There is a growing controversy about ill effects of a truncated preseason and trimmed game schedule for North America’s National Basketball Association (NBA), the top ranking professional basketball league for men. The basketball game season which is in full swing for its thirty member clubs had a curtailed preseason and is facing a 66-game schedule instead of one of 82 games.
A few experts have not taken positively to NBA’s game modifications. They are of the opinion that changes could result in inferior team performances and criticized it for turning out a money spinner, with more paydays for owners as well as players. However, most experts are not yet willing to state that changes will have a clear negative impact on the game this season. They are viewing below average performances and spate of injuries as a normal part of a game schedule and not as a direct result of changes.
Surely, they have not been too many exciting basketball nights with only five teams taking 100 points. Great teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and to some extent, the Dallas Mavericks are caught in a poor play rut. Is it the fatigue arising out of playing more games back to back? Mavericks appeared a tired team when they played their sixth game in the span of eight nights and lost comprehensively. The curtailed preseason had robbed teams of precious learning time.
The good news is that they have been many thrilling basketball moments to balance any negative impact of shorter preseason and game schedule. Great performances include the thrilling start by LeBron James, Kobe Bryant’s streak of 40 points and 20-20s courtesy Dwight Howard. There have been interesting developments too. The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers are high up in the reckoning, the Utah Jazz are learning quickly and the Indiana Pacers are on the advance.
There were magical moments too.
The Miami Heat‘s stunning run of 17 points in the fourth-quarter helped them to a 99-95 victory against the Phoenix Suns. What an unbelievable comeback! At one time, Phoenix led 90-80 with just over seven minutes to the end. However, they were unable to score a point for over six minutes and Miami capitalized on the situation with nine free throws in the run, notching a dramatic lead of 97-90.
Miami’s Dwayne Wade, with 19 points, told reporters immediately after the game, “It was either now or never. They were playing very well. We were down 10 and had to make a move.” Chris Bosh scored 29 points, the highest in the game, with LeBron adding 20 points through six assists and eight rebounds. For Phoenix, with four straight wins taking them to the playoff stage, it was a shocker.
Though ‘Linsanity’ is fading, New York Knick fans are taking it in their stride what with the exciting charge of the Chicago Bulls who overpowered the Knicks with a 104-99 win. Jeremey Lin who rose from anonymous benchwarmer to NBA icon tried to rescue his team but his effort of scoring 15 points with eight assists was not enough. The Bull’s Derrick Rose attacked the Knicks and Lin without giving any quarter and scored 15 points with eight assists. The Bull’s victory over Knicks brought to mind another exciting victory that of 95-85 revenge victory by the Mavericks against Knicks.