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  #101  
Old 12-03-2019, 07:46 PM
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Kyle Lowry in his first game back is... 0 for 8 shooting at the half, and so far is losing the game for Toronto. But he's playing heavy minutes. Maybe, uh, don't stretch him so much?
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  #102  
Old 12-03-2019, 10:04 PM
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An exciting game, but disappointing. The Raptors shot under 30% on 3-pointers and usually do better. They were able to force overtime but collapsed soon thereafter. Credit to Butler and an excellent Heat defence. Lowry got a double-double, but at the expense of guys like Siakam. Still, he needs some minutes in his first game back. Could of gone either way, but TO will bounce back.
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  #103  
Old 12-04-2019, 08:22 AM
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The Blazers-Clippers debacle shows just how poorly Portland is being coached. They continue to encourage hero-ball play instead of building a good passing game. In today's NBA that means they have zero chance of getting past a superficial appearance in the playoffs, if that. Between an outdated offense and an often dismal defense, Stotts will be lucky to keep his job at the end of the season. Why they continue to play this style of ball is a mystery to everyone, it seems, and was commented on by one of the announcers last night.
  #104  
Old 12-04-2019, 08:45 AM
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A remarkably poor shooting night by the Rockets' two stars, and just a poorly finished and officiated game, period. The officials missed a literal dunk by James Harden, if that gives a clue about how the night went. The game is being protested to the league office by the Rockets for that egregious officiating error, not that it will do any good.

As for bad shooting, Harden went 11-38, Westbrook 7-30. It is the only time in the last 30 years in the NBA, that two players took 30 or more shots each, while both shot under 30 percent in the same game. Harden started out all right---9-24---and just ran out of gas at the end of his 48 minutes played in the 2OT contest. Westbrook just will not stop taking garbage shots. And missing them.

It doesn't look like they want to change.
  #105  
Old 12-05-2019, 01:04 PM
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538.com, even with the new system, now gives the Raptors a 58-24 prediction, a rating 200 points higher than before, a playoff spot, 17% chance of a final and 7% to repeat.

They also give TR a 60% chance of winning vs. a team with a higher rating.

I wish Portland well, but they will have to work harder to make the playoffs.
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  #106  
Old 12-05-2019, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
538.com, even with the new system, now gives the Raptors a 58-24 prediction, a rating 200 points higher than before, a playoff spot, 17% chance of a final and 7% to repeat.

They also give TR a 60% chance of winning vs. a team with a higher rating.

I wish Portland well, but they will have to work harder to make the playoffs.
POR does okay against other teams that are under .500 or that have extensive injuries, but other than the occasional glimpses of good ball (like last night's against SAC), they have got to drastically revamp their strategy.
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Old 12-05-2019, 08:59 PM
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538.com, even with the new system, now gives the Raptors a 58-24 prediction, a rating 200 points higher than before, a playoff spot, 17% chance of a final and 7% to repeat.
Maybe down a bit after two straight losses at home against good teams, both with alarming defensive deficiencies.

Tonight the Raptors have held James Harden to taking a modest number of shot and buckets, but the rest of the team stepped up, suggesting the Rap's "Stop-the-Star" approach is one other teams are studying and planning to beat.
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  #108  
Old 12-07-2019, 09:18 AM
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Fucking hell. It just never stops this year. Rodney Hood, starting small forward, and by most accounts a really nice guy, was having his best year yet until last night when he tore his Achilles. He'll be out for the rest of the season, of course, and the Blazers will sink ever deeper into the cellar. Oh yeah, and they got creamed by LA. The number of alley oop plays with AD were so numerous, I couldn't tell if I was watching a video loop or live TV.
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Old 12-07-2019, 10:05 AM
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Maybe down a bit after two straight losses at home against good teams, both with alarming defensive deficiencies.

Tonight the Raptors have held James Harden to taking a modest number of shot and buckets, but the rest of the team stepped up, suggesting the Rap's "Stop-the-Star" approach is one other teams are studying and planning to beat.
Still the best strategy to beat them. Double Harden's left, block driving lanes for Russ, guard one or two of the 3pt wing shooters, and force Westbrook to shoot mid and long range shots. WB is about a 20-25 percent shooter of anything outside the lane, but he acts like he's Reggie Miller or Steph Curry. Ben McLemore isn't going to shoot 8-17 3s most nights. Neither will House or probably Eric Gordon.

