The NBA playoffs are just around the corner, and fans are eager to see which teams will be fighting for the championship title. Here’s a look at the teams that are currently in the playoff picture.
The Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of two conferences that makes up the league, the other being the Western Conference. Each conference has three divisions, and each division has five teams. The Eastern Conference has 16 teams total, while the Western Conference has 14 teams.
The Boston Celtics are an American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1946 as one of the league’s original eight teams, the team play their home games at TD Garden, which they share with the National Hockey League (NHL)’s Boston Bruins. The Celtics are one of the most successful teams in NBA history; they have won a record 17 NBA championships, which includes a record eight consecutive championships from 1959 to 1966.
The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member club of the league’s Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. They play their home games at the Scotiabank Arena, which they share with the NBAs Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. The Raptors are the only Canadian NBA team.
Founded in 1995 as part of the NBA’s expansion into Canada, the Raptors founded one of the NBA’s six expansion teams, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies. Since their establishment, the Raptors have been consistent playoff contenders; they have qualified for 11 playoffs in 19 seasons since 1999–2000, including seven consecutive appearances from 2014 to 2020. However, they have never advanced beyond the second round of the playoffs during that time period. They reached the Eastern Conference Finals in 2019 for their deepest playoff run since 2016, but were defeated by eventual champions Kawhi Leonard and his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers, in six games.
As of April 11th, the Philadelphia 76ers are in the playoffs for the NBA. They are currently in 5th place for the Eastern Conference.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are an American professional basketball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The team began play as an expansion team in 1970, along with the Portland Trail Blazers and Buffalo Braves. Home games were first held at Cleveland Arena from 1970 to 1974, followed by the Richfield Coliseum from 1974 to 1994. Since 1994, the Cavs have played their home games at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in downtown Cleveland.
There are 8 teams in the Western Conference playoffs. These teams are the Los Angeles Lakers, the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets, the Utah Jazz, the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Houston Rockets, the Dallas Mavericks, and the Memphis Grizzlies.
With a record of 53-29, the Houston Rockets are the fourth seed in the Western Conference and will face the fifth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs. The Rockets are led by MVP candidate James Harden, who is averaging 29.1 points, 11.2 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game. Houston’s other key players include point guard Chris Paul, shooting guard Eric Gordon and power forward Clint Capela. The Rockets finished the regular season strong, winning eight of their last 10 games.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors are a professional basketball team based in Oakland, California. The Warriors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Pacific Division. The Warriors have reached nine NBA Finals, winning five NBA championships in 1947, 1956, 1975, 2015, and 2017.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers are a professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. The Trail Blazers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team played its home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to Moda Center in 1995. The franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, and has enjoyed a strong following: from 1977 through 1995, the Blazers sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassed by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians and NBA’s Miami Heat. The team has advanced to the NBA Finals three times, winning the NBA championship once in 1977.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder are a professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The Thunder compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league’s Western Conference Northwest Division. The team plays its home games at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
The Thunder were formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1967–68 season. The SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 after a disputes with their former owner and ultimately became the Thunder.