NBA owners switch to 2-2-1-1-1 series format in finals
NEW YORK – Beginning with the 2014 NBA Finals, the higher-seeded team will host Games 1, 2, 5 and 7. The lower seed gets Games 3, 4 and 6, following the same format the NBA uses in all other rounds.
The change comes about as NBA owners unanimously voted Wednesday to scrap a format for the championship round that featured three home consecutive games for the lower-seeded team in the middle of the series.
Referred to as the 2-3-2 scenario, the higher seed opened with two home games, then played three straight on the road, before closing with two more home games. It was conducive to travel, especially when teams had to span several time zones, and was a favorite of outgoing commissioner David Stern.
In the new format, though there will be more travel inconveniences, the higher seed will host the first two games, before hitting the road for two games. At that point – Game 5 – the teams will alternate home games, ending with a potential Game 7 on the higher-seeded team’s floor. This format, used in the other playoff rounds, is known as the 2-2-1-1-1.
The 2-3-2 was instituted in 1985, Stern’s first full year in charge, in part to ease cross-country travel with the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers frequently meeting for the championship. Critics felt it gave an edge to the lower-seeded team.
“There certainly was a perception … it was unfair to the team that had the better record, that it was then playing the pivotal Game 5 on the road. So this obviously moves that game back to giving home-court advantage to the team with the better record if it’s a 2-2 series,” deputy commissioner Adam Silver said.
The vote came during Stern’s final preseason meeting with his board of governors.
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