The NBA is the premier professional basketball league in the United States and Canada. Its thirty teams play in two conferences of three divisions (Atlantic, Central and Southeast) based on their geographical locations. Its regular season begins in October and ends with the playoffs in April. The top eight teams in each conference advance to the postseason. The best-of-seven playoffs feature a 2-2-1-1-1 format, with each team playing four games against the two teams that finished behind them in their conference.
The first time restriction was introduced in 1933, when players were required to advance the ball over the center line within ten seconds of gaining possession. It remained in place until 2000, when FIBA reduced it to eight seconds, the NBA following suit in 2001.
After the merger of the two leagues in 1949, the total number of franchises increased to 17 but attendance and interest in the game began to decline. This led to a contraction of the NBA, with many of its smaller-city franchises relocated to larger cities and others folding their operations.
Since the 1980s, the NBA has become an international entertainment company and has embraced new innovations, such as salary caps, television broadcast rights and expanded All-Star Game festivities. These changes have helped the NBA attract more fans and increased its national appeal.
In February, the NBA All-Star Game takes place to celebrate its players and their achievements throughout the season. The fans vote throughout the United States and Canada for the captains of their favorite teams, then coaches select the rest of the allstar starters.
Training camps begin in late September, after which teams prepare for the regular season by evaluating their talent and scouting the competition. They also determine the 12-man active roster and a 3-man inactive list for the start of the season.
The NBA also hosts a series of exhibition games during the preseason. Some of these are in non-NBA cities, while others take place at home arenas or in the U.S. and abroad.
Some of these games include exhibition matches for the NBA G League, a developmental league for players with less than two years of experience. The league is known for its aggressive marketing of superstar players, such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
For the first time in 2022, the NBA will play a full-time play-in tournament at the end of the regular season to determine the two teams that will advance into the playoffs. This tournament increases the number of teams that will compete in the postseason, and it is expected to increase the amount of money that is spent on basketball.
In the past, the playoffs consisted of the two best-of-three quarterfinals series and the finals series. However, in 2022, the playoffs were expanded to a seven-game series.
The playoffs have a two-day first round, followed by a second day of games and a third day for the semi-finals. In 2022, the semi-finals are scheduled to be played on May 1-2.