Golden State vs. Cleveland Rivalry

The Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers made NBA history with their third subsequent appearances in the Finals, a feat that had yet to occur in the league. The highly anticipated series had fans rallied on both sides of the court, and shaped one of the greatest rivalries the NBA has ever seen – especially this season, with Golden State’s addition of Kevin Durant.

Recent memory evokes a Golden State Game 5 victory against a group of hopeful Cavs. Considering the California-based squad intentionally crafted a superteam specifically to contain LeBron James in hopes of dethroning the defending champs, it wasn’t much of a surprise that the series did not make it to a Game 7 finale.

Golden State’s ascension, along with a supercharged roster, sets them light-years ahead of other teams. That being said, Cleveland is faced with making some difficult roster decisions in the offseason to prevent a potential Golden State dynasty.

Read on to see how this fierce rivalry all began and what events led to each team’s claim of national basketball supremacy.

NBA Finals Three-Peat

2015 NBA Finals: During the summer of 2014, King James abandoned the surf and sand offered by Miami’s beaches and returned to Cleveland for a heartfelt homecoming. The Ohio ballers were anticipated to be a dominant force in the league, but the Warriors shattered all expectations.

The Dubs took the league by storm with newly hired Steve Kerr at the helm of the team. The Cali-based squad was led by the NBA’s most valuable player, Steph Curry, as well as breakout baller Draymond Green. Needless to say, each “superteam” cruised their way into the Finals.

As history tells, karma doomed King James and his beloved Cavs. The first blow was delivered when Kyrie Irving incurred a broken knee during Game 1. James attempted to carry the undermanned team and even secured two victories for the Cavs, but it wasn’t enough. Chef Curry and the Warriors powered through to down the once-feared Cavaliers in Game 6 to end the franchise’s 40-year championship drought. Andre Iguodala was crowned as the 2015 Finals MVP.

2016 NBA Finals: Revenge was the Cavs’ theme this season and fueled them into another Finals appearance. The Ohio-based squad endured a rough regular season, but a new coach, Tyronn Lue, ignited a new flame at the core the franchise. Curry became a dominant force in the league and launched the Warriors to another level by posting a 73-9 record – a first in the NBA.

The outmatched Cavs were on the verge of defeat for the second year in a row, as the end of Game 4 marked a 3-1 Warriors lead. But one Game 4 incident between Draymond Green and LeBron James changed the trajectory of the entire series.

Green was suspended for Game 5, and the Cavs pounced on this “golden” opportunity. Dominant performances by James, Irving, and Kevin Love ultimately led to the Cleveland players hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy over their heads. And of course, King James was rightfully named the 2016 Finals MVP.

2017 NBA Finals: The Warriors and Cavs meet for a third clash in the 2017 NBA Finals. The first two games of the series resulted in unexpected blowouts, with Golden State crushing the Cavs at home and again at Quicken Loans Arena.

It wasn’t until Game 4 that the Cavs secured their first victory against the NorCal superteam – giving Cleveland fans hope for another 3-1 comeback. Unfortunately, the Cavs fell short. Between KD’s unstoppable form and Chef Curry’s impressive performance, the Curry-Durant tandem came full circle.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were poised with a challenging Game 5 at Oracle Arena. Between the hostile environment and the Dubs energized lineup, the Cavs fell short – handing the Warriors another championship title. Kevin Durant emerged as the Finals MVP and made a point to heap glory on his new partner in crime, Steph Curry.

All They Do Is Win

While the Finals come jam-packed with buzzer-beating moments and heated courtside exchanges, the regular season primes the pump for the drama to unfold later.

The rivaling Cavs and Warriors compete in different conferences and have only faced off against each other 127 times – easing stress levels of diehard fans. (The Cleveland Cavs contend in the Eastern Conference Central Division, while the Warriors play in the Western Conference Pacific Division).

