Time to Change NBA Finals 2-3-2 Format?

by June 08, 2010

With the Boston Celtics about to play three consecutive home games, strangely enough, it’s the local paper making the argument against the current NBA Finals scheduling format: “When questioned about the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format recently, commissioner David Stern attributed the change, now 25 years old, to Red Auerbach, who had complained that heavy travel for Games 5, 6, and 7 affected the quality of basketball. In those days, back-to-backs for Games 1 and 2 and Games 3 and 4 were common and Red was right; given the schedule, which allowed off days only if there was a change of venue, the increased travel as the series wore on affected play. That is no longer the case, yet the NBA seems married to this format that is annoying more than anything else. The Celtics are home for nearly a week as the Finals shift to Boston. Having three consecutive home games places pressure on the team without home-court advantage — the Celtics in this case — to win at least two of those games. Gaining home-court advantage should mean the right to host Game 7. But Games 6 and 7? It doesn’t make sense. If the Celtics take two of three this week against the Lakers, they still will have to win at Los Angeles to win the series. All the Lakers have to do is steal one of the next three games, then they have the comfort of playing at home the final two games. Although many in the NBA complained the 2-3-2 system would favor the team without home-court advantage, it actually makes it more difficult to win because a potential clinching Game 6 is on the road.”