The Phoenix Suns are an American professional basketball team based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Suns compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member of the league's Western Conference Pacific Division, are the only team in their division not based in California; the Suns play their home games at the Talking Stick Resort Arena. The franchise began play in 1968 as an expansion team, their early years were shrouded in mediocrity, but their fortunes changed in the 1970s, after partnering long-term guard Dick Van Arsdale and center Alvan Adams with Paul Westphal, the Suns reached the 1976 NBA Finals, in what is considered to be one of the biggest upsets in NBA history. However, after failing to capture a championship, the Suns would rebuild around Walter Davis for a majority of the 1980s, until the acquisition of Kevin Johnson in 1988. Under Johnson, after trading for perennial NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, combined with the output of Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle, the Suns reached the playoffs for a franchise-record thirteen consecutive appearances and remained a regular title contender throughout the 1990s, reached the 1993 NBA Finals.
However, the team would again fail to win a championship, entered into another period of mediocrity until the early part of the 2000s. In 2004, the Suns reacquired Steve Nash, returned into playoff contention. With Nash, Shawn Marion, Amar'e Stoudemire, under head coach Mike D'Antoni, the Suns became renowned worldwide for their quick, dynamic offense, which led them to tie a franchise record in wins in the 2004–05 season. Two more top two Conference placements followed, but the Suns again failed to attain an NBA championship, were forced into another rebuild; the Suns own the NBA's seventh-best all-time winning percentage, have the second highest winning percentage of any teams to have never won an NBA championship. 10 Hall of Famers have played for Phoenix, while two Suns—Barkley and Nash—have won the NBA Most Valuable Player award while playing for the team. The Suns were one of two franchises to join the NBA at the start of the 1968–69 season, alongside the Milwaukee Bucks from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
They were the first major professional sports franchise in the Phoenix market and in the entire state of Arizona, remained the only one for the better part of 20 years until the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League relocated from St. Louis in 1988; the Suns played its first 24 seasons at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum, located northwest of downtown Phoenix. The franchise was formed by an ownership group led by Karl Eller, owner of a public enterprise, the investor Donald Pitt, Don Diamond, Bhavik Darji, Marvin Meyer, Richard Bloch. Other owners with a minority stake consisted of entertainers, such as Andy Williams, Bobbie Gentry and Ed Ames. There were many critics, including then-NBA commissioner J. Walter Kennedy, who said that Phoenix was "too hot", "too small", "too far away" to be considered a successful NBA market; this was despite the fact that the Phoenix metropolitan area was growing and the Suns would have built-in geographical foes in places like in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle.
After continual prodding by Bloch, in 1968 the NBA Board of Governors granted franchises to Phoenix and Milwaukee on January 22, 1968 with an entry fee of $2 million. The Suns nickname was among 28,000 entries that were formally chosen in a name-the-team contest sponsored by The Arizona Republic, with the winner awarded $1,000 and season tickets for the inaugural season. Suns was preferred over Scorpions, Thunderbirds, Mavericks, Tumbleweeds and Cougars. Stan Fabe, who owned a commercial printing plant in Tucson, designed the team's first iconic logo for a mere $200. However, they were disappointed with the results. In the 1968 NBA Expansion Draft, notable Suns' pickups were future Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich and Dick Van Arsdale. Jerry Colangelo a player scout, came over from the Chicago Bulls, a franchise formed two years earlier, as the Suns' first general manager at the age of 28, along with Johnny "Red" Kerr as head coach. Unlike the first-year success that Colangelo and Kerr had in Chicago, in which the Bulls finished with a first-year expansion record of 33 wins and a playoff berth, Phoenix finished its first year at 16–66, finished 25 games out of the final playoff spot.
Both Goodrich and Van Arsdale were selected to the All-Star Game in their first season with the Suns. Goodrich returned to his former team, the Lakers, after two seasons with the Suns, but Van Arsdale spent the rest of his playing days as a Sun and a one-time head coach for Phoenix; the Suns' last-place finish that season led to a coin flip for the number-one overall pick for the 1969 NBA draft with the expansion-mate Bucks. Milwaukee won the flip, the rights to draft UCLA center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, while Phoenix settled on drafting center Neal Walk from Florida; the 1969–70 season posted better results for the Suns, finishing 39–43, but losing to the eventual Western Conference champion Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. The next two seasons, the Suns finished with 48- and 49-win seasons, but did not qualify for the playoffs in either year, did not reach the playoffs again until 1976; the 1975–76 season proved to be a pivotal year for the Suns as they made several key moves, including the offseason trade of former All-Star guard Charlie Scott to the Boston Celtics in exchange for guard
The Milwaukee Bucks are an American professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The Bucks compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, play at the Fiserv Forum. Former U. S. Senator Herb Kohl was the long-time owner of the team, but on April 16, 2014, a group led by billionaire hedge fund managers Wes Edens and Marc Lasry agreed to purchase a majority interest in the team from Kohl, a sale, approved by the owners of the NBA and its Board of Governors one month on May 16; the team is managed by Jon Horst, the team's former director of basketball operations, who took over for John Hammond in May 2017. The Bucks have won one league title, two conference titles, 14 division titles, they have featured such notable players as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Sidney Moncrief, Oscar Robertson, Bob Dandridge, Bob Lanier, Glenn Robinson, Ray Allen, Sam Cassell, Junior Bridgeman, Michael Redd, Terry Cummings, Vin Baker, Jon McGlocklin, Marques Johnson, Brian Winters.
