NBA playoffs

Report: Big changes proposed to NBA schedule starting next season

Report: Big changes proposed to NBA schedule starting next season

The NBA's 75th anniversary season in 2020-21 could see some significant changes to the league's regular and postseason schedules.

The NBA and its players' association and broadcast partners are "in serious discussions" to bring major changes to the league calendar beginning next season that include shortening the season to 78 games, adding play-in games in each conference, re-seeding its final four teams in place of traditional conference finals and playing a 30-team in-season tournament, according to an ESPN report.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe reported that the NBA hopes to bring the changes to a vote before its board of governors in April.

A quick breakdown of the proposals:

PLAY-IN GAMES
The eighth and final team in the playoffs in each conference would be determined by a four-team tournament where No. 7 seed plays No. 8 and No. 9 would play No. 10. The winners of those games would then meet to determine who gets the final playoff spot. 

RE-SEEDING THE FINAL FOUR
Rather than the top two teams in the East and West play in a conference final, the league would re-seed its final four teams based on record. For example, under that format, last spring's Golden State Warriors-Toronto Raptors NBA Finals series would've been one semifinal and the Houston Rockets would've played the Milwaukee Bucks in the other, with the winners meeting in the Finals.

IN-SEASON TOURNAMENT
Similar to European soccer, all NBA teams would take a break from their normal regular-season schedules a post-Thanksgiving tournament that would consist of regularly scheduled division games culminating in an eight-team knockout round (six division winners and two wild cards). The ESPN report says the proposal includes added financial incentives for players and coaches in the in-season tournament.

SHORTENED SEASON
The additional games from an in-season tournament and potential play-in games would lead to the regular season being shortened to 78 games. 

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Kings, which tips off Monday at 7 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Tommy have the call of the game at 7:30 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

 

 

Danny Ainge: 'Too many individual goals' hindered young Celtics

Danny Ainge: 'Too many individual goals' hindered young Celtics

Looking back at a Celtics season that ended in a disappointing second-round playoff exit and on the eve of free agency, Danny Ainge said the team was hindered by players with too many individual goals and not enough focus on winning.

"I felt like at some point in the year, players will accept a role. We just had too many individual goals, like we didn't have enough guys that winning was the most important thing," the Celtics president of basketball operations said at the team's annual corporate partner's summit in Newport, R.I. 

Ainge didn't name individual players, but reports of dissatisfaction with roles and playing time emerged throughout the season and after the Celtics were eliminated by the Milwaukee Bucks. 

"When you have 21- and 22-year-old kids, that's going to happen. I like them and I understand where every player is. I was that player. Yes, I wanted to be an All-Star and yes, I wanted more shots. I used to celebrate every time [Larry] Bird didn't play," Ainge said, relating his own experience on the great Celtics teams of the '80s. "Are you kidding? That's more shots..." 

Watch the attached video for his complete comments.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Happy 31st birthday, Larry Bird vs. Dominique Wilkins Game 7 duel

Thirty-one years ago today, the old Boston Garden was the site of one of the great superstar duels the NBA has ever seen.

Larry Bird vs. Dominque Wilkins. Celtics vs. Hawks. Eastern Conference Semifinal Game 7.

On a Sunday afternoon, in the first of a Garden playoff doubleheader (the Bruins and Edmonton Oilers would play Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final later that night), the two Hall of Famers staged a one-on-one battle to remember.

Bird and the Celtics came out on top, 118-116. Wilkins finished with 47 points - 12 in the fourth quarter - on 19-for-33 shooting. Bird had 20 of his 34 points in the fourth and was 15-for-24 for the game. And, in an ode to how different a game the NBA was then - each player only hit one 3-pointer. 

Tommy Heinsohn was the CBS analyst for the game with Brent Musburger doing the play-by-play. Former Celtics coach Doc Rivers was in Atlanta's backcourt. Heinsohn and Rivers looked back at the game with the voice of the Celtics.

Heinsohn: "Once it started to happen, you just saw the desire of both these players." 

Rivers: "The crowd here was amazing. I gotta tell you, I fell in love with the Celtic crowd in this game."

The Celtics would go on to lose to the Detroit Pistons in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals, but this game provided a lasting memory from that postseason.

Perhaps Musburger put it best after another late Bird drive and finish: "You are watching what greatness is all about."

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.