It was the right plan; it just didn't work out. Good win for the Rockets.
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Old 12-07-2019, 12:55 PM
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Youíre a good guy, RickJay, but far too Canadian in unwarranted pessimism after a couple losses. Truth is, Nurseís defensive strategy was good. Shutting Harden down was significant. Not like the Raptors played badly against a good team. The Rockets were way-better-than-usual on the 3-points. But the game was won on rebounds. The Rockets earned many second chances. When Toronto shoots a 3-point, they often tend to concentrate on defence rather than send someone up to try to guide the ball or gain possession. This strategy often works and was worth trying. And the way the Raptors covered Harden was different from previous teams.

2 games means nothing. Toronto will rise!
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  #111  
Old 12-07-2019, 01:05 PM
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Also worth commenting on how easily the Bucks seemed to beat the Clippers. Toronto could take the Rockets in a 7 game series, possibly. And they played well in a 105-115 loss way back when. But theyíd be tough to beat again.
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  #112  
Old 12-12-2019, 12:53 PM
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POR managed to trounce the Knicks, but I'm pretty sure that PS-12 could have done that. Of the nine games left in this calendar year, POR would have to win 7 to get to .500. Any bets? They've called up Hoard from the G league to fill in the roster. They're running out of room behind the bench for the injured, halt and lame. Denver (14-8) tonight, typically a tough match for the Blazers. Carmelo continues to play decently, and Whiteside continues to score double-doubles and block shots. Maybe they'll come together at some point and develop a decent passing game.
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Old 12-12-2019, 02:54 PM
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The Raptors have struggled their last few outings, starting slow, sometimes gaining momentum. No need for concern, but they need to get their 3-points back up, or be more aggressive in the paint. Turning over the ball less would help. But there have only been a few games where they weren’t competitive. And they have to move on from Kawai. He did a long time ago.
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  #114  
Old 12-15-2019, 02:41 PM
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The Raptors played much better last night against a decent Brooklyn team. Siakam played a good game. But still the slow start and Gasol coming through to keep them in the game. The duo of Gasol and Ibaka has wings.
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  #115  
Old 12-16-2019, 09:01 AM
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Some good news for POR: Nurkic has been working out, running steps, and scrimmaging . Observers say his movement is smooth and he is pain-free. He's not ready to return to the lineup yet, but he should be ready when Whiteside jumps ship for a more lucrative contract elsewhere.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:08 AM
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Hoping Spurs can still make playoffs. They need just one more to set all-time NBA record for consecutive playoff appearances.
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Old 12-17-2019, 11:19 AM
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Milwaukee is looking amazing, but credit where it's due to Dallas, who beat them in Milwaukee last night despite Giannis dropping 48.

Quote:
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Hoping Spurs can still make playoffs. They need just one more to set all-time NBA record for consecutive playoff appearances.
That would be 23 years in a row, in case anyone wondered; they're tied with the Sixers (who were originally the Syracuse Nationals.)

The record in any major North American sport is 29, held by the Bruins. Tops in the NFL is just 11, a streak the Patriots are on right now and presumably will extend to 12. I'm surprised some other dynasty didn't go longer, but that's it. The MLB record is 14, by the Braves.
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  #118  
Old 12-17-2019, 12:21 PM
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18 wins in a row is nothing to sneeze at.

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  #119  
Old 12-17-2019, 02:44 PM
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After a really crappy first half, the Blazers woke up and handed Phoenix another loss (one point) after trailing by 20 points. It went down to the wire. They were actually playing good defense in the second half, a rarity for this team. On Wednesday, they have a chance to make up for the embarrassing loss to GS early on. Don't fuck it up again!
  #120  
Old 12-17-2019, 03:16 PM
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I was never a fan of basketball. It always seemed to me that games were essentially decided by the first quarter, or that just the last five minutes mattered. Seeing a few games didnít change my opinion. But then the Raptors made the playoffs last year and continued to surprise.

But this year there are so many good teams that it has been a pleasure to watch many teams I previously had no interest in. But I still hold my old opinion. I tried to Google how many games were ďcloseĒ, and the NBA defines this as a game within 5 points with 2 minutes left (or a game that goes into overtime). I couldnít find out what percentage of games over time were close with a quick Google. (I did find records for teams from this year in close games, so could work it out for this season with a lot of math I donít want to do). Anyone know?
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  #121  
Old 12-17-2019, 05:23 PM
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I was never a fan of basketball. It always seemed to me that games were essentially decided by the first quarter, or that just the last five minutes mattered. Seeing a few games didnít change my opinion. But then the Raptors made the playoffs last year and continued to surprise.
This mainly hockey/footy/tennis dude shamelessly hopped onto the Raps bandwagon about five years ago when they started becoming a 50+ wins a season team, and prior to that, yeah, I wasn't the hugest bball fan, admittedly. Time will tell if I turn out to be a total and complete fairweather fan if they begin having, say, .400 seasons on an increasingly consistent basis, tbh. Mediocre stretches from the Canucks and Flyers (quite often much longer than I'd like) I'll always be able to ride out; guess it boils down to the sports you grew up with.

