NBA Controversies: Why was Jef Van Gundy Penalised $100,000 in NBA Playoffs 2005?

The 2005 NBA playoffs were the National Basketball Association’s playoff tournament for the 2004-05 season. Read to know more.

The 2005 NBA playoffs were the National Basketball Association’s playoff tournament for the 2004-05 season. In the Championship Game, the Western Conference champion San Antonio Spurs defeated the Eastern Conference winning team Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3. Tim Duncan was labelled MVP of the Finals. The preceding two champions encountered in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987. It was the Spurs’ third championship (they also won in the lockout-shortened season of 1998–99). 

In 2005, the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards finished long postseason droughts by meeting in the first round. It was Washington’s first finals appearance since 1997 (and, ironically, their adversaries in that playoffs were the Bulls, who swept them on their way to their 5th NBA title), and only their 2nd since 1988. Their series win over the Bulls, 4-2, was their first since 1982.

After the first round was changed to a best-of-seven format in the 2003 playoffs, the Miami Heat became the first team to go 8-0 through the initial two sessions. Following the same path were the 2009 Cavaliers, 2010 Magic, 2012 Spurs, 2016 Cavaliers, 2017 Cavaliers, and 2017 Warriors. No team (until 2016) has advanced to the NBA Finals after going 8-0 in the first two rounds, let alone winning 12 straight games (until the 2017 Warriors), although this Spurs came close in 2012 once they managed to win their first 10 playoff games before losing their next four to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In 2016, the Cleveland Cavaliers became the only team in NBA history to go 8-0 in the first two rounds and advance to the NBA Finals.


It was the Bulls’ first playoff appearance since losing Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals to Michael Jordan. In the interim, they were continuously near the bottom of the Central Division, but their 47-35 record in 2005 was a 24-game advancement over 2004. The Pacers faced the Celtics in the first round for the third year in a row (5th overall). Boston won 4-2 in 2003, and Indiana cleared Boston in 2004. Boston’s last finals appearance would be in 2008.

Accusation from Jeff Van Gundy

During a postseason series it against Dallas Mavericks in 2005, Houston Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy was penalised $100,000, a staggering amount for a trainer, for affirming that he had a reference within the league who notified him that the match officials were being commanded to call more fouls on Yao Ming in response to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s protests.

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