Skip to content

Report: NBA likely returns to 2-2-1-1-1 format for Finals

Sep 29, 2013, 4:59 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v Miami Heat - Game 7 Getty Images

If you’ve never been around an NBA Finals series, know that it is a traveling circus, a logistical nightmare. The number of media runs well into triple digits at every game, there are television cameras everywhere you turn, there are fan events all over town and the demands on players’ time can get oppressive. It’s hard for the league even to get enough wifi for all the demands in the building.

Which is one reason the league went to the 2-3-2 NBA Finals format in 1985, when moving the logistical circus cross-country from Boston to Los Angeles every year seemed daunting. But it also never seemed fair — it dilutes the home court advantage and was an odd change after every series to get to the Finals was 2-2-1-1-1.

Now we could be headed back to the old system: The NBA’s Competition Committee — made up of a group of owners, general managers, coaches and one player — voted unanimously to return the Finals to 2-2-1-1-1 format, reports Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald.

This still would have to be approved by the owners, but likely will be.

It is not known if this would begin this season or next one, although there really is no reason not to start it this year.

The Finals run on a Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday schedule (the first game is usually a Thursday night) and that means a week in the middle city (last season San Antonio). Winning three games in a row against high level competition is hard to do even at home, but that was often the spot the team in that middle city was faced with if they couldn’t win one of the first two. They couldn’t just go home and even the series, they needed Game 5.

This new/old format is going to mean more flights for the media (the players fly charter, they’ll somehow survive) but it creates a more fair competition, especially a close series. Would Game 6 of the Finals last year turned out differently if it were in San Antonio rather than Miami? Maybe this year we’ll find out.

  1. antistratfordian - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Thank goodness.

  2. david407 - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:19 PM

    I like it!

  3. ringjames - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    In favor of Miami. If they can secure the top seed they don’t have to play 3 road games in the Finals like the current format. Perfect :)

    • drewvargas23 - Oct 1, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Naw!! Brooklyn Nets fool dis yr!!!

  4. miamatt - Sep 29, 2013 at 5:54 PM

    Hard to argue with the logic of such a decision. Plus, it’s not like there’s gonna be any LA to “take-your-pick-east-coast-city” Finals travel concerns any time soon. Unless we’re talking about the Clippers, perhaps.

  5. golfrangeman - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:37 PM

    I’ve been waiting for this for almost 30 years

  6. kingwithringz - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    I wonder who the one player on the NBA Competition Committee is??????

  7. ProBasketballPundit - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    I never understood how the 2-3-2 format helped the road team. Road teams have only ever won all 3 home games three times. And all three of those were in recent years. It’s very difficult to win 3 straight finals games no matter where they are… so I thought the format made it more difficult on road teams because it meant they probably had to win two road games to win the finals.

  8. legend30 - Sep 29, 2013 at 8:57 PM


  9. mcjon22 - Sep 29, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    You know why the NBA wants to do this?


    • paleihe - Sep 30, 2013 at 12:28 AM

      Please explain how this would generate an extra dollar for the league.


      • asimonetti88 - Sep 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        You could argue that the improved competitiveness of the Finals that will come from this move will result in more eyeballs in front the TVs which will in turn increase the revenue they reap.

        But that is what we call a win-win situation. The NBA makes more money and we get to watch a more competitive series.

      • Deron - Sep 30, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        If the NBA’s objective is to get more game 7s, this should work. Since 1985, 37% of the conference finals(2-2-1-1-1) series that have gone to a 6th game have made it to a 7th game. Only 28% of that type of NBA Finals (2-3-2) series have gone to a 7th game.

        There’s A Stat For That

  10. davidly - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    Kurt: You say that this dilutes home court–but on the other hand you point out that it is also disadvantageous to the team that might end up having to win all of the middle three. Seems like a wash to me.

    I was for this before I was against it, which is now. My feeling is that if you’re gonna fix something that ain’t broke, you oughta make it interesting. This is just a boring tinkering that only leads to greater damage to our atmosphere.

    Perhaps something radical is in order, like 3-3-1; or 3-4, with the first three games on the road. I’m sure there is a better idea than 2-2-1-1-1, which is just stupid. They oughta do away with that in the earlier rounds.

    This has been my opinion. It is brought to you by me, with assistance from the Internet and MSNBC. The opinion in no way represents the opinion of the World Wide Web, nor the host network or its sponsors.

    You may now go and read other posts.

  11. bbk1000 - Sep 30, 2013 at 8:26 AM

    I agree with the change, but now a 7 game series will last 6 weeks……

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (2822)
  2. K. Irving (2175)
  3. A. Davis (1861)
  4. K. Bryant (1638)
  5. L. James (1629)
  1. T. Thompson (1342)
  2. K. Durant (1316)
  3. B. Jennings (1248)
  4. J. Clarkson (1201)
  5. M. Leonard (1092)