An NBA first: No Lakers, Celtics and Knicks in playoffs

The three franchises have won 35 NBA titles combined.

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The Los Angeles Lakers are Elgin Baylor and Jerry West and Showtime and Magic and Kareem and Kobe. The Boston Celtics are Bill Russell and Hondo Havlicek and Larry Legend and D.J. and the Chief and Paul Pierce and K.G. The New York Knicks are Willis Reed and Clyde and Earl the Pearl and Patrick Ewing and Charles Oakley.

Why are we doing a quick run through these teams’€™ history? Because when it comes to the playoffs this season, they are history.

For the first time, the NBA will hold a postseason without any of those three teams.

"It’s horrible for the NBA that those markets may not be in the playoffs," Lakers radio commentator Mychal Thompson said (via USA Today). "The NBA is a lot healthier business when those franchises are competing for championships."

Not that people necessarily feel any sympathy.

These franchises have been around since the 1940s. The Celtics have won 17 NBA championships and the Lakers 16. Though the Knicks have won just two titles, they have gone to the playoffs 42 times.

The Lakers and Celtics have met in the NBA Finals 12 times and staged some of the most intensely fought championship series the league has ever seen.

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The Knicks, by virtue of their home in New York, have outsize importance, operating in the nation’€™s media center. The Knicks and Lakers draw any number of celebrities to their games.

But Spike Lee and Jack Nicholson won’€™t be sitting in their customary courtside seats for any playoff games this year.

And this year, instead of playing games next month, the three franchises will be looking forward to May 20 — the day of the NBA’€™s draft lottery.