Step 1: The first clue in A1 requires you to know all of the Shaquille O’Neal’s teams. They are listed below (teams already used are crossed out):
- Phoenix Suns
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Boston Celtics
- Miami Heat
- Cleveland Cavaliers
The second clue in A1 says that the Magics in-state rival is in a corner. Their in-state are the Heat, so clue A1 implies that the Miami Heat are F1.
- Toronto Raptors (2019)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (2016)
When combining clue A1 (Shaq played for the Cavaliers) with clue F1 it implies that the Cleveland Cavaliers are E1.
Step 3: Clue E1 explains that the California teams are all in row B. The California teams are:
- Sacramento Kings
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Golden State Warriors
- Los Angeles Clippers
Clue E1 (California teams in row B) combined with clue A1 (Shaq’s teams) indicates that the Los Angeles Lakers are B1.
Step 6: The first clue in B1’s says Michael Jordan’s teams are in the corners. He played for the Bulls and the Wizards in the NBA. That clue along with clue B3 (Bulls are touching a California team) and clue E1 (California teams in row B) makes the Chicago Bulls in A5. Therefore, the Washington Wizards are F5.
- Dallas Mavericks
- San Antonio Spurs
- Houston Rockets
Clue F2 says that Larry Bird’s teams, as a coach and a player are side by side with each other. Larry Bird played for the Celtics and coached the Pacers. Since the Celtics are one of Shaq’s teams they must be either in C1 or D1. However, since clue A5 says all Texas teams must be in row D, there is not enough room for both the Celtics and the Pacers in row D (4 open spots and 3 are reserved for the Texas teams, 4-3=1). Thus, the Boston Celtics are C1 and the Indiana Pacers are C2. This eliminates all but one of Shaq’s teams, so the last team must go in D1 (Clue A1). The Phoenix Suns are in D1.
Step 8: Clue C1 indicates the Philadelphia 76ers are E4.
Step 12: Clue B4 (mile high and above Kings) indicates the Denver Nuggets are in A4.
Step 15: Clue F4 (older New York resident is above the newer one) and clue C2 (New York teams in column 2) implies the New York Knicks are A2 while the Brooklyn Nets are E2. Clue E5 (an insect is in row A) suggests that the Hornets are in row A, and with only one spot left in row A the Charlotte Hornets reside in A3.
Houston Rockets Charlotte Hornets
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Atlanta Hawks
In order for clue D5 (row C is in alphabetical order) to hold the New Orleans Pelicans must be in C3 and therefore the Atlanta Hawks are E3. Now, the two remaining teams are the Thunder and the Pistons. Again, for clue D5 to hold the Detroit Pistons are C4 and the Oklahoma City Thunder are C5.
HOORAY! The puzzle is complete.