The NBA is shortening a preseason match between the Brooklyn Nets and the Boston Celtics to 44 minutes from 48 minutes, according to USA Today. The game will have four 11-minute quarters instead of the usual 12-minute quarters.
The NBA said coaches favored trying out a shorter game over concerns about player fatigue and wear-and-tear. A full season of 44-minute games would be the equivalent of losing about seven games worth of playing time every season.
“We have looked at everything that we do and are taking a fresh look at all the different things we do,” NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn said. “One of the things that keeps coming up is our schedule and the length of our games … 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.”
The Boston Celtics and Brooklyn Nets volunteered to play in the shortened game. There will be two “mandatory timeouts,” often called “media timeouts” for commercial obligations per quarter, two fewer than in a 48-minute game. NBC blogger Kurt Helin asked how shortened games would affect advertisement contracts, particularly the recently signed ten-year contract with Walt Disney and Time Warner. He suggested that the NBA shorten the season instead of shortening each game.
NBA going to try out 44-minute game w/ fewer timeouts when Nets take on Celtics Sunday. I like the idea, but how does it mesh with TV deal?
â€” Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) October 14, 2014
Some commenters on a popular NBA forum on Reddit echoed Helin’s opinion and expressed concern that the shortened game wouldn’t necessarily mean starting players would get less time and more rest, but that it instead would just cut time away from bench players.
Nets coach Lionel Hollins said he was interested to see how the shorter game would affect substitution patterns.
Baseball is also talking about ways to shorten games -- less because of concerns about injuries to players, and more due to the fatigue of the audience.