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05/28/2011

It's Time For the NBA and NHL To Re-Think Their Finals Format

Larry-bird-and-magic-johnson-photofile DALLAS - The NBA and the NHL Finals will begin in a few days, yet they continue to differ on their approach on frequent flyer milers.

Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki prefers to go the way of the NHL, which uses 2-2-1-1-1. The NBA uses that format for every series but the Finals.

Dirk sounds like a man who believes had the NBA had the NHL format back in 2006 perhaps the Mavs/Heat Finals would have been different.
If you recall the Mavs took a 2-0 series lead before going to Miami. The Heat won the next two at home, and then barely won Game 5 in Miami that completely crushed the Mavs.

"I said it the last time we were there, to me Game 5 is one of the biggest games of the series and I don't like it to be on the road if you have the better record. I said that in '06," Dirk said. "We ended up losing Game 5 by one point or whatever. Had a tough call down the stretch. I don't know if it would have gone that way if we were at home. But I understand the flying back and forth for five, six or seven especially in LA and Boston. That's a lot of flying. 
I like Game 5 with the team that has the better record. It's big. You don't want to come back here 0-2. That's really no series."

(Have to like the shot at the refs).

The NBA's approach is to think every Finals is Boston v. LA, and West Coast vs. East Coast.
The distance between LA and Boston is about 2,600 miles. This is a punishing flight, especially West to East. Because of the time change, you basically lose an entire day to air travel.

The Boston Bruins will fly 2,500 miles to Vancouver for the Cup Finals. They could make this trip as many as three times in a seven-game series.

Dallas to Miami is a more doable 1,107 miles.

What the two leagues should do is employ a case-by-case use of 2-2-1-1-1 for a Finals format. Nothing is set in stone until the teams are decided anyway, and from a TV or media standpoint it won't matter. No one buys tickets until the teams or locked in.

If a Finals is between right coast vs. left coast, use 2-3-2. 
If a Finals is between two more centrally located cities, such as Dallas and Miami, go 2-2-1-1-1.

It is so, and it must be done ...

@MacEngelProf
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Comments

David Mccaig

I originally thought this was a good idea. But I'm a Canuck fan, and the Canucks have to deal with an impossible travel schedule every year. While I agree in principle with your idea, I feel no pity for Boston on the East Coast who can fly to most games in under an hour.

Travel hinders Vancouver's chances of making it to the Stanley Cup Finals more than any other team. It would not sit well should they get there only to find out that the format has been changed to cut down on travel.


Let Boston fly 5000 miles before they play game 3. Vancouver has earned that advantage.

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