It seemed like the NBA regular season just began yesterday, but it's now time to turn the page and look forward to the second season, the 2013 NBA Playoffs. With the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah Jazz still battling for the final spot in the Western Conference, today we will preview the LeBron James Conference... *cough*... I mean the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Contenders: Miami Heat
Like I said in the title of this post, and eluded to in the previous paragraph, the NBA's Eastern Conference has been dominated by LeBron James and the defending champion Miami Heat. The Heat finished atop the standings by a dominating 12 games, finishing 65-16, which included a 27-game winning streak. LeBron James has been by far the best basketball player on the planet and will undoubtedly win his fourth NBA Most Valuable Player Award. It's hard to imagine this Heat team, which many feel is better than last year's championship team, not going back to the NBA Finals to defend their crown.
Challengers: New York Knicks, Boston Celtics
I almost put the Knicks in the contender category due to their recent play, but I don't see how they could possibly beat the Heat. For even a glimmer of a shot, it would take a monster effort from Carmelo Anthony, who will be matched up with LeBron. The X-factor for the Knicks is their three-point shooting; during the regular season, the Knicks took and made more three pointers than any other team in the league. When they catch fire they are tough to beat.
Following a fight between New York Knicks player Carmelo Anthony and Celtics player Kevin Garnett, Knicks owner James Dolan ordered two technicians to hold microphones during the team's Madison Square Garden games — just to capture everything Anthony said.
If it sounds weird, that's probably because it is, and the photo of one of the technicians actually holding up the "high-tech, sensitive microphones" is even weirder. Not only were the mics used during Friday's game against the Chicago Bulls, but also Sunday's game against the Hornets.
The mics came after Anthony was suspended from last Thursday's game against the Pacers because he'd confronted Garnett several times after they had exchanged heated words on the court during their game Jan. 7. Anthony said Garnett had "spewed a verbal insult at Anthony," according to ESPN; some rumors said that insult involved Anthony’s wife and Honey Nut Cheerios. (What?!)
Although the two have allegedly made up since then, that didn't stop Dolan from feeling the need to listen in on the conversations taking place on the basketball court.
And you thought you were having a rough week.
The New York Knicks have been mired in mediocrity (or just sheer awfulness) for more than a decade now, never finishing higher than 6th in the Eastern Conference. This season, however, the Knicks have been the surprise team of the NBA, running out to the best record in the conference and second best in the entire league, trailing only the Oklahoma City Thunder. And while Knicks tickets are always popular, when the team is good, that popularity grows to another level.
So far for the 2012-13 season, orders of New York Knicks tickets have accounted for nearly 30% of all NBA orders on TicketNetwork.com, nearly double that of the Boston Celtics, the next closest team. In fact, that is nearly the same percentage of orders as the 25 lowest-selling teams combined.
Knicks games have also always been an attraction for tourists visiting New York City, and orders for tickets have come in from 28 different countries including Australia, Belgium and the Netherlands. Most international customers came from France, which has actually had more orders than U.S. so far this season.
While the Knicks popularity is evident, they are not the only team that are dominating sales on our site. The top 5 teams in terms of orders (Knicks, Celtics, Miami Heat, Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers) account for more than two-thirds of all NBA sales.
The newest addition to the group of top selling teams is the Nets, who moved from New Jersey to Brooklyn this past off-season and immediately began to establish one of the most popular brands in the NBA. They now play at the brand-new Barclays Center, which has already hosted two hard-fought games between the Nets and their New York rivals. However, while the Nets may be able to catch the Knicks on the court, it will still be awhile before they catch them in ticket sales.
You may not have noticed, but the NBA season is just a few weeks away from getting started. It feels like yesterday that I had to cringe watching LeBron James lift up the Larry O'Brien Trophy after leading the Miami Heat to the NBA title. Luckily for me (a Celtics fan) and basketball fans everywhere, the start of a new season means a fresh start for your team and another shot at the championship.
The preseason has just started getting underway this past week, but what people are truly waiting for is the beginning of the regular season and to find out when their favorite team plays in its home opener. There are a lot of great openers scheduled, so I decided to take a look at the Top 5 selling home openers on TicketNetwork.com:
#1 - New York Knicks vs. Miami Heat
November 2 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
No surprise here. The biggest basketball market hosting the NBA's defending world champions. It doesn't get much bigger than that. Last year, the Heat visited Madison Square Garden three times including the playoffs, winning two of those games.
The New York Knicks have maybe the most passionate fan base in the NBA while also playing in the world's most famous arena, Madison Square Garden. But what is a little more surprising is that the Knicks games are more of a tourist attraction for basketball fans from around the globe than you would think.
Recently, I noticed that many of the orders for Knicks tickets were coming from countries outside of the U.S., so I decided to see how many there were. What I found was pretty striking. Of all the tickets purchased on TicketNetwork.com for Knicks games at MSG, 66% of them were purchased by international customers. That means that two of every three orders placed are from countries other than the U.S.
What makes that number even more startling is when you compare it to the rest of the NBA. Only 7% of sales for tickets from the other 31 NBA franchises are from other countries, and that includes the Toronto Raptors, a team located in another country!
NBA fans from 24 different countries have purchased Knicks tickets this season, with France having the most sales, accounting for 28% of all tickets sold. People have traveled from as close as Canada and Mexico and as far as China and Russia. The chart on the right has a full breakdown of all the countries' sales.
The more I looked into this topic, the more random facts I kept finding.