CHICAGO — Now that the lockout is over that can be the last time I spell lockout. Well that can be the last time I spell lockout.
Well the as much as the word lockout will be used when referring to the NBA from now (and my goodness can you imagine it’s worth on opening night), the NBA is trying to avoid being not so tight in organization and are tightening up their schedule in preparation for the shortened 66-game season that awaits us beginning on Christmas.
The newly revised schedule will make, if of course the new CBA is ratified, 48 of the 66 games conference games, slicing apart the remaing schedule to make sure the all important divisonal and conference games get played. Don’t worry, the Bulls and Heat are in the same conference and these games won’t be touched. However if you live in Minnesota or New Orleans you may not get a chance to see the Bulls this season unless it’s in the NBA Finals.
I’ll pause for laughter at the thought of the T-Pups in the Finals.
There will still be non-conference games, in fact there will be 18 of them, but you have to believe that only the marquee games will be kept on the schedule. That means the Bulls will most likely still play Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Phoenix.
As far as the season as a whole, it will start on Christmas Day and will end on April 26th, 2012. The playoffs start two days later on April 28th and will run through, at the very latest, June 26th.
A big change in this shortened schedule will see each team not only play many back-to-back games, but each team also has to play the dreaded three game stretch that consists of back-to-back-to-back games ala the MLB or occasionally NHL.
However, unlike baseball, the NBA will not play their three game stretches in series format. Instead they will play three different teams in possibly three different venues. This is part of the plan to make the seaosn more concise and get to the playoffs at the regularly scheduled time or to get as close as possible.
In fact, the NBA wants to get the playoffs started and ended at the regularly scheduled time that they have made the schedule more consice and have eliminated the large number of off days for teams int he middle of series.
That means, unlike last year, we won’t have to wait nearly a full week between Game 3 and Game 4 of any series.
As far as individual teams, the schedule will heavily feature conference and divisional matchups. Here is how the 48 conference games will breakdown:
Conference Games: 48
• Play 6 teams 4 times (2 home, 2 away)
• Play 4 teams 3 times (2 home, 1 away)
• Play 4 teams 3 times (1 home, 2 away)
No details yet on how divisional games will be spread out in this. One can only imagine that the Bulls will play the other four teams in the Central as part of the 6 teams, 4 times (2 home, 2 away) structure.