A Comprehensive Guide to the NBA

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If you are a fan of sports, you have probably heard of the NBA or the National Basketball Association. It is the premier professional basketball league and one of the biggest sporting brands in the world, with a global reach and a loyal fan base.

Their top players are superstars, with players such as Michael Jordan, Dennis Rodman, LeBron James and Magic Johnson, just some of the names whose fame transcends the sport. But what exactly is the NBA and how does it work? If you are new to the sport of basketball or want to learn more about the NBA, read on for our handy guide.

 

The Format of the NBA

The NBA consists of 30 teams that are divided into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each conference has 15 teams that are further divided into three divisions: Atlantic, Central, and Southeast for the East; and Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest for the West. Each team plays 82 regular season games, with 41 at home and 41 on the road. The regular season usually runs from October to April.

 

Eastern Conference

 

Atlantic

- Boston Celtics

- New Jersey Nets

- New York Knicks

- Philadelphia 76ers

- Toronto Raptors

 

Central

- Chicago Bulls

- Cleveland Cavaliers

- Detroit Pistons

- Indiana Pacers

- Milwaukee Bucks

 

Southeast

- Atlanta Hawks

- Charlotte Bobcats

- Miami Heat

- Orlando Magic

- Washington Wizards

 

Western Conference

 

Northwest

- Denver Nuggets

- Minnesota Timberwolves

- Oklahoma City Thunder

- Portland Trail Blazers

- Utah Jazz

 

Pacific

- Golden State Warriors

- Los Angeles Clippers

- Los Angeles Lakers

- Phoenix Suns

- Sacramento Kings

 

Southwest

- Dallas Mavericks

- Houston Rockets

- Memphis Grizzlies

- New Orleans Hornets

- San Antonio Spurs

 

Playoffs

At the end of the regular season, the top eight teams from each conference qualify for the playoffs, which are a series of elimination rounds that determine the conference champions and ultimately the NBA champion. The playoffs usually run from April to June. The first round of the playoffs is a best-of-seven series between the first seed and the eighth seed, the second seed and the seventh seed, and so on.

The winners of each series advance to the conference semi-finals, then to the conference finals, and finally to the NBA Finals, where the Eastern Conference champion faces off against the Western Conference champion in another best-of-seven series. The team that wins four games in the NBA Finals is crowned as the NBA champion and receives the Larry O'Brien Trophy.

 

The Biggest and Most Successful Teams in the NBA

The NBA has a rich history of legendary teams that have dominated different eras of basketball. Some of these teams are still among the most popular and successful in the league today, while others have faded or fallen behind.

 

Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are the most decorated team in NBA history, with 17 championships to their name. The Celtics dominated the league in the 1950s and 1960s, winning 11 titles in 13 seasons under legendary coach Red Auerbach and star players such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek and Sam Jones. The Celtics also won three more titles in the 1970s and 1980s, with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish leading the way. The Celtics' most recent championship came in 2008, when they defeated their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, in six games.

 

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are the second-most successful team in NBA history, with 16 championships. The Lakers have been a powerhouse in every decade since the 1950s. They won five titles in the 1980s with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy forming the "Showtime" era. The Lakers also won five more titles in the 2000s with Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal forming one of the most dominant duos of all time. The Lakers' latest championship came in 2020 but in the current odds, they are among the favourites to add yet another championship this year.

 

Chicago Bulls

The Chicago Bulls are the third-most successful team in NBA history, with six championships to their name. The Bulls achieved all of their titles in the 1990s, when they were led by Michael Jordan, widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. Jordan was supported by Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman. The Bulls won three consecutive titles from 1991 to 1993, then repeated the feat from 1996 to 1998, becoming the only team to win two "three-peats" in NBA history.

 

Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors are the fourth-most successful team in NBA history, with six championships to their name. They won their first title in 1947, then famously added three titles in five years in 2015, 2017 and 2018. They are the current championship holders.

 

The San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs have five championships to their name, with four of those coming in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2014.

At the other end of the scale, spare a thought for the eleven teams in the NBA who have never won a championship: Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans and the Charlotte Hornets are still awaiting their moment in the spotlight.

Whichever team you support, the NBA guarantees a fast paced, edge of the seat sporting occasion with superstar athletes doing their thing in packed arenas. It's an occasion like no other and its not to be missed.

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