On January 22, 1968, the NBA awarded a franchise to Milwaukee Professional Sports and Services, Inc. a group headed by Wesley Pavalon and Marvin Fishman. A fan contest was held to name the new team, with over 40,000 fans participating. While the most-voted fan entry was the Robins, named for Wisconsin's state bird, the contest judges went with the second-most popular choice, the Bucks, a reference to Wisconsin's official wild animal, the white-tailed deer. One fan, R. D. Trebilcox, was awarded a new car for his part in reasoning why the Bucks was a good nickname, saying that bucks were "spirited, good jumpers and agile." The Bucks marked a return of the NBA to Milwaukee after 13 years. In October, the Bucks played their first NBA regular-season game against the Chicago Bulls before a Milwaukee Arena crowd of 8,467; as is typical with expansion teams, the Bucks' first season was a struggle. Their first victory came in their sixth game as the Bucks beat the Detroit Pistons 134–118; the Bucks' record that year earned them a coin flip against their expansion cousins, the Phoenix Suns, to see who would get the first pick in the upcoming draft.
It was considered a foregone conclusion that the first pick in the draft would be Lew Alcindor of UCLA. The Bucks won the coin flip, but had to win a bidding war with the upstart American Basketball Association to secure him. Despite the Bucks' stroke of fortune in landing Alcindor, no one expected what happened in 1969–70, they finished with a 56–26 record – a nearly exact reversal of the previous year and good enough for the second-best record in the league, behind the New York Knicks. The 29-game improvement was the best in league history – a record which would stand for 10 years until the Boston Celtics jumped from 29 wins in 1978–79 to 61 in 1979–80; the Bucks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in five games in the Eastern semifinals, only to be dispatched in five by the Knicks in the Eastern finals. Alcindor was a runaway selection for NBA Rookie of the Year; the following season, the Bucks got an unexpected gift when they acquired Oscar Robertson, known as the "Big O", in a trade with the Cincinnati Royals.
Subsequently, in only their third season, the Bucks finished 66–16 – the second-most wins in NBA history at the time, still the most in franchise history. During the regular season, the Bucks recorded, they steamrolled through the playoffs with a dominating 12–2 record, winning the NBA Championship on April 30, 1971, by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets in four games. By winning it all in only their third season, the Bucks became the fastest expansion team in the history of North American sports to win a championship; as of 2018, it remains the only title in team history. The Bucks remained a powerhouse for the first half of the 1970s. In 1972, they recorded their third consecutive 60-win season. During the year, Lew Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Milwaukee beat the Warriors in the playoffs 4–1, but lost the conference finals to Los Angeles 4–2. Injuries resulted in an early 1973 playoff exit, but the Bucks were back in the 1974 NBA Finals against the Boston Celtics. In game six of the series, Abdul-Jabbar made his famous "sky hook" shot to end a classic double-overtime victory for the Bucks.
The Bucks lost the series to the Celtics. As the 1974–1975 season began, Abdul-Jabbar suffered a hand injury and the team got off to a 3–13 start. After his return, other injuries befell Milwaukee, sending them to the bottom of their division with 38 wins and 44 losses; when the season ended, Abdul-Jabbar made the stunning announcement that he no longer wished to play for the Bucks, stating that he needed the big city, requesting a trade to either Los Angeles or New York City. The front office was unable to convince him otherwise and on June 16, 1975, the Bucks pulled a mega-trade by sending Abdul-Jabbar to the Lakers for Elmore Smith, Junior Bridgeman, Brian Winters and David Meyers; the trade triggered a series of events. The Bucks' largest stockholder, cable television executive Jim Fitzgerald, opposed the trade and wanted to sell his stock. Although Fitzgerald was the largest stockholder, he did not own enough stock to control the team. After the deal, the Bucks
The Lakers–Clippers rivalry is a National Basketball Association rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. The two Pacific Division teams both play their home games at Staples Center in Los Angeles, inspiring their matchups to sometimes be called the "Hallway Series"; the Lakers relocated from Minneapolis in 1960, while the Clippers moved from San Diego in 1984. While Los Angeles fans have favored the Lakers, the Clippers have sold out every home game at Staples Center since Feb. 2011 and entered the 2016–17 season with the sixth-longest active sellout streak in the NBA. The Lakers have won 11 of their 16 NBA championships since moving to Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Clippers have made the playoffs only nine times since 1984 and were long considered the laughingstock of the NBA; some contended. The Clippers won the season series against the Lakers in 2012–13. Through the 2017–18 season, the Clippers have won six straight season series; the Lakers hold a 101–52 advantage in the all-time series.
