NBA Playoff 2014

NBA Playoff 2014

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19-Apr-2014

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Information about 2014 NBA Playoffs tournament

The 68th season of the undoubtedly best basketball league in the world is slowly but surely coming to its conclusion. This year, the NBA playoff will commence on the 19th of April and the final game will, as usually, take place in June. The playoff games will be, indeed, an amazing show and we can’t wait to see who will be the lucky winner of the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy this year. There are certainly some big favourites in the competition, but as we all know, playoff is special and it never lacks surprises, the only question remains, on whose account it will be in this season.

Format of the 2014 NBA Playoff

Eight teams from each of the two NBA conferences advance to the playoff – the three division winners, the team with the next best regular season record and the other four teams with the best regular-season record in the conference. The three division winners and the second placed division team with the next best record are given a higher seed (1-4, seed nr. 1 being awarded to the team with the best regular season record), the other four teams a lower seed (5-8). The teams with higher seeding benefit from playing against weaker teams in the first round (the first seed plays the eight seed, the second plays the seventh, etc.). Having a better regular season record brings the team home court advantage and it has preference over the seeding in this respect.

The NBA playoff has four rounds, including the final round. The first three rounds are played within the two conferences, in the final round the conference winners meet each other and compete for the NBA Champion title. In each round, two teams play against each other in a best-of-seven series (therefore the lowest number of matches played in each round is four). After the first round, the winner of the 1st vs. the 8th seed series meets the winner of the 4th vs. the 5th seed series and the winner of the 2nd vs. 7th seed series meets the winner of the 3rd vs. the 6th seed series, in the third round, the two outstanding teams play against each other. The series follows a 2–2–1–1–1 format meaning that the team with the better regular season record plays at home for games one and two (plus five and seven if needed), and the team with the worse regular season record is at home for games three and four (and if necessary, game six). This format changes for the final round when the pattern changes to 2-3-2, meaning that the finalist with the higher regular season record plays the first and the last two games (if needed) at home court.

Participants of the 2014 NBA Playoff and schedule

These teams have qualified to the NBA Playoff matches:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1

Indiana

8

Atlanta

1

San Antonio

8

Dallas

2

Miami

7

Charlotte

2

Oklahoma City

7

Memphis

3

Toronto

6

Brooklyn

3

Los Angeles

6

Golden State

4

Chicago

5

Washington

4

Houston

5

Portland

NBA teams in season 2013/2014

In the season 2013/2014 the NBA consisted of 30 teams divided into two conferences (Eastern and Western) each with 15 teams. Each conference is further divided into 3 divisions by five teams, the Eastern conference into Atlantic, Central and Southeast division, the Western into Northwest, Pacific and Southwest. Out of the 30 teams, one comes from Canada (the Toronto Raptors) and the other teams come from USA.

Eastern Conference

  1. Atlantic Division - Toronto Raptors, Booklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers.
  2. Central Division - Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks.
  3. Southeast Division - Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Bobcats, Orlando Magic.

Western Conference

  1. Northwest Division - Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz.
  2. Pacific Division - Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings.
  3. Southwest Division - San Antonio Spurs, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, New Orleans Pelicans.

In the 2013/2014 regular season, each team plays altogether 82 games, 41 home and 41 away. Every team meets it division rivals four times per season, six teams from the other two divisions in its conference four times and the other four teams within its conference three times. Moreover, each team also plays all the teams in the other conference twice.

The NBA trophies and awards

trofej nba.jpgThe trophy for the winner of the NBA play-off is called the Larry O’Brian Championship Trophy (it was called Walter A. Brown Trophy until 1984) and is named after former NBA commissioner Larry O’Brian. The cup is made of sterling silver and vermeil with gold plating and weighs about 7kg. The current design of the cup was introduced in 1977. The trophy is produced every year and name of the winning team is engraved on it. Apart from the trophy, the members of the winning team (including coaches and general managers) also receive a championship ring (similarly to NHL) and the NBA also every year hands out 12 individual awards (including most valuable player, rookie of the year, coach of the year, etc.) and three honors (All-NBA Team, All-Rookie Team, All-Defensive Team).

Brief history of the NBA

The foundation of the NBA dates back to 1946 when owners of the major ice hockey arenas in USA and Canada created the Basketball Association of America (BAA). However, the name National Basketball Association was adopted later in 1949 when the BAA merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) – a parallel basketball league established nine years earlier which was played in smaller cities of USA. Until the 1949 both leagues were competing for fans as well as for participating teams and players, but it was soon apparent that the competition was damaging both leagues and a merger was inevitable.

The NBA started off with 17 teams from both small towns as well as large cities across the USA and Canada. The first years of the newly formed league were not very successful and until the season 1954/1955 there were only eight teams left in the competition, not mentioning the drop in the fan support. The league reacted to this situation by introduction of several changes to the games rules (such as introduction of the 24-second clock) which made the game faster and more entertaining. This proved to be a smart step as fans returned which enabled the league to stabilize financially. Since then the number of the NBA teams began to grow, and teams from smaller towns started to move to larger cities.

In 1967, when there were 14 teams in the league, another threat to the NBA appeared by foundation of a rival league - the American Basketball Association. The “fight” between the NBA and the ABA took until 1976 when the leagues finally reached a settlement and the ABA teams joined the NBA (since 1977), bringing the number of NBA teams to 22. The absorption of the ABA teams by the NBA also brought some further amendments of the game rules. Since that year, the league has been continuously growing in numbers of fans and teams. Currently, the NBA has 30 participants and it has also become one of the most attractive leagues in the world.

The by far most successful teams in the NBA history are the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers (formerly Minneapolis) who have won the championship seventeen respectively sixteen times. The Chicago Bulls managed to win the title six times, the San Antonio Spurs four times. Four teams succeeded three times, two teams two times and eight other teams just once. The most successful team of the last few seasons is the Miami Heat winning the title in 2013, 2012 and making the finals in 2011.

Throughout its history, the NBA has also produced some of the world sport’s biggest icons, such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, as well as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant in the more recent years.

 

Source of illustration picture: © Mariano Pozo Ruiz - Fotolia.com

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