Jun 8, 2009

Two Three Two

Lakers managed an overtime game 2 victory last night. We didn't play great, but not terribly. Rashard Lewis was hot all game, hitting shot after shot.

I was impressed with this stat: Lakers hit their last 14 free throws. That's focus.

Too often we went with the Kobe isolation play on offense. He'd make an entry pass, then get the ball back in the wing, then have to make a play. Not sure why we didn't try to keep the ball moving. Of course, can't argue with results.

Now that the series is moving to Orlando, it's an opportune time to bring up one of my pet peeves: the NBA Finals two-three-two format. Currently, every playoff series is a best of seven games, with the home court format being two-two-one-one-one at home-away-home-away-home.

However, this changes to 2-3-2 in the finals. My understanding is that this is a legacy remnant from years ago, when it made sense to try to limit traveling between teams from the eastern and western conferences. This basically means that the format was made for time and convenience, not for a properly arranged playoff series with competitive advantage (home court) in mind.

The problem with the 2-3-2 format is the three games in the middle. The basic presumption of any series is that the home team wins, so having game 7 at home would result in the home team's victory. In the 2-3-2, the lower seeded opponent gets three straight home games in the middle of the series, with the supposed result being three victories there. That leaves them with a 3-2 series lead after 5 games, with the higher seed getting the last two games at home. By chalk, this is fine. To me, what seems wrong about this is that the higher seed now must play two elimination games. In all other rounds, the lower seed has to play two elimination games (game 6 at home and game 7 away) when going chalk. Why should the higher seed have a predesignated disadvantage in the finals? Too often the home court for 3 straight games really kills the higher seed (Lakers in Detroit 2004, Dallas in Miami 2006). With chartered planes (or planes in general!), the excuse of travel time becomes invalid. In addition, having two different play formats for different rounds of the playoffs makes no sense. Can't we change the format back to a proper, competitively sensible one?

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