Golden State leads the rivalry with the most regular season wins – posting 68 victories – and NBA titles. Cleveland trails behind their West Coast rivals with a modest 59 regular season wins and one NBA Championship title.

Cleveland’s storied franchise boasts the longest winning streak between the two squads. The Cav’s downed their coastal rivals during 10 contests over a four-season span from 1992 to 1996. Golden State trails Cleveland’s feat by posting a seven-game winning streak during the 2015 season – sparking a newfound disgust between the franchises.

Steady Scoring

One cursory glance at the Warriors and Cavs match history, and two dates explicitly stand out: March 8, 1990, and Jan. 23, 1989.

Golden State takes the cake regarding the most points scored throughout previous matchups. March 8, 1990, marks the game day in which #DubNation conquered Cleveland by a 40-point margin (145-105). The Warriors exerted dominance over their future rivals, and rallied behind Hall of Famer Mitch Richmond and forward Terry Teagle as the all-star shooters ran the scoreboard up – swooshing 25 and 22 points, respectively.

Conversely, the Cavs stood in the spotlight a year prior after crushing their NorCal contenders at home by a 33-point margin – posting a final score of 142-109 at the end of regulation. Cleveland benefited from the play of three-time All-Star Larry Nance (22 points scored) and the “Ohio Flyer” Ron Harper (netting 21 shots).

The Heat is On

Between winning their second title in three seasons and boasting a youthful yet experienced roster, the Warriors are positioned for long-term dominance. If the Cavs wish to retake the throne, they’ll need to elevate their gameplay and make pressing decisions during offseason to nurture a sustainable roster. One thing is for certain – the budding rivalry is in its prime and more epic showdowns between the legendary teams are still to come.

Whether you support #DubNation or look to #DefendTheLand, be sure to take part in the rivalry yourself. Update your wardrobe by heading over to Fanatics.com, where you can browse a wide selection of replica jerseys and ultimate fan gear!

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WATCH: Golden State Warriors Minute-by-Minute Sales Following NBA Finals Win

It’s been quite a ride for the Golden State Warriors. Two years ago they climbed to the pinnacle of the basketball world, bringing an NBA title to the Bay Area and Dub Nation. A year later, they made history, winning 73 regular season games and storming all the way to the NBA Finals once again.

And then, up 3-1, one win away from repeating, the champs slowly began to slip. Game by game, they watched their fortunes change. From the highest summit to the crushing low of watching a 3-1 NBA Finals lead evaporate, the Warriors and their fans had certainly felt a range of emotions.

And then just a few weeks after losing the Finals, the Warriors signed Kevin Durant. The rest, as they say, is history. And while the 2017 Golden State Warriors did not quite match their 73 win season the year before, they are now, once again, the champions of the NBA. And they have achieved some history of their own: a near-perfect postseason. 16-0 and their second title in three years is a pretty good way to exorcise the demons of last year.

And Dub Nation is celebrating. Below, check out a heat map video breakdown of how Warriors sales across Fanatics platforms after the historic win.

Best Places to Watch The NBA Finals

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Watching The Finals

Thinking about going to watch the third match-up between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors? With ticket prices averaging around $2,000 to see an NBA Finals game in Oakland or near $1,250 in Cleveland, you may consider a different venue to watch these games in person.  

Fans in Cleveland and Oakland, fear not! Here are some researched recommendations of the best possible places to take in the games with fellow fans. Just remember to come wearing your team’s colors; you don’t want to be the odd one out!

Cleveland, Home of the Cleveland Cavaliers

Not just “Believeland” anymore, fans of the Cavaliers know their team is capable of winning it all. Here are just a few of the best locations in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Capital to watch the game, if you can’t score a ticket to see it live.

City Tap

You can #DefendTheLand at the City Tap, which is close to the Quicken Loans Arena, affectionately referred to as “The Q” by locals. They have an average rating of 4 out of 5 on TripAdvisor.

