The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the premier professional men’s basketball league in North America. Its championship tournament, the NBA Finals, is held annually in June. The league is divided into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. The top eight teams in each Conference advance to the postseason, where they play a best-of-seven series for the right to be named champions of that conference. The winner of each series advances to the NBA Finals.
The NBA began in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America, which merged with the National Basketball League in 1949 and changed its name to the NBA. It has 11 original franchises, and a number of expansion teams have joined the league since then.
In the early years of the league, most NBA teams were located in cities that had NHL or NFL teams. This was because the owners of these leagues needed to make money on days that their team was not playing.
As the NBA continued to expand in the late 1950s and into the 1960s, many of these teams moved to larger cities. This was because NBA teams could attract higher television ratings and attendance in larger cities.
Some of these expansion teams also relocated to cities that had previously hosted NBA teams. The Charlotte Hornets, for example, were originally awarded to the city of New Orleans, but relocated to Oklahoma City in 2005 due to Hurricane Katrina.
The NBA has an annual All-Star Game in which all teams compete against each other. During this time, individual awards are given out to players and coaches. Other attractions include a Rising Stars Challenge, a Skills Challenge and the Three-Point Contest.
During the regular season, each team plays 30 games per year against its Conference opponents. The top 8 teams in each Conference advance to the postseason, and the first-place team from each conference is seeded one spot higher than the second-place team. The postseason is a best-of-seven series, with the top seed facing the eighth-place team in the first round and so on.
There is also a play-in tournament in which teams can enter to determine the seventh and eighth seeds in each conference. These teams are not allowed to participate in the playoffs, but can be a part of the All-Star Game.
Another way to measure NBA performance is by the number of points scored in a game. The average number of points scored in a game is calculated by multiplying the sum of all point totals by the average number of field goal attempts made during a game. The average score for an NBA game is 114.
The number of points scored per game depends on the number of shots taken, and the scoring margins vary slightly from team to team. For example, the Houston Rockets are averaging 91.7 points per game, while the Miami Heat are averaging 89.4.
To ensure that teams are playing hard, the NBA instituted a 24-second shot clock in 1954 to discourage players from stalling and shooting too much. If a team fails to score a field goal or makes no contact with the basket within 24 seconds of receiving the ball, play is stopped and the ball is given to the opponent.