nets 49–33 (.598)Lost NBA Finals
2003–04New Jersey Nets 47–35 (.573)Lost Conference Semifinals
2004–05Boston Celtics 45–37 (.549)Lost First Round
2005–06New Jersey Nets 49–33 (.598)Lost Conference Semifinals
2006–07Toronto Raptors 47–35 (.573)Lost First Round
2007–08Boston Celtics^ 66–16 (.805)Won NBA Finals
2008–09Boston Celtics 62–20 (.756)Lost Conference Semifinals
2009–10Boston Celtics 50–32 (.610)Lost NBA Finals
2010–11Boston Celtics 56–26 (.683)Lost Conference Semifinals
2011–12[b]Boston Celtics 39–27 (.591)Lost Conference Finals
2012–13New York Knicks 54–28 (.659)Lost Conference Semifinals
2013–14Toronto Raptors 48–34 (.585)Lost First Round

Titles by team[edit]

^Denotes team that has left the division
TeamTitlesSeason(s) won
Boston Celtics211971–72, 1972–73, 1973–74, 1974–75, 1975–76, 1979–80, 1980–81, 1981–82, 1983–84, 1984–85,1985–86, 1986–87, 1987–88, 1990–91, 1991–92, 2004–05, 2007–08, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
Philadelphia 76ers51976–77, 1977–78, 1982–83, 1989–90, 2000–01
New York Knicks51970–71, 1988–89, 1992–93, 1993–94, 2012–13
Miami Heat^41996–97, 1997–98, 1998–99, 1999–00
New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn Nets)42001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04, 2005–06
Orlando Magic^21994–95, 1995–96
Toronto Raptors22006–07, 2013–14
Washington Bullets^ (now Washington Wizards)11978–79

Season results[edit]

