44-Minute Game Experiment Clocks In At Under Two Hours Of Real Time

The NBA’s 44-minute game experiment came and went today without much fanfare, especially considering the stir of discussion it created earlier this week. We’ll have to wait and see if the league considers the common sentiment of players and coaches that cutting games from the regular season schedule would be more beneficial than shortening the length of them. The takeaway for now is that the first 44-minute game – a 95-90 Boston Celtics win over the Brooklyn Nets – clocked in at under two hours of real time.

Success? Considering the NBA says that a normal, 48-minute game averages 2 hours, 15 minutes, its likely happy with the result. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to take from in-game strategy or substitution patterns because Celtics-Nets was an inconsequential exhibition.

Some of the initial opposition to a shortened game came from bench players and coaches that insisted several fewer minutes of play wouldn’t change how often stars see the court, and instead only influence the league’s middle class. Nets coach Lionel Hollins was among critics expressing that opinion, and even said after today’s game that he barely noticed the time difference. Boston’s Brad Stevens felt the same way.

From Pro Basketball Talk’s Brett Pollakoff:

“No, not really,” said Nets head coach Lionel Hollins, when asked if the game felt shorter. “When you’re coaching and I look up there and when we’re already to the first [mandatory] time out, that was kind of surprising. That was the only time it seemed like it was quick. Other than that, I didn’t really notice it.”

“You noticed it a little bit when you are subbing at the start of quarters, but I thought the flow with the one less time out was actually a little bit better in the second and fourth,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “I didn’t notice it a whole lot, and I don’t know how much impact it had on the game.”

The only information to really glean from this experiment – considering the limitations an exhibition provides – is whether or it would actually amount to less real time. That the game was 17 minutes shorter than average certainly isn’t surprising, but is also surely encouraging from the league’s perspective, too.

Is the 44-minute game a full-time possibility? We highly, highly doubt the players’ union would ever go for it. Kudos to Adam Silver and company for forward thinking, though.

Do you like the idea of a 44-minute game?

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