The length of games is a concern of David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors, reports TrueHoop's Henry Abbott.
One consideration is to reduce the number of time-outs. But Abbott did a little experiment that exposes the real problem:
Now, to the NBA rulebook, where we learn that NBA timeouts are, at their longest, 100 seconds.
From there — keep up! — to the stopwatch on my new-fangled phone (on which, by the way, I can now watch ESPN games live, which is shocking), which I started when a recent playoff timeout was granted.
215 seconds. More than double the prescribed length.
Later I clocked a 20-second timeout, which included, amusingly, exactly 20 seconds of stoppage before going to a 30-second commercial. The ball was back in play 76 seconds after the cutely-named "20-second" timeout started.
So, OK, yes, I hear the commissioner's point about reducing the number of timeouts. And, in all honesty, I hear the point about needing to play those commercials that pay the bills. There's a reason it is the way it is, and this is a business.
However, if the judgment of the league is that games need to be shorter, let's not be squishy about how games got long. It has almost nothing to do with players hustling back to the court. It has to do with the fact that while a lot of that rulebook is enforced to the letter of the law, that 100-second stipulation … referees aren't exactly enforcing that one, and the league knows exactly why.
Does anyone have an issue with the length of NBA games? I sure don't.
How about addressing important stuff… like the awful inconsistent officiating or the late East Coast starts for playoff games?