Winking Lizard

As one of the top restaurants in Cleveland, the Winking Lizard is a prime location to take in the game and enjoy some food with your friends! There are plenty of options to enjoy, especially if you go multiple times over a four-, five-, six-, or even seven-game series!

Butcher and the Brewer

Nearly 100 reviewers on TripAdvisor gave the Butcher and the Brewer 5 out of 5 stars and mentioned it was a “fantastic meal” before the game. With a ton of meat available, in addition to several different styles of brew, this could be the best choice for those who consider themselves carnivorous Cavs fans.

Oakland, Home of the Golden State Warriors

Mad Oak Bar

Here we go again… let's close this out Warriors!!

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If you’re looking for a place to enjoy the game with other Warriors fans, look no further than the Mad Oak. With over 320 reviews and an average of 4 out of 5 stars on Yelp, it’s a fine establishment to grab a drink with friends. They’re selling tickets to catch the game here – don’t get caught trying to get into the Mad Oak without one!

More meet ups here please. #flightdesignhappyhour #oakland #madoak #🍻

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Blind Tiger

Come join us tomorrow as we watch the Warriors go for 69 wins! #dubs #firstfridays #kono #asianfood #tgfi #happyhour

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For a different type of venue to enjoy seeing the Dubs play the Cavs, check out the Blind Tiger. They have over 400 reviews on Yelp with an average of 4 out of 5 stars, and as one reviewer mentioned, “three large projector screens which makes for … the ultimate location for checking out Warrior games.” Their Asian fusion menu also includes a healthy helping of oysters – not your typical sports bar menu!

Happiest hour. 🐷

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The Double Standard

#titletuesday at #THEDOUBLESTANDARD #OAKLAND #bayarea #soontobenbachampions

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This patio bar, equipped with picnic tables, is a perfect spot to watch the NBA Finals. They have a truly “backyard atmosphere,” which makes for a “grand old time watching the Warriors put the beat down on the Cavs,” according to one reviewer. If you’re looking for a casual, more laid-back location to take in the finals, this may be the spot for you.

The Venues of Champions

Whether you live near your favorite team and plan to watch the NBA Finals from these wonderful restaurants and bars or plan to support your team from a couch hundreds or thousands of miles away, don’t forget to look the part. Get the best officially licensed NBA merchandise and apparel from Fanatics.

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Mapping NBA Teams: Golden State Warriors

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The Golden State Warriors got their start in Philadelphia in 1946 as one of the charter members of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which eventually became the NBA. In 1962, they split from Philly and headed west. They were known as the San Francisco Warriors for nine seasons, but they adopted their current moniker, Golden State Warriors, in 1971.

The franchise has won four national titles (most recently in 2015). These days, they’re working to get back to the postseason and possibly a third-straight-Finals appearance. Some might say this team has been all over the map.

Let’s look at the roster to see which cities and universities helped form today’s Golden State Warriors.

Forming the Warriors

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The Golden State Warriors are well known for a few feats, including last season’s NBA-best season record of 73-9. The most identifiable player is, of course, Stephen Curry, who hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, and went to college at nearby Davidson College, where he helped his college team go on a pretty great Cinderella run in the 2007-2008 NCAA Tournament, reaching the Elite Eight. Klay Thompson, another standout player, attended Washington State University after he left his home in Rancho Santa Margarita, California.

Klay! 👏🏽✌🏽

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There are a few Warriors who hail from the Midwest, notably Andre Iguodala, who came from Springfield, Illinois and played college ball pretty far from home at the University of Arizona. Then there’s Shaun Livingston, from Peoria, Illinois. JaVale McGee also calls Illinois home (Chicago), and Kevon Looney came from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, although he headed to California to play ball for UCLA.

Other players include Zaza Pachulia (Tbilisi, Georgia), Patrick McCaw (Rockville, Maryland, who attended UNLV), and Draymond Green (Saginaw, Michigan, who went to Michigan State University).

