Can you match these strange and amazing facts to these 2017 NBA playoff teams?

John Miller

Which NBA team recently broke its city's championship "curse"?

Until 2016, Cleveland was cursed by a 52-year championship drought (spanning all pro sports). Led by LeBron James, the team beat Golden State to finally bring home a title.

Which 2017 playoff team has missed the postseason just four times since 1976?

Few teams can boast of the kind of success that San Antonio has earned. Since joining the NBA in 1976, the Spurs have missed the playoffs just four times.

This 2017 playoff team lost in the second round, leaving it better known for its heavily-bearded star player than for winning titles:

The Houston Rockets were roundly crushed by San Antonio. NBA pundits placed much of the blame on Rockets star James Harden, whose sweet shot apparently disappeared behind his epic facial hair.

Which 2017 playoff team started its history in New Orleans?

The Utah Jazz started their NBA tenure in 1974 in New Orleans. The team moved to Salt Lake City in 1979. They were nearly called the Cajuns instead of the Jazz…and somehow, we don't see the Cajuns really suiting Utah.

Golden State star Kevin Durant always wears jersey No. 35. Why?

Durant's first basketball coach (and mentor) was a man named Charles Craig, who was murdered in 2005. Craig was just 35 when he was killed, and Durant's number honors him.

Of the following 2017 playoff teams, which one has previously won an NBA championship?

Of these three teams, only Milwaukee has won a league title … and that was all the way back in 1971, when the Bucks swept the Baltimore Bullets.

Which of the postseason contenders features an NBA MVP who doesn’t have a salary in the top 50?

Golden State's Steph Curry is a two-time league MVP … yet his salary doesn't rank as one of the NBA's top 50. He's currently "only" making about $12 million per season.

Which team has lost the most consecutive playoff series?

The Bucks have made the playoffs eight times since 2001. They haven't won any of those series … meaning they have the longest postseason losing streak of any playoff team.

This club featured just the second player in NBA history to average a triple-double (double-digit numbers for any three stats per game) ... but then lost in the first round of the 2017 playoffs. Which team was it?

Oklahoma City's fiery Russell Westbrook is just the second player ever to average a triple-double for a whole season. But one player does not a team make. The Thunder lost in Round 1.

Which current playoff team was once devastated by an infamous event called "The Decision"?

In 2010, LeBron called a press conference to announce "The Decision," his showy (and much derided) public move to the Miami Heat. Cavaliers fans everywhere burned their James jerseys … until, of course, he returned to Cleveland a few years later.

Which playoff team often benefits from a Twitter hashtag called #LanceEffect?

Part savvy public relations move, part motivational gimmick, the Pacers' Lance Stephenson has a famous (or infamous) Twitter account with the hashtag #LanceEffect. Sometimes it seems to foretell a Pacers win, but it didn’t help his team against the Cavaliers.

Of the 2017 playoff teams, which owns the longest playoff appearance streak?

The San Antonio Spurs are renowned for their consistency. Since 1998 -- for 20 straight seasons -- the Spurs have made the NBA playoffs. San Antonio has five NBA titles to its credit.

Which playoff team once had a world-famous player by the nickname of "The Hick from French Lick"?

Larry Bird, of the Celtics, was known for his sweet shooting abilities … and his humble upbringing. He was often called "The Hick from French Lick" and typically the moniker was uttered as a grudging sign of respect.

Which of the following 2017 postseason qualifiers has never won an NBA title?

The Jazz have had some great teams in their history, especially in the 90s, but those squads always ran into the Bulls buzzsaw. Two Finals in a row, Michael Jordan schooled the Jazz's Karl Malone and John Stockton.

Which playoff team's nickname has origins in the racing industry?

The Indiana Pacers nickname is a blend of two sources. Once has to do with the pace car used for the running of the Indianapolis 500. The second is tied to harness racing, a type of horse racing.