Anyhoos, last night they registered another should-win against a Tristan Thompson-less Cavs. Norman Powell's last three starts have been practically the best in his career - I'd really like to see him make it difficult for Nick Nurse to decide to get Fred Van Vleet back in the starting line-up (if FVV's knee ever heals - his return date keeps getting pushed back, and won't be playing tomorrow against Detroit). Whether Norm is pottng 3's or slamming dang crisp dunks , I hopes he continues his hot streak. For the last three or four years he's always been on the cusp of breaking out into something more, and hopefully this season he'll start to show signs of maintaining the higher level of play that many observers feel he's capable of.
  #122  
Old 12-17-2019, 06:51 PM
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But this year there are so many good teams that it has been a pleasure to watch many teams I previously had no interest in. But I still hold my old opinion. I tried to Google how many games were ďcloseĒ, and the NBA defines this as a game within 5 points with 2 minutes left (or a game that goes into overtime). I couldnít find out what percentage of games over time were close with a quick Google. (I did find records for teams from this year in close games, so could work it out for this season with a lot of math I donít want to do). Anyone know?
This is a hard thing to find. a formal statistic on so I just went through a few weeks of games and I think it's 25-30%.

That seems reasonably consistent to me with most sports, if you came up with a fair definition in each sport of what constitutes "close."

The observation that many games are decided in either the first quarter or the last few minutes of the game is definitely far LESS true; again, just looking at many games, it becomes quickly obvious that many games are won by teams that didn't win the first quarter (or did but then lost the lead in the second or third quarter) but didn't squeak it out late, either.

To continue with the stories, I became an NBA and Raptors fan when my then-girlfriend and I went to a game in 2000 basically because we'd never gone to one before. It was a great game; they beat Phoenix by one point and Vince Carter had one of the best games of his life, scoring 51. What blew me away, though, was the nature of the experience; you are so much closer to the game than is the case for baseball, hockey or (especially) football. It is an incomparably more awesome feeling; the crowd is intensely into it and the energy is palpable. As much as I love baseball, live MLB just can't match live NBA.

https://www.basketball-reference.com...002270TOR.html
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  #123  
Old 12-17-2019, 10:13 PM
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I realize the first quarter observation is often untrue. But I think more teams are competitive this year than usual? If youíre up twenty-five points at the quarter, odds are youíre the better team. If youíre up three points, it means almost nothing.
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  #124  
Old 12-18-2019, 12:03 PM
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Iíve cheered for the Raptors for a decade. But I used to follow hockey more. Iím not ashamed to say it took a good Raptors team to get me more interested.
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  #125  
Old 12-18-2019, 09:17 PM
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Mah Pacers beat the Lakers last night!
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Old 12-19-2019, 06:22 PM
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Crappy Raptors win in Detroit last night:

Marc Gasol out with a hamstring injury for a "period of weeks". This will suck, being the best defender on the team.

Norm Powell hurt his left shoulder, the same one last season that made him miss 21 games. As posted earlier, he had just been playing easily one of the best stretches of his career.

Both had to immediately leave the game.

At least Kyle has finally turned the corner since his injury, getting his 15th career triple double last night.

Serge Ibaka is gonna have to really step up in Gasol's absence.
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Old 12-20-2019, 02:06 PM
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Pascal Siakam is now announced as out indefinitely, too.

Any game the Raptors win in the next three weeks is a gift. They have lost half the talent on the team.
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  #128  
Old 12-20-2019, 02:48 PM
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The Bulls have entered the chat.
  #129  
Old 12-20-2019, 05:04 PM
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The separated shoulder is probably a more serious injury than a groin pull or knee contusion. But it’s painful to watch so many injuries. Still, they surprised last time, and are amazing playing teams under .500 - so hopefully their schedule cooperates.
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  #130  
Old 12-20-2019, 07:52 PM
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Raptors got 68 points in the first half. Looks like VanVleet, Lowry and Ibaka are stepping up. Dallas and Boston are better teams than Washington, of course.
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  #131  
Old 12-21-2019, 08:30 AM
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And the Wizards damn near beat them anyway. A win is a win, but an effort of that quality cannot beat a good team. Boston would have crushed them. They need Pascal back at the very least to beat good teams.

