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1971 NBA Finals
Team Coach Wins
Milwaukee Bucks Larry Costello 4
Baltimore Bullets Gene Shue 0
Dates: April 21–30
MVP: Lew Alcindor
(Milwaukee Bucks)
Eastern Finals: Bullets defeated Knicks, 4–3
Western Finals: Bucks defeated Lakers, 4–1

The 1971 NBA Finals was the championship series played at the conclusion of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 25th anniversary season of 1970–71.

The Western Conference champion Milwaukee Bucks, who were founded as an expansion team three years earlier, swept the Eastern Conference champion Baltimore Bullets in four games. Baltimore had dethroned the 1969–70 NBA champion New York Knicks.

The Bucks were the first Western Conference champions to win the league's championship since the St. Louis Hawks did so in 1958, and were the first expansion team in the NBA to win a championship since the NBA held its first expansion draft.

This was the first NBA Finals not played in the state of California in 10 years. It would also be the last time that both participants were playing in their first NBA Finals until the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat faced off in the 2006 NBA Finals.

The Bullets were forced to play Game 1 on a Wednesday night, just 48 hours after having defeated New York in Game 7 of the 1971 Eastern Conference Finals, then had to wait four days before playing Game 2. The series was the second (and last) time in NBA history that the teams alternated home games, the other being in 1956. Most other series were held in the 2-2-1-1-1 or 2-3-2 format (a 1-2-2-1-1 format was used in 1975 and 1978). It was also the last NBA Championship Series completed before May 1.

The series was broadcast by ABC with Chris Schenkel and Jack Twyman providing the commentary.

As both the Bucks and Washington Wizards (the Bullets' successors) now play in the Eastern Conference, a rematch of this Finals is not currently possible.

Until 2021, it was the Bucks' and the city of Milwaukee's only championship. The 50-year drought is the fifth longest title drought in the city's Major professional sports leagues.

1971 NBA Playoffs

Milwaukee Bucks (Western Conference Champion) Baltimore Bullets (Eastern Conference Champion)
66–16 (.805)

1st Midwest, 1st West, 1st Overall

Regular season 42–40 (.512)

1st Central, 2nd East, 8th Overall

Defeated the (4) San Francisco Warriors, 4–1 Conference Semifinals Defeated the (3) Philadelphia 76ers, 4–3
Defeated the (2) Los Angeles Lakers, 4–1 Conference Finals Defeated the (1) New York Knicks, 4–3

Series summary

Game Date Home Team Result Away Team
Game 1 April 21 Milwaukee 98–88 Baltimore
Game 2 April 25 Baltimore 83–102 Milwaukee
Game 3 April 28 Milwaukee 107–99 Baltimore
Game 4 April 30 Baltimore 106–118 Milwaukee
Preceded by
1970
NBA Finals
1971
Succeeded by
1972
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