Pac-12 Shines in Oakland

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When it comes to the NCAA conferences that contributed to Golden State’s current roster, the Pac-12 stands out as the biggest piece of the pie. Players from the Pac-12 include Klay Thompson (Washington State), Andre Iguodala (Arizona), and Kevon Looney (UCLA). Also represented: the Mountain West Conference, with alumni such as Patrick McCaw (UNLV) and Javale McGee (University of Nevada, Reno).

There are quite a few smaller conference slices of the Golden State pie, including Kevin Durant (Big 12, University of Texas, Austin), Draymond Green (Big Ten, Michigan State), Damian Jones (Southeastern, Vanderbilt), and two-time NBA MVP, Steph Curry (Atlantic 10, Davidson).

🔒

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Today’s Golden State Warriors roster is made up of players from both coasts, the Midwest, the Mountain States, and the South. Have you watched Curry grow from a member of an improbable Elite Eight college team to his stardom in California? Or are you just hoping your Warriors head back to the Finals?

Keep it Golden

Fanatics has all the Golden State gear your heart desires. Before heading out Oracle Arena to take in the action, dress for success in a brand new Durant or Thompson jersey.

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NBA Jersey Sales: First Half of 2016-17

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With another All-Star Weekend in the books and the passing of a trade deadline, the NBA is now in full swing. At this point in the season, teams are making strides toward securing a spot in the first round of the playoffs.

It’s no secret that die-hard basketball fanatics bleed the colors of their hometown team and dedicate their support to the skilled ballers who fill their competitive rosters. Fans all around the world root for their favorite players by purchasing the latest jerseys on the market. Whether watching from the comfort of their living room or attending a live game, one thing is for certain: Fans buy a lot of jerseys.

We’ve compiled sales data, from the first toss-up of the 2016-17 season through the All-Star break, to see which players and teams are topping the charts in jersey sales throughout the entire league.

Continue reading to see how the numbers stack up.

Selling Jerseys and Banking Shots

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Nowadays, it’s expected for top-tier players to stand above the rest when it comes to jersey sales. Players work to create a loyal fan base, not only by proving themselves on the court but also by being an all-star in the real world.

The results are in, and Stephen Curry – point guard for the Golden State Warriors prevails as the top NBA player to have the most jerseys sold since the start of the season. It’s no surprise that the Baby-Faced Assassin dominates the sales charts, as he was the unanimous recipient of back-to-back MVP awards over the past two seasons. Although the sharpshooter couldn’t guide his team to a second straight championship title, Steph maintains the hype around his name as one of the most popular players on social media.

@stephencurry30 beats the buzzer for the @warriors 50th points of the 3rd quarter!

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Kevin Durant and LeBron James are fighting a fierce battle over second and third place, respectively. King James may inch out the Golden State forward over the remainder of the season, however, as KD is now out indefinitely with an injury.

@kingjames puts up 18 points, 15 assists & 13 rebounds to lead the @cavs at home!

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It’s a Team Effort

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With Curry and KD leading the pack, the Golden State Warriors have sold the most jerseys after turning over a new leaf with the start of the season. Although they suffered an unexpected defeat during the 2015-16 NBA Finals, the Warriors and their fan base have kept their heads up high – and their wardrobe up to date. Trailing behind the Cali-based squad are none other than the champs themselves, the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the Cavs might have proven themselves on the courts, their jersey sales tell a different story.

The Windy City rounds out the top three with jersey sales spiking at the beginning of the season, as the Chicago Bulls acquired former Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade.

Balling While They’re Young

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Let’s face it, no matter what team you’re rooting for, nothing is more adorable than a child cheering on their favorite team while sporting a kid-sized jersey.

Steph Curry, once again, dominates sales in this merchandise category. The Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr raves about the MVP and claims that children “gravitate toward Steph.” Kids across the globe can be found rocking No. 30 on their back with the goal of receiving the Golden State guard’s autograph one day.

