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Networks in NBA Rivalries

Brian Chen (bc596)

Article: The 10 Best Team Rivalries in NBA History

By Brett Pollakoff


The National Basketball Association is the largest and most entertaining basketball organization in the world. The National Basketball Association has a long history, with the first NBA teams debuting in 1946. Over the years, many teams have joined the organization, left the organization, and/or changed names. In the process of battling it out on the court, some of these teams have developed intense rivalries and a mutual hatred for one another. These NBA team rivalries have created a new sense of entertainment for NBA viewer as there is nothing more entertaining than watching two teams with a long history of hatred battle it out. These rivalries include

  1. Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics
  2. Boston Celtics vs. Detroit Pistons
  3. Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls
  4. Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks
  5. Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks
  6. New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat
  7. Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  8. Los Angeles Lakers vs. San Antonio Spurs
  9. Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers
  10. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics

These rivalries can help us form a network diagram and from this network diagram we can use logical reasoning to force assumptions or to reinforce already known facts about the NBA. Because these are all rivalries, the links will be noted with a “-” to signify a negative relationship.

The network created using the article reinforces and backs up a lot of what we already know about the NBA. Let’s start with the isolated part of the network, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers. These teams are isolated from the rest of the rivalry network as they are a very new rivalry, they have just met in the NBA finals for the past three years from 2014 to 2017. That is why there is no bridge between these two teams to the rest of the network. It also makes sense that most of the teams in close proximity have rivalries due to their locations. The teams like Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, New York are all in the East and therefore does have rivalries. Also, teams like Los Angeles, New York, and Boston have the most rivalries (3 links each) as they are the oldest teams in the organization. Teams like Los Angeles and New York are also major cities and are the most watched and dramatic NBA teams, so it would also make sense that they have the most rivalries.


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