The 82-game season is at least 10 games too long. Maybe 20 games. Imagine, for a minute, 60 games in a season with 2 or 3 games per week, where back-to backs didn’t exist. Imagine a player going out with a badly sprained ankle and missing 5 games instead of 10. Imagine fewer sprains and much fewer ACL and Achilles injuries. Imagine a scenario where the level of play rarely dipped because of the schedule and cross-country travel. Tom Haberstroh’s recent analysis of the toll of the NBA schedule and the impact of travel and sleep disruptions was one more indictment of the NBA as business-first enterprise, where players and fans get a worse version of what could be, in the name of ticket sales.
It may not change anytime soon, but realize that the irregular season, i.e. the real season, the second season (the playoffs) are coming after an unbearable load of games, a style of play that is faster, more defensively aware, more fluid and based around player movement than ever before. The last two weeks will bring excitement.
The chase for 73 is in full swing, with a Shaun Livingston rebound leading to a second Klay Thompson three-point attempt. Tomorrow night, I’ll get my first chance to see this version of the mighty Warriors against my beloved Celtics. The tickets were a gift, the business of the Bay Area and the business of the hot ticket winning out, while the average fans watch from home and the Oracle gets whiter and whiter.
Some people give up on professional sports because of the focus on money. Celebrity status and shoe bullshit making headlines while following the rumors keep people all atwitter. I will always love the game itself and no, I’m not a purist. I’m a humanist, who loves the passion play of athletic grace and the spontaneous creativity that flows through the world’s best athletes. If you’ve watched any NCAA basketball recently, you understand the NBA is its own universe of athletics.
The playoffs will arrive, and I’ll lose sleep and watch the 4th quarters on DVR of the non-Celtics, non-Warriors games. I have less time than ever to focus on this game, which probably means I’m doing more good in the world and also means I’m more exhausted.
So 82 games…that’s how many they play until it all begins. One more season plays itself out and then summer hits.