Sales and Shots Going Through the Roof!

The chances of another player or team topping Curry and Warriors jersey sales are slim, but with the second half of the season underway, anything is possible. Root your team into the playoffs by sporting your hometown team’s jersey, like the loyal fan you are. Head over to Fanatics.com to choose from the latest player jerseys and fan gear the NBA has to offer!

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The NBA All-Star Game 2017 Series Simulation


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2017 NBA All-Star Game is slated to take place on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 8 p.m. in New Orleans. This marks the third time the Big Easy has hosted the best and brightest professional basketball stars. This year’s rosters show plenty of big names, and the 66th installment of the annual exhibition is definitely not short on premium players.

To get a feel for what might happen, we decided to run a best-of-seven series game simulation to see how the teams will do, which conference would come out on top, and how individual players will fare on the court. If you’re into spoilers, continue reading to see how this year’s All-Star Game just might play out.

Building an All-Star Roster

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As with every All-Star matchup, the best players from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference will face off. This year, the Eastern starters include Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jimmy Butler. Representing the West, we have Stephen Curry, James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, and Anthony Davis.

The reserves for each conference are also not lacking for star power, as the East features players such as John Wall, Isaiah Thomas, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker, Paul George, Kevin Love (being replaced by Carmelo Anthony due to injury), and Paul Millsap. The West’s bench will hold standouts like Russell Westbrook, Klay Thompson, Gordon Hayward, DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, Marc Gasol, and Draymond Green.

It’s no surprise to see many selections from the two most recent conference winners – with three players from the Cavs, and the Warriors sending four. These aren’t the only teams and players making waves this season, though: Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo, a 6-foot-11 shooting guard, is excelling in his play for the Milwaukee Bucks, and Russell Westbrook is on his way to averaging a triple-double for the Thunder down in OKC.

A Simulated Series Sweep

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We built each All-Star team and had them play against one another on a neutral court in a simulated series. We distributed players so they would all play an equal amount of time (as close to equal as we could get) and crunched the data to see who came out on top.

The winner? The Western Conference. They not only won the seven-game series but also swept it – winning the first four games and rendering the rest of the series unnecessary. The averages of points scored across the four games were 107.5 for the West and 95.5 for the East.

While this may or may not be a spoiler, it looks like the Western Conference All-Stars may win the game on Sunday.

Standouts on the Court

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There were more than a few standout players from our sim. James Harden was the player of the game for Game 1, followed by DeMarcus Cousins for Game 2, Stephen Curry for Game 3, and Russell Westbrook for Game 4. DeMarcus Cousins, incidentally, was the highest-scoring overall player in the series, landing a 13.8-point average per game (on the Eastern Conference side, Paul George was tops in this department with 11.9 points per game).

Not to be outdone, LeBron grabbed an average of 8.0 rebounds per game, and Russell Westbrook notched an impressive 4.3 assists per game. On the rebounds front, Anthony Davis topped out at 7.5 per game for the Western Conference, and for assists, John Wall checked in as the best in the Eastern Conference with 4.0 per game.

Game On

While we’ll have to watch this year’s All-Star Game play out to see if these predictions come true, we’re likely in for a feisty one, as scores are typically pretty high, and there is much fanfare from the intros to the halftime show and throughout the game itself.

If you’re going to check out this year’s All-Star Game, rest assured that Fanatics has pretty sweet All-Star Game gear, where you can grab your favorite player’s jersey with this year’s unique colors.

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The Evolution of the Golden State Warriors Logo

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The Bay Area of California didn’t always have a basketball team to call its own. The Philadelphia Warriors were founded in 1946. They are one of three teams (including the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks) to survive in the NBA after the BAA merged with it in 1949. In 1962, the team moved to the Bay Area and adopted the San Francisco Warriors as its new name. Their name later changed to the Golden State Warriors prior to the 1971-72 season.  

