Bulpett: Celtics will play 76ers in London in January

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Bulpett: Celtics will play 76ers in London in January

Post by 112288 on Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:30 pm

Bulpett: Celtics will play 76ers in London in January


Steve Bulpett

LAS VEGAS -- The NBA’s Board of Governors has approved a number of changes for the 2017-18 season designed to improve game flow, and the Celtics will get to try them out overseas.

According to involved sources, the Celts will meet the 76ers in London next January. The schedule for the coming season is expected to be released next month, with the league’s Global Games potentially being announced prior to that.

The Celtics-Philadelphia matchup will be a regular season affair -- not an exhibition -- and will be a 76ers home game. That means Philly fans will have one fewer opportunity to see Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz, the third and first overall picks from last month’s draft, respectively, involved in the major pre-draft trade between the clubs.

The game will be on Thursday, January 11th at The O2 Arena, the same site where the Celtics met Minnesota in a preseason game in October 2007.

The upcoming season will begin earlier and have fewer exhibition games as the league attempts to cut down on player fatigue by stretching the schedule over more days. Veterans have to report by September 25th, and the regular season will open a week earlier than usual on October 17th.

Once the games begin, the most visible changes will be in a quicker pace to the last few minutes. Teams will have seven timeouts per game instead of nine, and they may now use just two timeouts in the last three minutes of a game, rather than the previous allowance of as many as three per team in the last two minutes.

And say goodbye to 20-second timeouts. All breaks will now be 75 seconds, where previously full timeouts had been 90 seconds and the so-called 20-second timeouts were actually 60 seconds in length.

Commissioner Adam Silver said the length of games has already been cut back “from around 2 hours and 23 minutes or so to about 2 hours and 15 minutes. We’re pretty happy with the length of the game.

“We were more focused here on the pace and flow of the game,” he said. “What we heard from our fans and heard from many of our teams was that the end of the games in particular were too choppy. I think since I was a kid, that’s an issue people have been talking about, the last two minutes of our game. We think these new changes will have a significant impact, especially at the end of the game. Overall, we’ve gone from 18 to 14 timeouts.”

There can, of course, still be additional stoppages in play late in games if replays are warranted, but the league is hoping the fewer timeouts will make for fewer stops and starts. Additionally, halftime breaks will be more uniform, with the 15-minute countdown beginning immediately after the second period concludes.

Another change may cut down on the stress for fans and teams and for players potentially on the block. The February trade deadline will now be the Thursday 10 days prior to the All-Star Game rather than the Thursday four days after. This season’s deadline will be February 8th.

“The motivation for moving the trade deadline before All-Star was the sense that it was more unsettling to have a player traded right after the All-Star break, that the All-Star break would have been an opportunity for the player to move himself, his family, get his family readjusted and get readjusted to the new team when they have that four- or five-day period to do that,” Silver said. “So it was really no magic to it. It was something we’ve discussed for several years.”

If a player scheduled to appear in the All-Star Game should be traded to the opposite conference, Silver said it was decided that “rather than having a hard-and-fast rule, let’s make the decision at the time... We’ll deal with it when it happens.”


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