Stealing minutes from NBA games

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Stealing minutes from NBA games
Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat, is just one of the many critics regarding shorter NBA games. (David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald/MCT).

Staff Writer

On October 19, the Brooklyn Nets hosted the Boston Celtics in a National Basketball Association (NBA) game. It seemed to be just another regular preseason game, except there was a small change. In this game, the league decided to shorten each quarter by one minute from 12 minutes per quarter to 11, making the game a total of 44 minutes long. According to, the league wanted to test how the shortened quarters would impact the flow of the game, along with substitution patterns.

Reactions around the league were mixed. Lionel Hollins, coach of the Brooklyn Nets, and Brad Stevens, coach of the Boston Celtics, were both eager to participate in the shortened game, but others were not as fond. Erik Spoelstra, coach of the Miami Heat, commented on ESPN that “I don’t think it’s a matter of how long the game is. I think there’s too many games, to be frank.” He fails to note, however, that by shortening each game by four minutes, there would be a total loss of 382 minutes, equivalent to around seven fewer games, throughout the season.

Such changes are primarily experiments that may potentially change actual NBA rules, but is shortening the length of a game necessary? The 11 minute quarters would mean slightly less fatigue in players and more energetic games, but the change is too small for significant impact. During the October 19 game, there seemed to be no noticeable change in the game’s flow, and the time shortage did not affect substitutions at all. Based on this test run, it looks like there is no reason to apply these changes to the regular season.

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