Their past successes – winning championships in 1947, 1956, and 1975 – made them legendary. But their modern-era highlights – winning the championship in 2014 and getting back to the NBA Finals in 2015 – make them noteworthy as well. To celebrate the Golden State Warriors, let’s look at the evolution of their logo.

Bay Area Bliss

The Golden State Warriors – coached by five-time NBA Finals winner Steve Kerr, who earned these titles as a member of the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs – have enjoyed a resurgence over the past several seasons. The team has been to the playoffs in each of the last four seasons, from 2012-13 to 2015-16. The Warriors also set a league record for most games won in a regular season last year with 73 wins and only nine losses. This beat the previous best record (72-10 by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls) by one additional win.

Much of the team’s recent success has come about thanks to great individual talents. It also doesn’t hurt that the league’s back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry is the team’s point guard on a nightly basis. This summer, during free agency, the team made a major move by convincing superstar Kevin Durant, formerly of the Oklahoma City Thunder, to join its quest for a second NBA title in three years.

California State of Mind

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The Golden State Warriors have used eight different logos since moving to California. They have tended to use a blue and gold (or yellow) scheme throughout their many designs. They’ve even found ways to work in California iconography. The state’s shape, the Bay Area, and the Golden Gate Bridge are significant in the themes throughout.

There have also been outliers, such as in the late ’90s and early ’00s, where the team opted for a more modern logo that showcased less connection to their team’s storied history. Here’s how the Golden State Warriors logo has evolved over the years.

1962–1968: The first logo for the San Francisco Warriors features the use of blue and white. This circle design is like a coin: The face – or in this case, an Indian headdress – rests in the center of the image. Note the “i” in “Warriors” is an arrow in place of the letter.

1969–1970: The Warriors go with a simple “The City” text to accompany a silhouette of the Golden Gate Bridge, which is encapsulated in a blue circle with a yellow fill.

1971: This logo features the first use of “Golden State” on a logo when referring to the Warriors. California is featured with a star placed above the location of California’s Bay Area. No. 14 is placed inside the circle.

1972–1974: This logo drops the “Golden State” from the last logo while keeping California, the No. 14, and the yellow circle with blue trim and text.

1975–1987: The Warriors bring back “Golden State.” The background circle also gains the necessary embellishments to resemble a basketball. No. 14 is removed.

1988–1996: The text style is adjusted, and the basketball image is given better definition. The second primary color is now gold instead of bright yellow.

1997–2009: A blue figure holds a lightning bolt, while references to “Golden State” – in text and symbols – disappear from the logo. A well-defined orange basketball rests behind the figure and the “Warriors” text.

2010 to Present: The current team logo calls the team by their full name, “Golden State Warriors.” It also brings back the blue and gold color scheme and circular format. The silhouette of the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge is the focus of the logo on top of a blue background.

Another Playoff Run

Whether you’re a lifelong fan of the Golden State Warriors or a new fan, thanks to the dynamic play of Curry and Durant, don’t forget Fanatics.com offers officially licensed merchandise and apparel to rep GSW from class to the court and everywhere in between.

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The Beginners Guide to #NBA: Become a Fanatic Overnight: National Basketball Association

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Guide to Becoming an NBA Fanatic

When you hear friends shout the phrases “check,” “brick,” or “from downtown” at the televisions, they’re celebrating the game of basketball. We don’t want you to miss out on enjoying all of the action! Our Guide to Becoming an NBA Fanatic will transform you from rookie to All-Star overnight, and leave you ready to tell others about the difference between a field goal and a 3-point play.

Swish!

Thirty teams across the U.S. (and Canada!) make up the National Basketball Association, better known as the NBA. There are the Eastern and Western conferences, each containing 15 teams; there are three divisions in each conference (six in total). The Atlantic, Central, and Southeast divisions make up the Eastern Conference, and the Southwest, Northwest, and Pacific divisions make up the Western Conference. This format is helpful when coordinating a team’s schedule throughout the 82-game season.

