Who’s ready for some late-afternoon playoff basketball? The Celtics’ next two games against the Sixers won’t take place in primetime or the 3:30 p.m. weekend window. Instead, they will tip off at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively, conflicting with the early bird special.
Several factors go into producing the conference semifinals schedule. The NBA’s television contract with ABC mandates the second round of the playoffs must conclude by Sunday, May 13. Since Cavaliers-Pacers went seven games, it shortened the league’s window to get everything in. That means both Eastern Conference semifinals must be in action on the same day, creating the need for the late-afternoon tips. The alternative would be to start the early Eastern Conference game at 7:00 p.m. and the late one at 9:30 p.m., but the league determined that’s too late, according to the Boston Globe. Plus, that arrangement would probably cause Gerry Callahan to combust.
So on Saturday, the Celtics and Sixers will get underway at 5:00, leading into Cleveland-Toronto. On Monday, the Celtics will begin at 6:00. The start times for Games 5, 6 and 7, if necessary, are not yet determined.
The NBA could stagger the start times, but the league has decided to let one game conclude before another begins. MLB and NHL put games against each other in the early rounds of the playoffs, but both leagues play to more parochial audiences.
LeBron James is the biggest sports star in the country, so it only makes sense for the NBA to put his games in primetime. The Celtics and Sixers may have the history, but James has the star power.
As a result, the C’s are banished to the twilight hours. At least the kids will be able to watch Monday, even if those with jobs will struggle to see the first half.
Full article @ Why are next two Celtics games starting at such weird times?
Source: GreenStreet Blog