Elam landed on something more radical: eliminate the game clock from crunch time. Under Elam’s proposal, the clock would vanish after the first stoppage under the three-minute mark in the NBA and the four-minute mark in NCAA games. Officials would establish a target score by taking the score of the leading team and adding seven points — then restart the game without a clock. The team that reaches that target score first wins. In simpler terms: If the Clippers lead the Jazz 99-91 when Rudy Gobert hacks DeAndre Jordan with 2:55 left, the game then becomes a race to 106 points. Utah must outscore the Clippers 15-6 to win.
Some team officials cautioned that the plus-seven target score could extend some games — including blowouts — even longer than they go now. This seems like a minor problem; seven points can come fast in the normal flow, and close-but-not-really-close games take forever as is. “This idea would address the number one viewer issue I see in NBA games — the endless trips to the free throw line and timeouts at the end of games,” Daryl Morey, Houston’s GM, told ESPN.com.
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.”