Between April and June, all across the United States and at the end of a long season, the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) playoffs take place. The Playoffs are a best-of-seven elimination tournament among 16 teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences of the NBA. The NBA has been running since the late 1940s and has involved play-offs and finals every year since.
Based on the NBA regular season standings, the top eight teams in each conference qualify for the playoffs and are seeded one to eight. These seedings are then used to create a bracket, thus determining the match-ups throughout the play-off series. Each round is played in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, meaning the lower seeded team players at home for the first two games, then away for two and, if necessary, they alternate as hosts for the final three matches.
The first three rounds of the Playoffs serve as the conference quarter-finals, semi-finals and finals, then the two conference champions lock horns in the NBA Finals, and a new NBA Champion hoists the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. The NBA Final is also competed in a 2-2-1-1-1 format and in both the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals, Miami Heat have met San Antonio Spurs, with the Spurs winning 4-1 in 2014 to avenge a 4-3 defeat the year before.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the openly active team to have made 60 post-season appearances, while the Boston Celtics have played in the NBA playoffs 51 times and the Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Detroit Pistons are the only others with more than 40 appearances at postseason. As their unrivalled finals records suggest, the Celtics and Lakers are the NBA’s most storied teams. They boast more than 30 Championships between them and make up one of the great sporting rivalries.
Of all the teams with multiple appearances in the finals, Chicago Bulls are the only team to have never lost in the finals. The Bulls won all six of their NBA Championships between 1991 and 1998, led by the sport’s most recognisable face and most internationally-renowned star, Michael Jordan. It’s no coincidence that Jordan himself had a simply awesome finals record, winning six NBA Finals most valuable player awards.
In the post-Jordan era, three teams have dominated Playoffs and Finals season. Five Lakers teams, five Spurs teams and three Miami Heat teams have claimed 13 of the 16 NBA Championships awarded up to 2014.
All across the land you’ll find play-offs basketball taking place and there’s nothing quite like experiencing it at a packed-out arena with the crowd pumping and the ball flowing. Come experience the passion!!
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