After all the hustle and muscle, the 2012 NBA playoffs are finally here and our very own Chicago Bulls are in an excellent position to win it all. With their defeat of the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday in their last game of the season, the Bulls have claimed the best record in the entire NBA and secured home court advantage throughout the post season. While there’s nothing wrong with jumping on the Bulls bandwagon that’s about to officially take off – why not make this the season that you really understand the Playoffs and the difficult path the Bulls will take in order to win an NBA Title. We’ll break through the clutter during the Playoffs, by re-capping each Bulls playoff game and giving you previews of what to watch for, players to know, where to go and more. The Bulls Bandwagon can be easy and fun, but being an educated and aware Bulls fan is better. The Bulls Playoff party is about to begin so prepare yourself and get ready for one of the most exciting 6 weeks in sports.
What You Need to Know About the NBA Playoffs:
- To understand the playoffs, you need to know the structure of the NBA. The league is broken down geographically into two conferences, the East and West. Within each conference there are 3 divisions: Atlantic, Central, and Southeast. The Bull are in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference.
- 16 teams make the playoffs based on their regular season records (8 from the East and 8 from the West). The teams are then “seeded”, which is sports jargon for the ranking of teams based on their regular season performance, which determines playoff match-ups.
- There are 4 rounds in the playoffs: First Round, Conference Semi-Finals, Conference Finals, and the battle between the East and West in the NBA finals. Each round is the best of seven games, whoever wins four games first advances to the next round.
- The three divisional winners from their designated conference are guaranteed one of the first 4 seeds (strictly based on their season records), the remaining teams are then seeded 5 through 8. This ensures the two teams with the best records in the conference will be the top two seeds. In the first round of the Playoffs, the #1 seed plays the #8 seed, #2 plays #7 and so on. The Bulls are the number #1 seed in the East, so they play the worst seeded team in the conference (who just happen to be the Philadelphia 76ers). Unlike the NHL, once the bracket is set it’s fixed, and the teams are never re-seeded.
- There is a pattern to the first three rounds, 2-2-1-1-1, this determines where the games are played. The team with the home court advantage hosts the first two games, the opponent hosts the next two, and then back and forth. The NBA finals follow a 2-3-2 format, where the team with home court advantage gets the first two games, and the final two games (if it goes to a game 7).