The NBA embraces a cardinal rule of show business this weekend: leave the audience wanting more.
When the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics play on Sunday, the game will be four minutes shorter, each team will be without one regular timeout, and fewer mandatory stoppages will pause the action.
The 44-minute games represent a nod to decreasing attention spans. NBA games generally average two-and-a-quarter hours. The NBA looks for ways to abridge the length of a normal contest. Basketball, it seems, does not want to become baseball.
Subtracting four minutes from games surely strikes marginal bench players as bad math. With rosters already expanded to fifteen players, shrinking games to 44 minutes likely means fewer minutes per game for bench players.
“One of the things that keeps coming up is our schedule and the length of our games,” Rod Thorn, NBA president of basketball operations, told USA Today. “Our coaches talked about it, and a lot of them seemed to be in favor of at least taking a look at it. We talked with our competition committee, and they were in favor of taking a look at it.”