Throughout nearly 60 seasons of history, the National Basketball Association
(NBA) has had several intense rivalries
. What follows is a summary of just some of the high-profile rivalries in the NBA. Rivalries can be classified into three primary groups; intradivisional, interdivisional, and interconference.
Interconference rivalries comprise games between opponents in different conferences. A team plays each opponent from the other conference in one home game and one away game.
Intradivisional rivalries comprise games between opponents in the same NBA division. Since the 2004–05 NBA season
, there are 30 teams in six divisions of five teams each. Each team plays each division opponent four times during the regular season (twice at home, twice away) for a total of sixteen games out of 82 total regular season games.
Interdivisional rivalries comprise games between opponents in different divisions but within the same conference. A team plays against each team from the other two divisions in its conference either three or four times. The total interdivisional games an NBA team plays is 36. Conference games are often important, as a team's record in common games, as well as its overall record against its conference, are sometimes used as tiebreakers for playoff seeding at the end of the regular season. Also, many regular season opponents have met again in the playoffs, and the result of a regular season game can affect where the playoff game will be played.