The NBA launched with 11 teams playing a 60-game schedule divided into two divisions. In fact, on November 1, 1946 the New York Knicks played against the Toronto Huskies in the first-ever NBA game at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. That night Ossie Schectman scored the first basket for the Knicks. The game ended as a 68-66 for the New York Knicks.
Right after the 1948-49 season, both the BAA and NBL merged together to create the National Basketball Association known today. Despite the first three seasons were before the merge, the league still counts them as their own. Therefore, the first-ever NBA Champion is also the BAA champion.
In fact, three of the founding franchises are still in the NBA today. Those teams are the Boston Celtics, today in San Francisco as the Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks. In fact, the inaugural season's setting has some similitaries to what the league is today. Check out how was the first-ever league tournament.
Who won the first ever NBA Championship?
The inaugural season was set up in two division; the East composed by 6 teams and the West composed by 5 teams. Only the first 3 seeded teams from both divisions qualified to the first-ever ABA playoffs. Those teams were Washington Capitols, Philadelphia Warriors, New York Knicks, Chicago Stags, St. Louis Bombers and Cleveland Rebels.
In the First Round the third seeded teams from both divisions faced each other in a best-of-three series. Therefore, the New York Knicks took a 2-1 game series win to the Cleveland Rebels, while the Philadelphia Warriors picked up the win in a 2-1 game series to the St. Louis Bombers.
For the Semifinals, the East got 3 teams still in contention for the championship. The first seeded teams, the Chicago Stags and the Washington Capitols faced-off in one side of semifinals. In fact, Chicago took a 4-2 game series win to qualify to the first-ever finals series. Finally, the Warriors ended up on top to the Knicks in a 2-0 game series win.
In the Finals, the Warriors won the first-ever NBA championship after a 4-1 win game series. In fact, the Warriors almost made the first-ever sweep in the finals, but fell short in Game 4 at the Chicago Stadium. Then, the Warriors closed out the series with a 83-80 win at home.