Details have begun to emerge regarding the 2011-2012 NBA season, and we won’t complain because we’re getting a season and at this point they could play them in zero gravity in a tar pit and we’d be happy. But just so you know, you need to prepare yourself for a pretty ugly season overall. Details courtesy of Howard Beck of the New York Times:
- Season starts December 25th, ends April 26th. That’s about two weeks later than usual, and it means there will only be one day off from the end of the regular season before the playoffs begin on Saturday, April 28th, presumably. That’s not a huge bump in games, 3.9 games up from 3.5 per week, according to Beck.
- What’s the only thing worse than a SEGABABA (second game of a back to back) (via Pounding The Rock)? A THIRGABABA. Third game of a back-to-back-to-back. Each team will have at least one, and up to three back-to-back-to-back sets, three games in three nights. Surprisingly, Zach Lowe of SI.com did research on this from 99 and found that teams didn’t really lose significantly more often on those games. It’ll be interesting to see the effect it has on subsequent games, however, as well as total fatigue.
- Teams are looking at 48 games in conference, 18 games out of conference. So teams will not visit all 29 other cities during the season. Whoever doesn’t get the Lakers will miss out on a solid night of revenue. Same for whoever misses out on Miami.
- Maybe most gross? Each playoff team will have a back-to-back in the second round. that will speed up the playoffs which people tend to complain about, but the quality of games also suffer.
So you’ve got players out of shape coming into a shortened schedule, playing three times in three nights and then back at it on limited rest.
Hope you guys like rebounds.
It’s really quaint, actually. The NBA is going to go ahead and release the schedule for the 2011-2012 season this week, acting like it intends to have a season while its owners openly push for missing the whole year just to bury the players completely. It’s kind of cruel in retrospect, though, to tease the fans with all the basketball they’re going to be missing while this bull-headed lockout continues.
But hey, if we do get a season by Christmas, we get a good one for the big Holiday game.
The Miami Herald reports that one Christmas Day game will be Mavericks-Heat, “likely at 2:30 p.m. EST.”
It’s an interesting choice, as traditionally the league opts for the two biggest pulls, like last year’s Heat-Lakers tilt. But with the Lakers falling off the cliff in the second round, even with their likely championship contending roster, and the Mavericks winning the title in a fairly epic Finals series that saw four of the six games come down to the last possessions, Mavs-Heat edged out the Lakers. Apparently it’s the Phil Jackson effect.
The interesting question will be who the Lakers, Bulls, and Celtics face. Odds are pretty good that it’ll be Lakers-Thunder, with Bulls-Celtics as the other day tilt. Then the Knicks will have to fit in somewhere, though last year’s Knicks-Bulls game was pretty entertaining. It’s a coin flip whether the Magic will make the cut to be on that day. And for the night game, traditionally between two smaller market franchises, what about a Grizzlies-Spurs rematch? Nothing says Christmas like Tony Parker vs. Mike Conley.
All of this talk gets you excited about the season. Too bad the owners are making it nearly impossible for talks to move forward, meaning it’s likely we’ll never get to see these games.
It’s one of NBA-heads’ favorite times of the year. The release of the schedule. And this year, the NBA is capitalizing on that level of interest and making it into a bit of an event.
Tuesday night, August 3rd, NBATV will host a one-hour special to announce its opening night, Christmas Day, and Martin Luther King. Jr. Day schedules.
It’s a move that touches on how the NBA is learning to harness every conceivable opportunity to market itself. The challenge, naturally, will be containing any of the games, which annually have been leaked to multiple beat writers around the globe. There’s always a staffer or management source willing to let a reporter know his fall schedule. The NBA will have its hands full trying to contain it.
In fact, NBCSports.com has acquired an advance copy of what the league is trying to schedule for opening night, though they are having some logistic problems.
7:00 EST: LA Lakers at Miami Heat
9:30 EST: Miami Heat at LA Lakers
3:00 EST: LA Lakers at Boston Celtics
5:30 EST: Boston Celtics at Miami Heat
8:00 EST: Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat vs. LA Lakers (and Orlando if they can throw them in)
Now, you may think there’s A. no way that teams can play multiple times in a day and that B. the time-space continuum prevents teams from traveling several hours instantaneously, but we live in a world where Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and LeBron James have teamed up. Anything can happen in this zany NBA!
We’ll have details on the actual schedule release for you throughout the week.