Open AccountOpen AccountDeposit 
DepositMy Bets
Join usDeposit
CasinoLive CasinoPromotionsSports

A Guide to the NBA – Teams and History

The NBA (National Basketball Association) is the most prestigious basketball league in the world. Based in North America, it is comprised of 29 US teams and 1 Canadian team. The teams are split into two groups, the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

The Eastern and Western Conference are split into three divisions. The teams in the division will play each other more times during the regular season than they play against other teams from the conference.

Eastern Conference

In the Eastern Conference, there are the Atlantic, Central and Southeast divisions. The following teams play in the Eastern Conference's three divisions:

Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and the Toronto Raptors.

Central Division

Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards.

Western Conference

The Western Division is split into the Northwest, Pacific and Southwest Divisions, the following teams play in the different Divisions:

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers and Utah Jazz

Pacific Division

Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and the  Sacramento Kings.

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Memphis Rockets, New Orleans Pelicans and San Antonio Spurs.

The Structure of the NBA

Each team will play 82 games during the regular season, 41 each at home and away. Each team faces the other teams from its own division four times a year (16 games in total). They also play six teams from the other two divisions in the Conference four times (24 games), and play the remaining four teams twice (12 games). Each team will also play against all the teams in the rivalling Conference twice (30 games) to make a total of 82 games for each team in a season.

Once all of the games in the regular season have been played, the top six teams ranking in the Conferences, by win percentage, will advance to the NBA playoffs. The four teams that rank 7th to 10th will proceed to a playoff qualifying round. In the qualifying round, the seventh and eight ranking teams will play each other for the 7th seed in the conference for the playoffs. The 9th and 10th ranking teams will play each other, and the winner will play against the team that lost the qualifying round to the 7th seed. The winner of the final qualification game will win the 8th seed of the Conference to the playoffs.

The playoffs are played in a knockout tournament format. The teams play from the quarterfinals in a best of seven series knockout. The first team to win four in the best of seven series proceeds to the following round, with the loser falling out of the playoffs. The final game of the playoffs is known as the NBA Finals, which is usually held in June. The winner of the NBA Finals becomes the new NBA Champions and wins the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

History of the NBA

The Basketball Association of America (BAA) was created in 1946 and hosted the first professional leagues in large arenas in major cities. The National Basketball League also held tournaments, at an amateur level, though that did not represent the quality. In the 1948 NBL champions, the Minneapolis Lakers won the 1949 BAA title, creating turmoil in the professional league. The following season, many NBL teams joined the BAA, and to avoid legal complications, the league name was changed to the NBA. To date, the NBA recognise the first BAA tournaments as part of NBA history, and consider the NBL leagues as an expansion.

The Philadelphia Warriors won the inaugural tournament, beating the Chicago Stags. The Baltimore Bullets and Minneapolis Lakers won the BAA title in the following years before it became the NBA.

The Minneapolis Lakers went on to win the inaugural NBA championship, beating the Syracuse Nationals in the finals.

The Minneapolis Lakers went on to win three back to back NBA titles from 1952 through to 1964. In 1957, the Boston Celtics won their first NBA championship. Rookie centre Bill Russell joined guard and coach Red Auerbach in a strong Celtics side that narrowly lost out to a second title the following year, losing to St. Louis Hawks. The Celtics returned the following year to win again, and dominated the NBA from the end of the 50s through to the 70s. From 1959 to 1966, the Celtics won 8 back to back NBA titles, and though they were beaten to the finals by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1967, they returned the following two years to win two more NBA titles.

The NBA league was growing in popularity in each year, from 1966 to 1974, the league grew from 9 franchises to 18.  The Portland Trail Blazers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Buffalo Braves (now Los Angeles Clippers) and New Orleans Jazz (now Utah Jazz) joined the franchise during this time. Following the 1976 season, four more franchises were added including San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and New York Nets (now Brooklyn Nets).

The 80s saw a huge surge in popularity for the NBA. In 1979, the three point field goal rule was added. In 1979, Boston Celtics took on rookie Larry Bird, and the Los Angeles Lakers took on Magic Johnson, also a rookie. Little did the two teams and players know that they were to form one of the biggest rivalries in NBA history. In 1980, the LA Lakers won their first NBA championship, beating the Philadelphia 76ers in the finals. The following year, the Celtics, now owned by Red Auerbach, won their 14th NBA title. The LA Lakers went on to win four more championships in the 1980s, with the Celtics winning two more. The two met in the NBA finals three times during the decade. The rivalry between the Cetlics' Larry Bird and Magic Johnson captivated the nation. Magic Johnson said, “When the new schedule would come out each year, I'd grab it and circle the Boston games. To me, it was The Two and the other 80.”

Larry Bird had a similar sentiment, commenting, “The first thing I would do every morning was look at the box scores to see what Magic did. I didn't care about anything else.”

In 1984, Michael Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls, creating an interest in that region. He would win three back to back championships with the Bulls from 1991 through to 1993. Michael Jordan retired in 1993 due to personal reasons, and played in minor league baseball. He surprised the world in 1995 with his announcement to NBA "I’m Back".

Jordan returned to the NBA and won the NBA title with the Chicago Bulls three more times in consecutive years.

The beginning of the 2000s was a dominant period for the Lakers, who had signed Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal. They won three back to back championships from 2000 to 2002.  The San Antonio Spurs, who had won their first NBA title in 1999, won the NBA title the following year.

In the 2000s through to the end of the 2010s, the NBA championship was won by 9 teams, the LA Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and most recently the Milwaukee Bucks.

How to Bet on the NBA

Basketball games are packed full of action and can be thrilling to watch. Fans who watch their teams beat rivals or win important games will know the adrenaline rush that comes after winning those important points or putting in a game dominating performance.

At, we offer the chance to add to the excitement with plenty of NBA bets. The most basic bets are those on which team will win the game, but there are far more to choose from.

With markets such as totals, point spreads and game props, betting on the NBA is truly a unique experience. There are game props such as will a player score during the game or how many rebounds or assists they will manage in a game. Props are difficult bets to win, but can offer huge odds. Moreover, these bets are great fun to place as they add extra excitement to each game.

It is always important to remember that gambling should only be done responsibly. Always keep track of how much money you have bet and do not spend more than you can afford to lose. If you, or someone close to you, may need help then there are organisations such as that can provide more information and assistance.

Related Articles