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Why are there no games tonight? Blame the Lakers.

May 9, 2013, 7:21 PM EDT

empty staples center

We’re two games into each series of the conference semifinals, all of which are competitive and saw the higher-seeded team lose home court advantage.

The NBA says it’s the first time since the league went to a 16-team playoff format in 1984 that all four series are tied after two games. So why is the schedule blank Thursday night, with zero games being played to keep the momentum going?

Henry Abbott of ESPN’s TrueHoop has the answer:

No games in the whole league on Thursday. I’m told it’s in fact not because of the “American Idol” final, but because several first-round series ended early, moving the start of some second-round series into last weekend. Now they need to stretch out the second round a tad to reduce the risk of a long layoff before the start of the conference finals, which has a fixed start.

So essentially, like seemingly everything else, it’s the Lakers’ fault?

Well, at least partially.

The Lakers and the Bucks fell victim to the Spurs and the Heat respectively in very quick first round sweeps. Instead of extending the layoff beyond eight days for Miami and San Antonio, they started their second round matchups as soon as their opponents were ready, despite every other first round series lasting at least six games.

There would seem to have been a way for the schedule makers to have given us at least one game on Thursday, instead of having double-headers every night until this point. But with the Conference Finals scheduled to begin no earlier than May 21, and the NBA Finals set to start on June 6, the only way to avoid ridiculously long layoffs in the unlikely event we see one or more semifinal series wrap up quickly was to create a small break in the action.

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