Nets coach Hollins on 44-minute game: ‘The change will be for the guys who don’t start’

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NEW YORK — Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek and Pacers head coach Frank Vogel each weighed in on the concept of a 44-minute NBA game with similar sentiments, essentially saying that there will be less minutes for the reserves to divvy up, while the amount of playing time distributed to the starters is likely to remain unchanged.

Before the experimental game tipped off on Sunday at Barclays Center, Nets head coach Lionel Hollins confirmed that would be the case.

“Nothing changes,” he said, when asked if his approach would be any different. “The change will be for the guys who don’t start. If Joe Johnson is playing 35 minutes in a 48-minute game, he’s going to play 35 minutes in a 44-minute game. It just means the guys coming off the bench will have four less minutes to operate with. It’ll affect the bench more than it will affect the starters.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said that because of the nature of games played during the preseason, it’s unlikely that the shortened game will provide accurate data on what the actual effects might be.

“I don’t know that we’ll all get a true sense of it, because in the preseason we have more of a set rotation, and you’re probably going to stick to that regardless,” he said. “But I’m looking forward to seeing how it is. And you know, the other thing is that the lack of the extra media timeout in the second and fourth quarters will test people’s conditioning-wise if they’re in for that extended period of time, even with the less minutes.”

Hollins detailed the reasons that the league is looking at something like this.

“The TV people had positive thoughts about it, the coaches had positive thoughts and the league had positive thoughts as something that should be explored,” he said. “For us to play this game today gives the league a little bit of data to see if  they want to move forward and implement it in the D-League, because that would be the next step. Maybe they use it in another couple of preseason games, before the preseason ends. That’s kind of the way I look at it.

“From a how do I feel about it [standpoint], if it’s to be, it’s to be. It’s not a bad thing. I don’t have a problem with 48 minutes, but if they feel this is a way to protect players a little more, shorten the game so that it fits in the TV window, so be it.”

Hollins made it clear that the differences are likely to be minimal for the coaches — both in terms of how the games are managed, as well as when deciding how many minutes that their best players play. He also doesn’t expect the change to impact him personally.

“I won’t even notice the difference,” he said.