Silver, speaking Thursday before the Denver Nuggets’ 140-112 rout of the Indiana Pacers at London’s O2 Arena, said the NBA started studying the issue last year — specifically, the number of timeouts that are allowed in the final two minutes — and will review it again at the end of this season. “It’s something that I know all of sports are looking at right now, and that is the format of the game and the length of time it takes to play the game,” Silver said. “Obviously people, particularly millennials, have increasingly short attention spans, so it’s something as a business we need to pay attention to.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver made a little news in London on Thursday, telling reporters that the league is looking into ways to speed up the final minutes of NBA games, which are often littered with timeouts and other slow stoppages.At his pregame presser on Thursday in Oakland, Steve Kerr was asked about the comments. Kerr said he was in favor and even took it another step further. “Speeding up the game not just the last two, but the entire 48, is a good idea,” Kerr said.
In particular, Kerr thinks limiting replay reviews would help slice away the lag. “Replay has been overdone,” Kerr said. “I appreciate what the league has done trying to get calls right. But there’s always unintended consequences from replay.”
“For example, the clear path stuff is really costing a lot of time,” Kerr said. “Those things are reviewed every single game and I don’t know a single coach who actually knows what the rule is. I think referees would be better suited just letting the play happen as long as there’s no turnovers. If I grab you while the ball’s on the other side of the court, who cares?” Another idea: “Maybe only allow 20-second timeouts in the last two minutes instead of full timeouts,” Kerr said.
“I can point to plays all the time,” he said. “The one I always think of is Spurs-Miami when Ray Allen hit his famous shot from the corner. They stopped that game to make sure his foot was behind the line. It was six inches behind the line. The Spurs would’ve had a 4-on-4 going the other way because Ray Allen was buried in the corner. The Spurs may have won the championship had that happened, but I understand the refs point of view. If replay exists, you better make sure his foot was behind the line. So what’s right? For me, the flow and the pace is critical and I would love to see a paring down of some of the replay stuff.”
For Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, the ability in the final two minutes of a game to advance the ball without requiring a timeout to be called could speed up the action. That has been used on a trial basis in the D League and in Summer League, and several coaches felt it worked well. “The game is at an all-time high in popularity, but a lot of people complain about the last two minutes,” Clifford said. “I think it would add a different dimension but it would also be a good thing in addressing our biggest issue.” Not that the coaches would be willing to lose any of their timeouts, though. They just wouldn’t save them specifically for that purpose.