The NBA Finals are going old school again.
After 28 years of a 2-3-2 Finals format — where the team with the worse record hosted the three games in the middle of the series — the NBA is returning to the 2-2-1-1-1 format used prior to that, as well as the format used in every other playoff round. David Stern confirmed the change at a press conference Wednesday following the NBA Board of Governors meeting where the owners approved the switch.
This was the expected outcome after the league’s Competition Committee unanimously recommended it. Stern said it was unfair for the team with the better record to have to play three games in a row on the road, including a potentially crucial Game 5.
“Easy sell,” Stern said of the change.
It was Stern who ushered in that change back in 1985. Back then the NBA’s popularity was skyrocketing thanks in large part to the Magic/Bird rivalry and suddenly newspapers from across the country sent someone to cover the Finals. The bean counters at those papers complained about the costs of the cross-country flights, plus at the time even the teams flew commercial. The change made some sense then.
Times change. Now the players fly charter and how the media covers the Finals is different (publications can hire freelancers already in a location, far fewer papers pay for their guy to fly with the series). However, the league said there will be an extra day off between Games 6 and 7 — those normally happen on a Tuesday and Thursday — to allow for travel. (The league also could tweak the start date to put the games on different days, but the Finals usually run on a Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday format).
Bottom line is the Finals are back to 2-2-1-1-1. It makes you wonder if last year’s series between San Antonio and Miami, or even the year before with Oklahoma City and Miami, might have been different with this format.
Joakim Noah kept his hands on DeMarcus Cousins after getting called for a foul, and that – and/or the Kings heading toward their third straight loss – agitated Cousins into pushing the Knicks center.
Remember, Cousins and Noah have a history.
Aaron Gordon has backslid this season while playing out of his comfort zone at small forward, but there are still signs he’s progressing from great dunker toward great player – like this crafty inbounds pass off Marcus Morris‘ back.
The NBA refuses to grant continuation when a player senses an intentional foul in the backcourt and launches a heave.
Fortunately, players continue to shoot anyway – which produced this fun Brandon Jennings non-basket.
Matt Barnes infamously fought then-Knicks coach Derek Fisher for dating Barnes’ estranged wife, Gloria Govan. Barnes even bragged that violence is sometimes the answer.
His self-earned reputation won’t earn him the benefit of the doubt over an incident earlier today.
Sacramento Kings star Matt Barnes is wanted by NYPD for questioning after he allegedly choked a woman inside a nightclub early Monday morning — and TMZ Sports got video of him right after the incident.
Law enforcement sources tell us cops got a 911 call to Avenue Nightclub after midnight, reporting a man assaulting 2 women and another man. We’re told things got physical when Barnes allegedly choked one woman during an argument — and when 2 other people tried to intervene … he punched both of them.
In the video, Matt and a teammate — it appears to be DeMarcus Cousins — are talking about the fight. The teammate is clearly heard saying, “Matt hit the s*** out this ni***!”
Barnes was also arrested for domestic violence against Govan in 2011. But she said the incident was blown out of proportion, and the charges were dropped.
The Kings have already played at the Knicks and Nets, so Sacramento doesn’t return to New York this season.