Shot Clock Violation

Each NBA game takes place over 48 minutes, divided into four quarters. After the first two quarters, there is a “halftime” break. At the end of regulation (four quarters), the team with the highest number of points wins the game. If both teams are tied, a five-minute overtime begins. If there is still a tie, the teams continue playing until an overtime period ends with one team ahead of the other in points.

During each game, the clock can stop for many reasons: when a player passes the ball or steps out of bounds, when a foul is committed against another player (rule violation), when a coach or player calls for a timeout, or when a team scores.

Dribbling Down the Court

Each team places five players on the court at a time. While a player may have a specific position based on physical attributes and style of play, there is no requirement for a set number of positions to be present on the floor. For the five positions, each is commonly equated with a corresponding number:

  • Point Guard (PG): 1
  • Shooting Guard (SG): 2
  • Small Forward (SF): 3
  • Power Forward (PF): 4
  • Center (C): 5

If you’re trying to associate the names of players you’ve overheard with these positions, here are a few examples of current key ballers:

  • Point Guard: Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Shooting Guard: James Harden, Houston Rockets; Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
  • Small Forward: Paul George, Indiana Pacers; Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
  • Power Forward: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers; Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
  • Center: Al Horford, Boston Celtics; Dwight Howard, Atlanta Hawks

During the game, any of the team’s five players on the court may be substituted with another player on the bench. Rotating players in and out of the game can be a strategy – with coaches sometimes looking to match up a type of player against another (for instance, a speedy playmaker versus a strong and tall defender), or just to give their player a break after a long stretch.

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Mo’ Buckets

There are two phases of the game – offense and defense. These are very fluid in basketball and are interchangeable within seconds. Each team is able to score either one, two, or three points per shot.

  • 1 point: Free throws, awarded after a player is fouled in the act of shooting
  • 2 points: Any shot made inside the 3-point line
  • 3 points: Distance shots made anywhere from 22 to 23.75 feet away from the basket (they earn an extra point over a regular shot due to the skill and accuracy required)

Must-See Teams and Players

So now you’re ready to hop on the court and start making threes, but hold on – let’s leave that to the professionals. You need to choose a team with exciting players to follow, and we have a few recommendations:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: Fresh off of winning the 2016 NBA Championship, the state of Ohio and the city of Cleveland are back on top. They are led by one of the best players of the past decade, LeBron James, and the supporting cast is worth watching every time they take the court. Here’s the big question: Will they become repeat champions next season?
  • Golden State Warriors:  the Golden State Warriors, minutes shy of winning back-to-back NBA Championships, are one of the most exciting teams to watch. Steph Curry, the league’s MVP for the last two seasons, leads a team of All-Stars. Another All-Star, Kevin Durant, just made the switch to “Splash City” from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: Led by Karl-Anthony Towns, the 2016 Rookie of the Year, and Andrew Wiggins, the 2015 Rookie of the Year, this young, scrappy team looks to take the next step in the 2016-2017 season with a new coach. The Eastern Conference might be in for a major surprise, courtesy of the T-Wolves.

Final Shot

If you’re watching your first full NBA game, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Each team puts five players on the court.
  • They can score one, two, or three points for a shot.
  • Don’t be surprised if the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Golden State Warriors make it back to the NBA Finals next year; they’re loaded with talent and built to compete for it.
  • And get the best officially licensed NBA apparel and merchandise from Fanatics.com to cheer on your team.

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Happiest NBA Teams

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With the NBA salary cap on the rise, it’s hard to imagine many players and teams being unhappy. But which basketball teams and positions are the happiest? We wanted to understand what conditions made for happiest teams. Is it the city they play in? Or maybe they just win more than others?

