Continuing our series of themed posts, the NBA blogs of SB Nation this week are discussing their rivals. This has given our bloggers the opportunity not only to reflect on who the true rivals are for their respective teams, but also to examine the nature of rivalry.
It's probably not surprising that the Lakers and Celtics show up as the number one rival for a slew of teams (especially the Lakers) -- but of course the feeling is not always mutual. Which begs the question: can a rivalry only go in one direction?
To the team and the fans of that team, if a specific opponent feels like a rival, then it's a rival, whether that opponent returns the feeling or not. But obviously the best rivalries -- the Lakers-Celtics gold standard rivalries -- go both directions.
In case you missed any of them, be sure to check out the earlier installments in our series of themed posts:
To illustrate the inordinate influence of the Lakers on the NBA landscape, we'll begin the list with all the teams that view the Lakers as their rival. Of course, only one of them is viewed the same.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Los Angeles Clippers Rival? Lakers -- Clips Nation
When it comes to rivalries, for the Clippers there is really only one team: sharing a city and an arena with the Lakers makes them a geographic rival, and for the time being at least it looks like a good competitive rivalry as well.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Phoenix Suns Rival? Lakers -- Bright Side Of The Sun
The Suns just love to Beat LA -- and they don't mean the Clippers.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Sacramento Kings Rival? Lakers -- Sactown Royalty
Exploring why the rivalry between the Kings and the Lakers is so strong.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Denver Nuggets rival? Lakers (or Jazz or Spurs) -- Denver Stiffs
The big question here is: do the Nuggets have a true rival?
NBA Rivalry Day -- Boston Celtics Rival? Lakers (or maybe Heat) -- CelticsBlog
Imagine an awful world where you knew for certain that the Celtics would have to either lose in the ECF to the Heat (who would go on to beat the Lakers) or the Celtics would lose in the Finals to the Lakers.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Dallas Mavericks Rival? Spurs -- Mavs Moneyball
The Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs are bitter rivals, but they are because they're both good and they bring out the best competition in each other. Mavs-Spurs is one of the few true rivalries in the NBA, combining both geography and competitive zeal. Of course, Mavs fans view the Lakers as rivals too.
NBA Rivalry Day -- San Antonio Spurs Rival? Mavericks -- Pounding The Rock
While San Antonio has had its run-ins with several NBA franchises, the Spurs' biggest rival is right down I-35 in Dallas. How nice. Two NBA teams other than Lakers-Celtics that actually view each other as rivals.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Los Angeles Lakers Rival? Celtics -- Silver Screen and Roll
Lots of teams consider the Lakers their chief rival, but only Boston merits those feelings in return.
NBA Rivalry Day -- New York Knicks Rival? Celtics (or maybe Heat) -- Posting and Toasting
Celtics? Nets? Bulls? Heat? Pacers? Rockets? The Knicks have some choices. One presumes a Nets rivalry might flourish now with just the East River separating the teams.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Miami Heat Rival? Bulls, Knicks or Celtics, pick one -- Hot Hot Hoops
The Miami Heat, despite their relatively short history compared to some other franchises, has seen its share of memorable showdowns.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Orlando Magic Rival? Heat (maybe?) -- Orlando Pinstriped Post
The question of who's the Orlando Magic's biggest rival isn't easily answered.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Chicago Bulls Rival? Heat -- Blog a Bull
Blog-A-Bull asked the readers who the Bulls' biggest rivals were. The answer was unsurprisingly the Heat, but Rajon Rondo and the Celtics deserve plenty of hate as well.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Washington Wizards' Rival In 5 Years? -- Bullets Forever
The Washington Wizards don't have a rival right now, but they probably will in five years when they are (hopefully) a good team. Who could that rival be?
NBA Rivalry Day -- Atlanta Hawks Rival? Magic -- Peachtree Hoops
Peachtree Hoops chimes in on the SB Nation Summer Series question of who do we think is the Atlanta Hawks' biggest rival -- and it may not be who you would expect.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Philadelpha 76ers Rival? Pistons -- Liberty Ballers
In which Michael Levin extols a hatred 10 years in the making upon a franchise.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Indiana Pacers Rival? So Many Choices -- Indy Cornrows
The Indiana Pacers have developed a few rivals over the years thanks to intense battles in the playoffs, and with the team's recent success, they may add to that list of rivals soon.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Cleveland Cavaliers Rival? Pistons or Wizards -- Fear The Sword
The Cavaliers have a chance to rekindle their rivalries with the Wizards and Pistons as each team rebuilds toward the playoffs.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Detroit Pistons Rival? Maybe Joe Dumars -- Detroit Bad Boys
It's hard to pick a rival for the Detroit Pistons these days seeing as how bad they are, but they've had some heated rivals in the past, so maybe those teams are still considered such today.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Milwaukee Bucks Rival? Bulls? Maybe -- Brew Hoop
The Bucks don't have a clear rival despite the geography -- this isn't Packers-Bears.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Toronto Raptors Rival? None of the above -- Raptors HQ
RaptorsHQ lists their top picks for the Toronto Raptors' greatest all-time NBA rivals...
NBA Rivalry Day -- Charlotte Bobcats Rival? Bobcats -- Rufus on Fire
Who is the Bobcats' biggest rival? They used to have a good thing going against the Lakers, but that kind of fell apart. Maybe it's someone in their division? Or maybe someone else? Or is it themselves?
NBA Rivalry Day -- Memphis Grizzlies Rival? Thunder -- Straight Outta Vancouver
An exploration of the Grizzlies' young and blossoming rivalry with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Oklahoma City Thunder Rival? Mavericks -- Welcome to Loud City
In Oklahoma, we disagree on a lot of things. But the one thing that all Oklahomans agree on is that they hate Texas. And no city is a bigger symbol of Texas than Big D itself.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Golden State Warriors -- TBD -- Golden State Of Mind
The Kings have geography, and the Lakers are the Lakers, but the Warriors' biggest rival may be themselves.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Portland Trail Blazers Rival? SuperSonics -- Blazer's Edge
In a discussion of the Portland Trail Blazers' biggest division rivalries the SuperSonics are leading in the poll by a wide margin.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Minnesota Timberwolves Rival? Trail Blazers -- Canis Hoopus
Canis Hoopus sees a rivalry brewing with the Blazers, especially since they keep taking their players.
NBA Rivalry Day -- Houston Rockets Rival? Jazz -- The Dream Shake
The Dream Shake looks at the long time competitive rivalry between the Rockets and the Jazz.