Tuesday, October 4, 2011

NBA basketball

Of all the professional basketball leagues in the world the National Basketball Association or NBA as it is known sits at the top of the pyramid in terms of popularity, salaries, talent, and level of competition. The NBA is one of the four major North American professional sports leagues.

The NBA comprises 30 teams, 29 of which are based in the USA and 1 in Canada, as with all the major North American sports the teams are split into two Conferences in this case they are called Eastern and Western and each one of those Conferences contains three divisions. In the Western conference they are called Northwest, Pacific and Southwest while the Eastern Conference is divided into the Atlantic, Central and Southeast divisions. All the divisions are equally balanced in that they contain five teams in each. People who bet on basketball should remember this.

Training camps and pre-season take place in September and October and this gives the team’s time to get the players fit and evaluate new players that will be on their roster.  The regular season starts in the last week in October and teams play a season of 82 games – 41 at home and 41 away or on the road. A team faces opponents in its own division four times a year (16 games). Each team plays six of the teams from the other two divisions in its conference four times (24 games), and the remaining four teams three times (12 games). Finally, each team plays all the teams in the other conference twice apiece (30 games). This asymmetrical structure means the strength of schedule will vary between teams (but not as significantly as the NFL or MLB). By playing all the other teams in the league the NBA is the same as the National Hockey League which is the only other league of the big four in North America where this happens. Fans of live basketball betting should bear this in mind.

In February around the mid-point of the season the NBA takes a short break for the All-Star game. Fans can vote throughout the United States, Canada, and on the Internet, and the top vote-getters at each position in each conference are given a starting spot on their conference's All-Star team. Coaches vote to choose the remaining 14 All-Stars. Then, Eastern conference players face the Western conference players in the All-Star game.

The season ends in April when the top eight sides in each Conference qualify for the play-offs, their rankings within each Conference then determining who and where they play during the post-season. The final playoff round, a best-of-seven series between the victors of both conferences, is known as the NBA Finals, and is held annually in June. The victor in the NBA Finals wins the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy. Each player and major contributor—including coaches and the general manager—on the winning team receive a championship ring.

The current NBA Champions are the Dallas Mavericks who triumphed 4-2 in the latest NBA Finals.

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