The two teams have never met in the playoffs, but came close in doing so in 2006. The Clippers were played in the Atlantic Division, they moved to San Diego in 1978–79 and were renamed the Clippers and joined the Lakers in the Pacific Division. San Diego won in their first game against the Lakers, winning 124–113 on October 24, 1978. "This is a good way to start off a rivalry", said Clippers owner Irv Levin afterwards. The Clippers moved to Los Angeles in 1984 after six seasons in San Diego; the team made their home in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, about 10 miles from the Lakers then-home at The Forum. After the Clippers move, the teams drew a crowd of 14,991 in their first meeting at the Sports Arena; the fans were evenly divided in their support of the two teams. The Lakers won 108–103, the Associated Press wrote that "a crosstown rivalry was born". Former Lakers guard Norm Nixon in his second year with the Clippers, said "I think it's going to great every time we play... When we get some more, our fans won't have to cover their heads with their hats anymore."
The Clippers marketed themselves as the "People's Team" with ticket prices that were lower than the Lakers. Lakers coach Pat Riley commented, "I felt we've done more the last 20 years to be the'People's Team'" By 1986, the Lakers were still undefeated against the Clippers, AP offered that it was "a crosstown rivalry that hasn't been much of one." Lakers fans would outnumber Clippers fans at the Sports Arena during the teams' matchups for years until 1992, when the Clippers had their first winning season since 1978–79 and their first playoff appearance since 1976. The Lakers, on the other hand, struggled in 1991–92 with Lakers great Magic Johnson's retirement after he tested positive for HIV; the Clippers ended a 27-game Forum losing streak against the Lakers that season, they finished with a better record than the Lakers. They again finished ahead of the Lakers in 1992–93, they won the season series against the Lakers for the first time since moving to Los Angeles. It was their first as a franchise since 1974–75, when they were still the Buffalo Braves.
In 1993-94, both teams missed the playoffs marking the first time that both teams had missed the postseason in the same season, a feat, repeated in the 2004-2005 season, when the Clippers finished 37-45 and the Lakers finished 34-48. From the 1994–95 to 1998–99 seasons, the Clippers played a limited number of home games at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim. In those seasons, the Clippers played the Lakers at the Pond only three times, compiling a record of 1-2 against the Lakers in Anaheim. A deal to move the Clippers to Anaheim on a permanent basis was declined by the team in 1996, leading to the eventual decision to have the Clippers join the Lakers at the Staples Center when it opened in 1999; the Clippers did not finish ahead of the Lakers again until 2004–05. Lakers star Kobe Bryant joined the Clippers that season as a free agent before re-signing with the Lakers; the Clippers in 2005–06 won 47 games and finished two games ahead of the Lakers. During the season, Bryant said that "rivalries are made in the playoffs, not in the regular season".
In the 2006 playoffs, the Lakers built a 3–1 first-round series lead against the Phoenix Suns before losing 4–3, spoiling a potential crosstown matchup with the Clippers in the second round. The Clippers’ second-round series against Phoenix drew higher television ratings in Southern California than the Lakers’ first-round loss to Phoenix, they missed the conference finals by one game. Prior to a matchup in 2008 with the Lakers at 3–0 and the Clippers 0–4, the Los Angeles Times wrote that "even the involved parties have trouble referring to this thing as a rivalry." Lakers coach Phil Jackson said the two teams were "always going to be a rivalry" yet on many occasions, he picked on the Clippers' poor record. Starting with the 2010–11 season, Blake Griffin, with his highlight reel plays, helped draw interest in the Clippers. A turning point in the rivalry occurred before the following season, when the Lakers thought they had acquired Chris Paul in a trade from the New Orleans Hornets, but commissioner David Stern vetoed the trade and Paul was instead traded to the Clippers.
Prior to Paul's arrival, the Clippers had the worst overall winning percentage in the NBA since they moved to Los Angeles, whi
Eastern Conference (NBA)
The Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association is one of two conferences that makes up the league, the other being the Western Conference. Like the Western Conference, the Eastern Conference is made up of 15 teams, organized in three divisions; the current divisional alignment was adopted at the start of the 2004–05 season, when the now Charlotte Hornets began play as the NBA's 30th franchise. This necessitated the move of the New Orleans Pelicans from the Eastern Conference's Central Division to the newly created Southwest Division of the Western Conference. Notes z – Clinched home court advantage for the entire playoffs c – Clinched home court advantage for the conference playoffs y – Clinched division title x – Clinched playoff spot * – Division leader Notes denotes an expansion team. Denotes a team that merged from the American Basketball Association. * denotes a team that merged from the National Basketball league Eastern Conference was named Eastern Division until 1970 21: Boston Celtics 9: Philadelphia 76ers/Syracuse Nationals 8: New York Knicks 6: Chicago Bulls 5: Detroit Pistons 5: Miami Heat 5: Cleveland Cavaliers 4: Washington/Baltimore Bullets 3: Philadelphia Warriors 2: New Jersey Nets 2: Orlando Magic 1: Indiana Pacers 1: Washington Capitols