It’s a good thing the Rockets won last night, if only because that it means the painfully long basketball-less stretch we’re about to face will be slightly less painful. The NBA has confirmed to CBS Sports that no matter how quickly these conference finals wrap up, the Finals won’t begin until a week from Thursday.
If the Cavaliers finish off a sweep tonight, and the Warriors close things out in five tomorrow, the Finals still won’t start until June 4. They wouldn’t have moved it up even if both series ended in sweeps, which would have meant nine days between games.
“Too many logistical obstacles to overcome,” said a person involved in the decision.
Aside from arena availability, most of those logistics include travel and hotel bookings for the teams, NBA staff, and the media. (Though Game 1 of the Finals could take place in one of three cities, the major media outlets have already contingency-booked all three.) It’d be even harder for international media to change its plans.
Beyond that, the NBA needs to keep its TV partners and sponsors happy, and the networks and advertisers have planned on a very specific finals schedule. Here it is, by the way:
- Game 1: Thursday, June 4, 2015 - 8:30 p.m.
- Game 2: Sunday, June 7, 2015 - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 3: Tuesday, June 9, 2015 - 8:30 p.m.
- Game 4: Thursday, June 11, 2015 - 8:30 p.m.
- Game 5 (if necessary): Sunday, June 14, 2015 - 7:30 p.m.
- Game 6 (if necessary): Tuesday, June 16, 2015 - 8:30 p.m.
- Game 7 (if necessary): Friday, June 19, 2015 - 8:30 p.m.
Assuming the Cavs and Warriors take care of business, the long layoff could be a blessing for neutral fans. LeBron James is banged up and Kyrie Irving is lame, and a week of rest gives them a better chance at being closer to healthy, and us a better chance at a full-strength Finals matchup.