The NBA is experimenting with shorter games during this year’s preseason. Instead of the usual 48 minutes of play, the next match-up between the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets will only last 44 minutes. The game will be televised on NBA TV at 3 p.m. EST from the Barclays Center on Oct. 19, 2014.
The league is using the testing to gather preliminary data to see how well the flow of the game is with a shorter playing time. This experiment will only take place during preseason, and there are no plans yet to shorten games during the regular season. NBA President of Basketball Operations Rod Thorn said that they discussed the idea of shorter game times during a recent coaches’ meeting. He decided to act on the idea after hearing the requests from coaches to tighten up the games. The league also plans to experiment with this idea in the NBA Development League and in preseason games next year as well.
The NBA experiment with shorter game times will cause several changes to the game. Each quarter will be diminished from 12 minutes to 11 minutes. Mandatory timeouts will decrease in number during the second and the fourth quarters. The first and third quarters will have only two mandatory timeouts each. The first mandatory timeout will activate with the first dead ball just shy of the 7-minute mark if neither team has utilized a timeout before this time. There are three mandatory timeouts for the second and fourth quarters.
How substitution patterns are utilized with shorter game times is a matter of concern for some head coaches. If the NBA were to make game times shorter during a regular 82-game season, there would be a total of 328 less minutes of playing time. Reducing the time a player is on the court may lengthen their career by keeping them healthier due to less wear and tear on their bodies. However, a player’s pay could be affected due to spending less time in action during game time.
Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel expressed his dislike for the idea by telling reporters that he is already having a hard enough time making his players happy with minutes during the game. He thinks that his job will be much harder with four less minutes each game. Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra stated he would rather see the number of games played during a season shortened instead. Dallas Mavericks head coach Mark Cuban thinks that the NBA is the best entertainment in the world and hopes that the league’s experiment with shorter game times does not clear the preliminary stage.
The head coaches for both the Boston Celtics and the Brooklyn Nets are excited about the NBA’s experiment with shorter game times. Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens praised the NBA for its forward thinking and willingness to try new ideas. Brooklyn Nets head coach Lionel Hollins is greatly interested in seeing how the shorter play clock will affect substitution patterns. Both coaches agree that it is definitely a unique experiment in which they are both interested in participating.
By Valerie Bordeau
Photo by: Erik Cleves Kristensen- Creativecommons Flickr