^Denotes team that won the NBA championships
+Denotes team that won the Conference Finals, but lost the NBA Finals
*Denotes team that qualified for the NBA Playoffs
SeasonTeam (record)
1st2nd3rd4th5th6th7th
1970–71New York* (52–30)Philadelphia* (47–35)Boston (44–38)Buffalo (22–60)
1971–72Boston* (56–26)New York+ (48–34)Philadelphia (30–52)Buffalo (22–60)
1972–73Boston* (68–14)New York^ (57–25)Buffalo (21–61)Philadelphia (9–73)
1973–74Boston^ (56–26)New York* (49–33)Buffalo* (42–40)Philadelphia (25–57)
1974–75Boston* (60–22)Buffalo* (49–33)New York* (40–42)Philadelphia (34–48)
1975–76Boston^ (54–28)Philadelphia* (46–36)Buffalo* (46–36)New York (38–44)
1976–77Philadelphia+ (50–32)Boston* (44–38)N.Y. Knicks (40–42)Buffalo (30–52)N.Y. Nets (22–60)
1977–78Philadelphia* (55–27)New York* (43–39)Boston (32–50)Buffalo (27–55)New Jersey (24–58)
1978–79Washington+ (54–28)Philadelphia* (47–35)New Jersey* (37–45)New York (31–51)Boston (29–53)
1979–80Boston* (61–21)Philadelphia+ (59–23)Washington* (39–43)New York (39–43)New Jersey (34–48)
1980–81Boston^ (62–20)Philadelphia* (62–20)New York* (50–32)Washington (39–43)New Jersey (24–58)
1981–82Boston* (63–19)Philadelphia+ (58–24)New Jersey* (44–38)Washington* (43–39)New York (33–49)
1982–83Philadelphia^ (65–17)Boston* (56–26)New Jersey* (49–33)New York* (44–38)Washington (42–40)
1983–84Boston^ (62–20)Philadelphia* (52–30)New York* (47–35)New Jersey* (45–37)Washington* (35–47)
1984–85Boston+ (63–19)Philadelphia* (58–24)New Jersey* (42–40)Washington* (40–42)New York (24–58)
1985–86Boston^ (67–15)Philadelphia* (54–28)Washington* (39–43)New Jersey* (39–43)New York (23–59)
1986–87Boston+ (59–23)Philadelphia* (45–37)Washington* (42–40)New Jersey (24–58)New York (24–58)
1987–88Boston* (57–25)Washington* (38–44)New York* (38–44)Philadelphia (36–46)New Jersey (19–63)
1988–89New York* (52–30)Philadelphia* (46–36)Boston* (42–40)Washington (40–42)New Jersey (26–56)Charlotte (20–62)
1989–90Philadelphia* (53–29)Boston* (52–30)New York* (45–37)Washington (31–51)Miami (18–64)New Jersey (17–65)
1990–91Boston* (56–26)Philadelphia* (44–38)New York* (39–43)Washington (30–52)New Jersey (26–56)Miami (24–58)
1991–92Boston* (51–31)New York* (51–31)New Jersey* (40–42)Miami* (38–44)Philadelphia (35–47)Washington (25–57)Orlando (21–61)
1992–93New York* (60–22)Boston* (48–34)New Jersey* (43–39)Orlando (41–41)Miami (36–46)Philadelphia (26–56)Washington (22–60)
1993–94New York+ (57–25)Orlando* (50–32)New Jersey* (45–37)Miami* (42–40)Boston (32–50)Philadelphia (25–57)Washington (24–58)
1994–95Orlando+ (57–25)New York* (55–27)Boston* (35–47)Miami (32–50)New Jersey (30–52)Philadelphia (24–58)Washington (21–61)
1995–96Orlando* (60–22)New York* (47–35)Miami* (42–40)Washington (39–43)Boston (33–49)New Jersey (30–52)Philadelphia (18–64)
1996–97Miami* (61–21)New York* (57–25)Orlando* (45–37)Washington* (44–38)New Jersey (26–56)Philadelphia (22–60)Boston (15–67)
1997–98Miami* (55–27)New York* (43–39)New Jersey* (43–39)Washington (42–40)Orlando (41–41)Boston (36–46)Philadelphia (31–51)
1998–99[a]Miami* (33–17)Orlando* (33–17)Philadelphia* (28–22)New York+ (27–23)Boston (19–31)Washington (18–32)New Jersey (16–34)
1999–00Miami* (52–30)New York* (50–32)Philadelphia* (49–33)Orlando (41–41)Boston (35–47)New Jersey (31–51)Washington (29–53)
2000–01Philadelphia+ (56–26)Miami* (50–32)New York* (48–34)Orlando* (43–39)Boston (36–46)New Jersey (26–56)Washington (19–63)
2001–02New Jersey+ (52–30)Boston* (49–33)Orlando* (44–38)Philadelphia* (43–39)Washington (37–45)Miami (36–46)New York (30–52)
2002–03New Jersey+ (49–33)Philadelphia* (48–34)Boston* (44–38)Orlando* (42–40)Washington (37–45)New York (37–45)Miami (25–57)
2003–04New Jersey* (47–35)Miami* (42–40)New York* (39–43)Boston* (36–46)Philadelphia (33–49)Washington (25–57)Orlando (21–61)
2004–05Boston* (45–37)Philadelphia* (43–39)New Jersey* (42–40)Toronto (33–49)New York (33–49)
2005–06New Jersey* (49–33)Philadelphia (38–44)Boston (33–49)Toronto (27–55)New York (23–59)
2006–07Toronto* (47–35)New Jersey* (41–41)Philadelphia (35–47)New York (33–49)Boston (24–58)
2007–08Boston^ (66–16)Toronto* (41–41)Philadelphia* (40–42)New Jersey (34–48)New York (23–59)
2008–09Boston* (62–20)Philadelphia* (41–41)New Jersey (34–48)Toronto (33–49)New York (32–50)
2009–10Boston+ (50–32)Toronto (40–42)New York (29–53)Philadelphia (27–55)New Jersey (12–70)
2010–11Boston* (56–26)New York* (42–40)Philadelphia* (41–41)New Jersey (24–58)Toronto (22–60)
2011–12[b]Boston* (39–27)New York* (36–30)Philadelphia* (35–31)Toronto (23–43)New Jersey (22–44)
2012–13New York* (54–28)Brooklyn* (49–33)Boston* (41–40)Philadelphia (34–48)Toronto (34–48)
2013–14Toronto* (48–34)Brooklyn* (44–38)New York (37–45)Boston (25–57)Philadelphia (19–63)

Rivalries[edit]

Boston Celtics vs. New York Knicks[edit]

Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers[edit]

New York Knicks vs. Brooklyn Nets[edit]

Main article: Knicks–Nets rivalry

New York Knicks vs Philadelphia 76ers[edit]

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

General
Specific
  1. ^ "1970–71 Season Overview: Kareem Rules the League". NBA.com. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. Retrieved May 29, 2011. 
  2. ^ "NBA PM: The NBA’s Toughest Division". Retrieved July 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ Donovan, John (February 4, 1999). "Let the semi-season begin: Expect injuries, intensity and a new champion in '99". CNN Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved May 31, 2011. 
  4. ^ Jenkins, Lee (December 5, 2011). "'tis The Season". CNN Sports Illustrated. Time Warner Company. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 
  5. ^ [1]

External links[edit]