In every NBA season there are what are called “scheduled losses” where some team is going to lose a game thanks to the schedule maker. If you are on your third game in four days and draw a rested Oklahoma City, you are in trouble no matter who you are.
This year there are going to be a lot of scheduled losses. Details of the NBA schedule — set to be released Tuesday at 7 p.m. (Eastern) — are starting to leak out and my legs are getting tired just reading about it.
Like the Lakers opening the season with a back-to-back-to-back — at home to Chicago, at Sacramento then back to Los Angeles to face Utah, reports the Los Angeles Times. Pretty pumped if you’re the Lakers fan who spent crazy cash to get tickets for that Utah game so you can watch the Lakers slog around on tired legs, aren’t you?
Then there is this tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.
One league official says there are seven NBA teams that have two stretches of 5 games in 6 nights this season. Good luck with that.
Who wants to see how the Boston Celtics’ old legs look on the fifth game in six nights? Who wants to pay to see that?
That is one area the league could see backlash — in its effort to get as many games as possible in (read: rake in more revenue) they will have games so compacts as to hurt the quality of play. They are selling a weakened product.
And there are going to be a lot more “scheduled losses” this season where we can expect teams to lose basked on the schedule and not talent.
The real question is will Dwight Howard be in a Magic uniform for the game…
But we now know the fifth and final Christmas Day game will be the Orlando Magic at the Oklahoma City Thunder, the league just confirmed it via its official twitter account.
Again, this game is the kind of big stars and big splash the NBA is going for on its new opening day. Orlando will be a story whatever happens with Dwight Howard, and Kevin Durant is the league’s newest superstar (well, he and Derrick Rose can arm wrestle for the title).
A source told PBT that Magic staffers were emailed and told to prepare for a Dec. 26 or 27 home opener (it did not mention this game). So it will be a quick turnaround for the Magic players, but with the condensed schedule everyone had better get used to that.
The other Christmas Day games are the Celtics at the Knicks, the Heat at the Mavericks, the Bulls at the Lakers and the Clippers at the Warriors.
The schedule for this season is not up yet on NBA.com. It will not be for a few more days.
What is up though are pictures of NBA players and stories about current NBA players — things that were not on the site during the lockout. Images of current players were banned, which gave the site an odd feel. It looks like NBA.com again now, and NBA TV also is not just running classic games anymore. They are building toward a season. Finally.
NBA TV will host an NBA schedule release show next Tuesday (Dec. 6) at 7 p.m. Eastern.
This will be a 66-game schedule that will be tightly condensed, with teams playing a lot of back-to-backs and all teams playing at least one back-to-back-to-back. There will be one break for the All-Star Game in Orlando on Feb. 26.
A lot of details of the schedule will likely leak before then, but next Tuesday will be the big, official unveiling. For example, we already know four of the five Christmas Day games — Boston at New York, Miami at Dallas (so LeBron James gets to watch Dirk Nowitzki get his ring), Chicago at the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State. The fifth game is rumored to involve Oklahoma City as host, but nothing is confirmed yet.
It’s just good to be talking about games and schedules rather than antitrust law. And it’s good to log on to NBA.com and see current players again. As it should be.
The NBA’s season opener has apparently gotten bigger.
What David Stern said would be a triple-header has now grown to be five games, according to the New York Times.
The first game will be on TNT, followed by two on ABC and two on ESPN. The league will announce the details of the five-game opening day on Friday. The first game will begin at noon Eastern, followed by tip-offs at 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m., 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
Expect the first game on TNT to be the Celtics vs. Knicks game from Madison Square Garden. The two ABC games will be a finals rematch of Dallas vs. Miami followed by the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Bulls. All of those were scheduled Christmas Day games prior to the lockout.
The other two games are unknown, but expect the 10:30 p.m. start to be a West Coast game.
One other bet is that you will see big names and matchups as the league will want to make as big a splash as possible. My gut would say the Thunder would be in there somewhere and that the late game will include Blake Griffin and the Clippers. But that’s just a guess.
Here’s the real hook for players with a season that starts Dec. 15 — they lose essentially only one paycheck.
Their salaries in a shortened season are pro-rated by games played, a 72 game season would mean 10 fewer games than normal (a 12 percent loss). That is basically a little more than one missed paycheck total for players over the course of a season. Money is the bait to tempt players to take the offer. (Teams would only lose five home games of revenue.)
For fans, what 72 games would mean is one crowded season — which is not good for quality of play. Teams normally play 15 games a month (give or take a couple), and the season would start six weeks late. So most teams would have played about 22 games by Dec. 15.
To miss only 10 games means one very condensed schedule — basically the pace of the 1999 50-game season (the last time there was a lockout) just spread over another month and a half. John Schuhmann breaks it down a little more at NBA.com.
As we laid it out last week, a 72-game schedule allows every team to play in every arena at least once. Each team would play the 15 teams in the other conference two times and the 14 teams in their own conference three times….
But if the players approve this deal, get ready for a schedule with very little time for practice or recovery from aches and pains.
What we saw in 1999 was guys who got tired and it showed more on the defensive end. Basically, things got sloppy. This is a longer version of that so expect more guys missing games with minor injuries, and expect some stretches of play where coaches will want to burn the tape (if they still used tape).
But that’s the offer on the table. If the players reject the owners’ offer, well, it likely becomes chaos. And all we’ll know is there will be less than 72 games.