The East is incredibly stratified. Philly is 20-10, and they're only sixth. Only Brooklyn is around .500; the eighth place team is Charlotte at 13-18 and there are four teams below .333.

The West is almost as divided, although there's a few more teams in the running for the right to be annihilated in the first round.

The wild and crazy ideas about a mid season tournament and play-in games - I'm starting to warm up to them. The value of an eighth place playoff spot is, really, just a couple of playoff games' worth of gate revenue; those teams are almost always destroyed in the first round. Only five 8-seeds in the history of the NBA have won the first round, and two were in the old best-of-five format (and two were in shortened seasons.) Most of the time it's a lopsided joke.

I know a lot of folks hate the new ideas, but why not try it? Why does the playoff format have to the same as most leagues?
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Old 12-21-2019, 10:22 AM
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Blazers have managed to scrape together three wins in a row, with Orlando being the most recent victim. While it's true these are all mediocre teams at present, it's a boost to POR's morale. They may make it four against the T-wolves tonight. Portland's bench is just awful, though. I don't know how Anthony Tolliver is still in the NBA, honestly. Carmelo went out with a knee contusion after a collision, but it doesn't appear to be serious. The Blazers had 20(!) turnovers last night, so it was a good thing that Orlando couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat.
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Old 12-21-2019, 12:07 PM
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Why does the playoff format have to the same as most leagues?
So would the mid-season tournament establish the champion for that season, overall? Wouldn't that make the second half of the season a bit of a denouement? Or is it being suggested that there'd be another tournament at season's end? As in - two tournaments per season?
I myself would find it a bit jarring. I see the play-offs as the culmination of a full season's effort, especially for determining play-off seedings. Wouldn't a full season of play provide a more accurate sample size (or indicator) for seedings, as opposed to a half season of play? I suppose you could argue that the dominant teams have already established themselves by half season (most seasons), making seeding a bit of a slam dunk, but it just feels too...truncated? rushed? to already determine any sort of champion by then.
  #134  
Old 12-21-2019, 12:21 PM
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The Raptors scored 40 points in the first quarter. They didnít keep that pace up, but they did what was needed. The Wizards have a few good players.

Yeah, Siakam, Gasol and now Powell carry a lot of weight. But it was VanVleetís first game back and he surpassed expectations. McCaw did okay, with the go-ahead three. Hopefully the first two players above will be back for the Pacers, then Boston. A muscle strain can range from nothing to serious, but the fact they arenít day to day may be more concerning.
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Old 12-21-2019, 01:09 PM
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Hope I turn out to be dead wrong, but I'd be really surpirsed to see any players returning to play within four days after wrecking either their ham or groin, even if they're not serious cases.
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Old 12-21-2019, 01:48 PM
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If anything, it would be reckless. A team that's 20-8 in December doesn't desperately need anyone back. Much, much better for the key player to spend an extra week or two recuperating.

Teams like the Raptors aren't trying to win December, they're preparing to win playoff series in May.

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So would the mid-season tournament establish the champion for that season, overall? Wouldn't that make the second half of the season a bit of a denouement? Or is it being suggested that there'd be another tournament at season's end? As in - two tournaments per season?
No. So, my understanding is this:

1. The regular season would be shorted by 2-4 games.

2. The midseason tournament would be an all-NBA single-elimination tournament; it would probably start after Thanksgiving. (There being 30 teams, and not 32, I guess two teams will get a bye unless there's expansion.) The midseason would be played just for itself, a little extra reward.

3. The regular season then resumes and teams continue playing towards the playoffs to win what Kawhi Leonard calls the "Larry O-B."

4. At the conclusion of the regular season, each conference will have ten playoff teams, rather than eight. Seeds 1-6 all make it to the first round the way they do now; seeds 7-10 have to play single playoff games to decide which two teams get to go t the first full round, sort of like how MLB has Wild Card games.
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Old 12-21-2019, 03:08 PM
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Ah, thanks.

Guess you'll have to throw me into the boring old fuddy-dud camp, then.
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:27 AM
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I don't know how the midseason tournament would go over.

I am very fine with reducing the length of the season, though, and the play-in game idea for seeds 7-10.

