Did you happen to fall into a month long coma? Well, The Machine’s here to say congrats on waking up…and don’t worry, if you’re an NBA fan, you didn’t miss much. We’re just getting underway with the conference finals (as The Machine types this, Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals is underway and the Eastern Conference Finals begins tomorrow). One question: are you kidding me?
The NBA Playoffs have been going on for more than a month, and we’re not even in the finals yet. Not only is the outcome completely predetermined (come on son, you know the Heat are going to win), but each series stretches out so long that you lose interest…not to mention that the product itself is quite painful to watch (how much ISO can one man take?).
But Machine, you may say, can’t that be because each round is a best of 7 series, and these games have been so competitive that they’ve gone the distance? Good thought, we’d say, and then would point out this: of the 12 playoff series so far, only one, Brooklyn/Chicago, went the distance. If that game seems like it was played weeks ago, it’s because it was.
The first game of the playoffs was played on April 20 (was it intentional or a coincidence that the playoffs started on 4/20…NBA players smoke tons of weed, get it). Think of everything that’s happened between now and then: the Draft, the IRS Scandal, Titus Young got arrested 3times (there’s still plenty of time for a 4th before the playoffs are over).
The Machine, way back on April 22nd, gave its expert advice on the playoffs. Not to gloat, but our Heat/Spurs prediction looks pretty damn good. We also gave some sage advice regarding the playoffs: don’t watch it. There is no reason for the NBA to stretch out each series (other than trying to maximize ad revenue by having games on weekends and prime time weeknights). This conduct shouldn’t be rewarded.
Here’s an example of the absurdity: Knicks/Celtics Round 1. Game 1 (at MSG) on Saturday. Game 2 (still at MSG) on Tuesday. Why do you need two full days off when there’s no travel? Granted, there’s a lot of sight seeing to do in New York, but come on. Those games should be played back-to-back. It’s even more absurd for traveling. Another example: Knicks/Pacers Round 2, Game 2 (at MSG) on Tuesday, Game 3 (in Indy) on Saturday. Did they ride bikes from NYC to Indiana?
But Machine, you may say, these are professional athletes and they play so hard that they need a lot of rest. Whoop, Whoop, Whoop…hear that noise kids, it’s our Bullshit-dar, and it’s off the hook. Playing basketball may be tough, but there’s no way basketball is more demanding than say…hockey.
Consider this, in the Bruins/Maple Leafs series (which went the distance and was an exciting series, btw, easily more compellig than any NBA series thus far) Games 5, 6, and 7 were played on Friday (in Boston), Sunday (in Toronto), and Monday (in Boston), respectively. They played 3 games in four days, and traveled between each game. There is no way you can (correctly) argue that basketball is more demanding than hockey. Hockey is one of the most physically demanding sports there is, and these guys are playing on back to back nights with travel!
Perhaps what we’re most upset about is the quality of the play (as we type this, the Spurs take a 15 point halftime lead). The Machine could possibly live with long, drawn out series if they were entertaining. But this is anything but…despite the media’s attempt to make these games appear interesting.
Remember (way back) when Chicago beat Miami in Game 1? Everyone jumped on the Bulls bandwagon, and suddenly everyone saw that holes in the Heat. Anyone remember what happened the next 4 games…the Heat completely smoked the Bulls, winning Games 2-5 by an average of more than 17 points…including a 37 point beat down in Game 2. Get ready for another double digit snooze fest as the Heat take on the Pacers. Sorry Frank Vogel, the Heat are not just another team…they’re the 96’ Bulls reincarnate, and you’re about to find that out first hand.
There’s absolutely no reason why the NBA Playoffs is stretched out over two months, making it easily the longest postseason event in all of sports. Christ, even baseball has a shorter playoff schedule. Considering more people watch the Draft than the NBA Finals (the NFL is rumored to be moving the Draft to May right in the middle of the NBA playoffs) the NBA needs to change something or else risk further erosion from fan involvement. The NBA needs to create more excitement and buzz for the playoffs. Condensing the playing schedule is one way to do that. Sure, it’s not going to help the quality of play, but at least it will be over quicker.
Considering falling back into another month long coma? Go ahead; you already know what’s going to happen, and you’ll still wake up in time to catch the finals.
Enjoy your teabag.