Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Is It Time For NBA To Dump The 2-3-2 Format

The NBA Finals are here, which means we get to again hear the debate about the Finals' 2-3-2 format. For the people out there who don't know, the teams with the best regular season record gets the first two games at home; the next three are at the other team's arena; and the final two games are back in the other gym. So this year, Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 will be in Miami and Games 3, 4 and 5 are in Dallas.

A lot of people have a problem with this setup ... though it's been around for nearly 30 years. They say it is extremely weighed to the home court advantaged team's benefit. Only twice has a home team won those middle three games since using the format: the 2004 Pistons and 2006 Heat.

Maybe they're right. Since the 1986 Finals, only five teams who didn't have the home court advantage in the Finals won the title. That was the 1993 Chicago Bulls, 1995 Houston Rockets, 1998 Chicago Bulls, 2004 Detroit Pistons and 2006 Miami Heat. Naturally, the team holding the home court advantage will usually be the better team ... but 5 of 25?

To be honest, I'm on the fence about this topic. I understand the 2-3-2 format but I understand people wanting to go back to the 2-2-1-1-1 of yesteryear. I think we should just cut the difference: if a Finals series is between two teams that are geographically close, then make it a 2-2-1-1-1 series. If more than one time zone separates the teams, then use the 2-3-2 format.

This year, Dallas is in the Central TZ and Miami is in the Eastern. So let's use the 2-2-1-1-1 format. The travel isn't a big deal between Miami and Dallas. The last few years (Lakers-Celtics twice, Lakers-Magic) should be on the 2-3-2 format. The travel from Orlando or Boston to Los Angeles is a bit of a journey for both teams if they have to do so four separate times. But Spurs-Pistons, Spurs-Cavaliers are no brainers. Just have the series set up like all the other ones.

Let's do this!

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