Which of the 2017 playoff teams has a 58-season NBA title drought, the second-longest drought in the league?

The Atlanta Hawks are the unlucky owners of a 58-season title drought. At 65 seasons, the Sacramento Kings currently have the longest and most miserable title drought.

Which team has the shortest player ever to score more than 50 points in the playoffs?

If Manute Bol was a mountain, Boston's Isaiah Thomas is a molehill. He's just 5 feet, 9 inches tall, nevertheless, he scored 53 points during a Celtics triumph over the Wizards.

What do Golden State players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson have in common?

Curry and Thompson are the only NBA teammates who had fathers who played in the NBA. Mychal Thompson won two titles with the Lakers. Dell Curry was a first-round pick in the '86 draft.

Which playoff team features a center who legally changed his name to just one word?

Houston's Maybyner Rodney Hilário is now known as simply Nene. His playoff shooting percentage was a very high 70 percent until he went down with an injury against the Spurs.

Which team WON its division in the regular season but was a heavy favorite to LOSE the 2017 conference finals series?

The Celtics seized the division title and they fought their way to the Eastern Conference finals. But no expert (or Las Vegas casino) gave Boston any real chance to beat LeBron James and the Cavaliers.

Which 2017 playoff team has the highest winning percentage in league history (among active teams)?

Spurs fans are spoiled rotten. Not only does San Antonio almost always make the playoffs, the team also wins more than any other active club.

In 2017, Cleveland and Golden State became the first two teams ever to do what?

Cleveland and Golden State made history at the same time. They were the first two teams in NBA history to ever win their first eight playoff games.

The two tallest players in NBA history played for which playoff team?

Gheorghe Muresan and Manute Bol -- who at 7 feet, 7 inches tall scraped the sky -- both played for the Washington Wizards. Bol was drafted by Washington in 1985. Muresan played for both Washington and New Jersey.

Which playoff team has a so-called "Death Lineup"?

The "Death Lineup" is the ultra-effective lineup that Golden State uses to close out games. It originally included Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green … but now also has All-Star Kevin Durant in the mix, too.

Chicago uses a big bull for its team logo. What's on the tips of the bull's horns?

The tips of the bull's horns are red, which symbolizes blood. During Michael Jordan's reign, the Bulls drew their opponents' blood on nearly a nightly basis.

James Harden once told sports reporter Hannah Storm it would take a $10 million payoff for him to shave his facial hair. For which team does he play?

It's the Rockets' James Harden again. His beard is so interwoven with his legend (and marketing) that he can't afford to shave it. That's why he told Hannah Storm it would take $10 million for him to shave it.

Which San Antonio player is the first ever to average at least 30 points per game in the playoffs?

Kawhi Leonard first earned a name for his defensive tenacity. But he's become a scoring threat, too, and before he aggravated an injury in the 2017 playoffs, he was the first Spurs player ever to average at least 30 points per game in the postseason.

For decades, this playoff team played on rough, uneven parquet floor. When the team moved to brand-new Fleet Center in 1995, instead of a new floor, it transported the warped old warped planks to its new digs. Which team was it?

The old, shabby floor was part of the Celtics legend. So the team had it installed in the brand-new arena. The floor was finally replaced in 1999.

Which 2017 playoff qualifier has the SECOND-longest streak of playoff appearances?

The Atlanta Hawks have been extremely consistent as of late, as they've made it to 10 consecutive playoff appearances. They can't seem to capitalize, though -- they've mostly bowed out in the first round.

During the second round of the playoffs, Golden State swept Utah in four games. For how many minutes did the Jazz lead those four games?

The 2017 playoffs were mostly a lopsided affair in both conferences, but the Warriors-Jazz series was particularly unexciting. The Jazz lead for less than 12 minutes in the span of four games.

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About This Quiz

Each spring the NBA season reaches peak excitement with the playoffs. How much do you know about the history of teams and players that made the 2017 NBA postseason?

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