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The NBA Season

NBA LogoAlthough all of the hard work and effort put in by NBA players and coaches is carried out with the hope of reaching the playoffs and the Championship final, it is the regular NBA season that is the main focus of the NBA year. Anyone that wants the glory of the big games needs to be able to turn it on week-in and week-out, which means that the regular NBA season is worth keeping up to date with.

Following the climax of one NBA season, there is a summer break and then teams start to limber back into life near the end of September. This is the time of the training camps where players are put through their places and teams develop their players fitness, skills, tactics and strategies for the upcoming season. During this period, each team will select a 12 man roster of active players, and a 3 man roster of inactive players, with which they will go into the regular season with. The training camp period comes to a close with a number of pre-season games. These games are usually held in cities which don’t play host to a NBA team and in foreign countries. This allows NBA fans around the world to get the chance to see their heroes close up and of course, it provides plenty of material for the TV companies.

Once the pre-season period is over and done with, the regular season of the NBA gets underway in the final week of October.

The structure of the season is as follows:

  • Each team plays 82 games.
  • Each team plays 41 games at home and 41 games on the road
  • Each team will face their divisional opponents four teams in one season, which amounts to 16 games.
  • Each team will face six opponents from their conference four times in one season, which amounts to 24 games.
  • Each team will face the remaining four opponents from their conference three times in one season, which amounts to 12 games.
  • Each team will then play every team in the other conference twice, which amounts to 30 games.

It can be seen that 16 + 24 + 12 + 30 equals the 82 games that every team plays over the regular season.

Not every team faces the same season as their rivals, due to the way that the fixtures are allocated but over a five year period, there is a equality in the games that each team plays. This is down to the fact that over a five year period, every team will have played 80 games against their divisional rivals. This breaks down to 20 games against every one of their divisional opponents, with 10 at home and 10 away.

Every team will have played 180 games against the remaining teams in their conference, which equates to 18 games against every opponent, which will see 9 home games and 9 away games.

Finally, every team will play a total of 150 games against teams from the other conference, which equates to 10 games against every opponent, with 5 at home and 5 away.

This means with respect to the regular season, every team plays 410 games in 5 seasons, which is the rate of 82 games per season.

The regular season builds to its conclusion in April, when the 8 teams that make it through to the playoffs are decided.

The NBA Playoffs

NBA Playoffs LogoEight teams from the Eastern Conference and eight teams from the Western Conference battle it out to become the final two teams that play out in their individual conference final.

The team that has the best record in each division is declared the Division Champion and are placed directly into the playoffs. These three teams are joined by the non-champion with the best record. These four teams are then seeded one through to four with respect to their records over the regular season.

This means that a division champion will be ranked no lower than the fourth seed and it means that the best two ranked teams will be ranked as 1st and 2nd seed, even if the second best ranked team didn’t win their division. This would be the case if the team who came second in their division had a better season ranking than the two teams who won the other divisions in their conference.

The next four highest ranked teams are then seeded fifth through to eight for the playoffs. This means 8 teams from each conference make the playoff and 7 teams do not make the playoff. In total, 16 teams make it through the playoffs and 14 teams do not make the playoffs.

In the case of a tie with respect to seeding, there are established tiebreakers in place.

If two teams are tied, this is the criteria for splitting them, starting from the top and then working downwards until a split is achieved:

  • A divisional winner takes the higher ranking. This is the case whether or not the teams are in the same division
  • The team with the better record in the head to head match ups takes the higher ranking.
  • If teams are in the same division, the team with the higher level of winning percentage takes the higher ranking.
  • The team with the higher level of winning percentage in conference games takes the higher ranking.
  • The team with the higher level of winning percentage against the teams from their own conference who are in the place takes the higher ranking.
  • The team with the higher level of winning percentage against the teams from the opposite conference who are in the place takes the higher ranking.

If three teams are tied, this is the criteria for splitting them, starting from the top and then working downwards until a split is achieved:

  • A divisional winner takes the higher ranking. This is the case whether or not the teams are in the same division.
  • The team with the better record in the head to head match ups takes the higher ranking.
  • The team with the higher level of winning percentage in conference games takes the higher ranking.
  • The team with the higher level of winning percentage against the teams from their own conference who are in the place takes the higher ranking.
  • The team with the biggest difference between points scored and points against takes the higher ranking.

Once the seedings have been established, they are fixed and the playoff fixtures are created. This the quarter final round and all of the ties are a best of 7 affair.

The top ranked team plays the team ranked 8th. The second ranked team plays the 7th ranked team. The third ranked team plays the team ranked 6th. The fourth and fifth ranked teams play against each other.

NBA Conference FinalsThe winners of the four individual ties progress to the conference semi-finals where another best of 7 match-up takes place. The games are played out between the winners of the 1-8 and 4-5 match up while the other game sees the winners of the 2-7 and 3-6 square off against each other. The winners of this round advance to the Conference final for another best of 7 affair. The winner is crowned Conference champion and advances to the NBA finals where they will take on the other conference champion.

The quarter final, semi-final and conference final are played out in a 2-2-1-1-1 format. This means the team with the best record hosts game 1, 2, 5 and 7 while playing on the road on games 3, 4 and 6. In a best of 7 format, games 5, 6 and 7 may not be required.

The NBA Finals

NBA Finals LogoThe NBA Finals are played out in a 2-3-2 format. This means the team with the best record plays host for games 1, 2, 6 and 7 while they play on the road in games 3, 4 and 5. Again, games 5, 6 and 7 may not be required under the best of 7 format.

The nature of the playoffs means it is impossible to say how many games a team will play over the course of the full campaign. However, the maximum amount of games a team could play is 110.

This comes from the 82 regular season games, a maximum of 7 in the conference quarter, a maximum of 7 quarter in the conference semi-final, a maximum of 7 in the conference final and a maximum of 7 in the NBA Finals.

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