2012 NBA playoffs: First-round records from 2003-11

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Photo of action during a San Antonio Spurs (in...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first round of the 2012 NBA playoffs tip-off with four games today and four tomorrow. The San Antonio Spurs will be playing in their 15th consecutive NBA playoffs, the longest active streak in the league. Mark Cuban’s Dallas Mavericks hold the second spot in that category; they are playing in their 12th straight playoffs.

Starting with the 2003 playoffs, the NBA went to a seven-games series in the first round instead of the previous five-game first round series. As you might expect, the Spurs have won the most first round games since 2003 with 31. They are followed by the Los Angeles Lakers with 28 and the Mavs with 26.

Since 2003, the Spurs have won seven of the nine first round series they have played. The Lakers have won six of the eight first round series they have played. One of the surprises is that the Detroit Pistons have won six of the seven first round series they have played in since 2003.

Two teams, the New York Knicks and Charlotte Bobcats, have not won a first round game since 2003. In fact, the Bobcats have never won a playoff game since they came into the league in 2004-05. The Knicks has not won a playoff game since 2001; they lost three games to two in the first round of the ’01 playoffs to the Toronto Raptors. (Note the Cleveland Cavaliers have the best first round winning percentage since 2003 with a 20-5 record, a .800 winning percentage.)

Here’s a look at how well each team has done in the first round of the NBA playoffs since 2003.

Team, First Round Games W/L Record (2003-11), Winning Pct.

San Antonio 31-17 .646

Los Angeles Lakers 28-16 .636

Dallas 26-25 .510

Detroit 24-12 .667

Boston 23-17 .575

Cleveland 20-5 .800

Miami 20-18 .526

Phoenix 19-14 .576

Orlando 17-15 .531

New Jersey 16-10 .615

Chicago 16-17 .485

Atlanta 15-12 .556

Utah 14-15 .483

Indiana 13-15 .464

Houston 13-18 .419

New Orleans Hornets 12-17 .414

Sacramento 11-10 .524

Denver 11-29 .275

Oklahoma City 10-6 .625

Philadelphia 10-18 .357

Portland 9-16 .360

Washington 8-14 .364

Milwaukee 7-16 .304

Minnesota 6-5 .545

Los Angeles Clippers 4-1 .800

Golden State 4-2 .667

Memphis 4-14 .222

Toronto 3-8 .273

New York 0-8 .000

Charlotte 0-4 .000

Did you know? The Boston Celtics and the Lakers are the only teams to have won a first round series in each of the past four seasons. The Atlanta Hawks have won a first round series in each of the last three playoffs.

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