We used recent player profile pictures from ESPN, analyzed them using Microsoft’s Cognitive Services Emotion API, and ranked them by the teams and positions that appeared the most or least happy. Who earned the title of the happiest team in the NBA? Read on to see just who is living out a baller’s dreams.

Jolly Band of B-Ballers

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Before the 2015-2016 NBA season concluded, we analyzed the player photos and found that the Golden State Warriors were the happiest team in the league.

By all accounts, they should have been – given the number of records they broke (best start to a season, best ever All-Star break record, quickest playoff berth, longest ever home court winning streak, and more). “Splash City” went on a historic run, and it should have become second nature for all of their players to smile at the camera.

Golden State might have been the smiliest team throughout the majority of the season, but the eventual champions, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were happy too. The team, led by LeBron James, weathered a change in head coach and adversity with grins and glee. Maybe at the beginning of next season, fresh off of enjoying their summer as champs, they’ll power past Golden State in happiness. As we know, it wouldn’t be the first time the Cavs upset the Warriors.

Happy Where They Play

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Examining our analysis by positions instead of teams, we saw that small forwards were the happiest bunch of players across the entire league. This position includes athletes like Cleveland’s LeBron James, 2016 NBA Finals MVP; Golden State’s (by way of Oklahoma City) Kevin Durant, 2013-2014 league MVP; and Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul Pierce, 2008 NBA Finals MVP with the Boston Celtics.

On the opposite end of the spectrum were centers. They were possibly the grumpiest bunch. That group that includes the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins, Memphis Grizzlies’ Marc Gasol, and Boston Celtics’ (by way of Atlanta) Al Horford. Perhaps playing the position that’s more about defense and rebounding – and less about sweet shots from a distance – doesn’t give these players the warm and fuzzies. Don’t forget to smile, guys!

Happiness, a State of Mind

The 2015-2016 NBA season gave us plenty of amazing moments, from the Golden State Warriors’ dominating the league to the Cleveland Cavaliers restoring hope to their city with a championship. These two teams were the happiest across the entire league. When it came to positions, no group was as happy as small forwards. They’ll need to share their joy with those playing center next year.

You can be happy too when you’re sporting the best licensed merchandise and apparel for your favorite player or team, so head over to Fanatics.com and get some!

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Warriors, Sharks Championship Fever Extends Beyond the Bay Area

The Bay Area is currently the hottest place to be for sports fans, with the two championship hopefuls – the Golden State Warriors and the San Jose Sharks – within a 50-mile radius of one another. In fact, the Bay Area is now the top-selling market in the country for licensed merchandise for Fanatics, recently surpassing Los Angeles. While there’s been a 75 percent jump in Bay Area merchandise sales on Fanatics.com over the last two weeks, championship fever is spreading well beyond the reaches of Bay and to all edges of the Golden State.

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Golden State has unsurprisingly painted a majority of the state gold, but the Sharks are well represented. San Jose is the top-seller for the Sacramento area along with most of Northern California, while the Warriors are holding down most of the Bay Area.

Warriors fans across the nation are rocking the same Strength in Numbers Playoff T-Shirt as the fans and players at Oracle Arena, making it their top-selling product. Meanwhile, Sharks fans are celebrating their first-ever conference title by making the Western Conference Champions T-Shirt the team’s most popular product.

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The Warriors’ numerous star players like Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have made Warriors jerseys a hot item from men to women and kids. As for the Sharks, their fans are loading up on Custom Sharks Jerseys and Hats while they make a title run.

The Sharks rank second in NHL sales just behind the Pittsburgh Penguins, who hold a 3-1 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final awaiting Thursday’s Game 5. San Jose looks to follow the Warriors’ recent magic, as Golden State dug out of a similar 3-1 deficit to win the Western Conference Finals.

Whether you’re in the Bay Area or anywhere else, Fanatics.com is the #1 stop for Warriors gear, Sharks merchandise and any NBA Finals gear or Stanley Cup apparel you need as your teams vie for championships on the ice and the hard court.