Honestly, most sports leagues could have shorter seasons. The NHL is ridiculous just because 82 games pushes hockey into June, the NBA absolutely does not need 82 games, and MLB needs to hack a week off the schedule.
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Old 12-22-2019, 12:11 PM
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Indeed, most leagues could definitely use shorter seasons, and I'm confident it'll eventually happen.
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Old 12-22-2019, 01:37 PM
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Leagues, like any business, are largely about money. Given the emotional investment of fans, this has regrettable dimensions. And a longer season in a popular sport means more revenue. The idea may have some merit but won’t happen, since TV sponsorship and filled stadia help teams pay more for talent. Though sometimes overlong seasons seem silly.
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Old 12-22-2019, 05:19 PM
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Still not quite sure how the Raptors won that game when down by thirty. But they did, and I doubt Iíll soon see another game as odd as that one.
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Old 12-22-2019, 07:20 PM
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Saw the Globe & Mail article about possible NBA changes (article: The NBA is ahead of other leagues in realizing the regular season is insignificant).

Donít see it happening for monetary reasons. The NBA proposed 78 (not 82) plus a mid season tournament, and borrowed the idea of keeping lower teams involved from soccer. Maybe. But in soccer, the season matters because the regular season winner wins the cup.

This wonít happen until basketball canít fill stadia and win fat rebroadcast contracts. With current demographics, that wonít happen at all.
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Old 12-22-2019, 08:23 PM
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Still not quite sure how the Raptors won that game when down by thirty. But they did, and I doubt I’ll soon see another game as odd as that one.
I would not have bet a dollar to win a hundred they were going to come back. In fact, according to The Athletic, at one point Dallas was 99.9% likely to win, meaning that indeed, there's an excellent chance you won't see the Raptors do that again for the rest of your life. According to ESPN, in the last ten years, there have been 1,670 games in the last ten years in which one team was down by at least TWENTY points going in to the fourth quarter. Exactly three of those teams came back to win.

Unsurprisingly, today was the only time in Raptors franchise history they won a game they had been losing by 30.
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Old 12-23-2019, 11:26 AM
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Reflecting on the Raptors, if any game can show the momentum a home crowd can provide, it was surely shown in the fourth quarter.

To be fair, there were very significant injuries on both sides. And the third quarter was abysmal for Toronto. Still, Lowry rose in a way Iíve rarely seen. And it was benchers, my fave VanVleet only got ten points.
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Old 12-23-2019, 05:06 PM
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What's going on with New Orleans? They seem to have a solid starting lineup, but are really in the cellar. Portland plays them tonight.
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Old 12-27-2019, 07:46 PM
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Not sure. They’ve had a few good games but aren’t doing so well, even at home.

Raptors taking a well-deserved break. 4 games in 5 days; with injuries, they looked exhausted against a good Boston team.
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Old 12-28-2019, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr_Paprika View Post
Not sure. Theyíve had a few good games but arenít doing so well, even at home.

Raptors taking a well-deserved break. 4 games in 5 days; with injuries, they looked exhausted against a good Boston team.
Well, NO spanked Portland, who then went on to be spanked by Utah. Serious case of the red-ass at this point. Lakers next.
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Old 12-28-2019, 10:11 AM
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So would the mid-season tournament establish the champion for that season, overall? Wouldn't that make the second half of the season a bit of a denouement? Or is it being suggested that there'd be another tournament at season's end? As in - two tournaments per season?
I myself would find it a bit jarring. I see the play-offs as the culmination of a full season's effort, especially for determining play-off seedings. Wouldn't a full season of play provide a more accurate sample size (or indicator) for seedings, as opposed to a half season of play? I suppose you could argue that the dominant teams have already established themselves by half season (most seasons), making seeding a bit of a slam dunk, but it just feels too...truncated? rushed? to already determine any sort of champion by then.
I'd honestly rather the NBA just shorten the season. Make it 50 or 60 games. The mid-season tournament thing just complicates it all for everyone.
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Old 12-28-2019, 12:15 PM
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Looking at NBA stats in general the other day, I was struck by the fact that only one division has more than two teams over .500 (the Atlantic, which has four). Oops, just looked again, and it seems the NW now has three. . . barely. I'm guessing this is due to players chasing a championship ring, resulting in loading up some teams with most of the major talent available.
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Old 12-28-2019, 01:40 PM
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I'd honestly rather the NBA just shorten the season. Make it 50 or 60 games.
While I'd be inclined to agree with the your general point you are asking for the impossible. That is just far too much revenue lost - neither the owners nor the players would be willing to take a ~25-40% pay cut.

My fantasy goal would be a 72-74 game season to reduce back-to-backs and trim load management. But even that is asking for a whole lot.
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