Between Games 2 and 3 of the Thunder’s Western Conference semifinal series against the Grizzlies, the Bulls, Hawks, Lakers and Mavericks all play twice. The Heat and Celtics share the same three-day layoff as Oklahoma City and Memphis. Three excruciatingly long days without Thunder basketball, and one day without any NBA basketball at all, is too much. And ridiculous.
The Oklahoman offered the NBA’s reasoning for the three-day layoff in its notebook Thursday, but it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. There was no game Thursday because the Spurs-Grizzlies series might have gone the full seven games? Well, what’s the excuse for Heat-Celtics then? In the NHL, where men are men and hockey players, like honey badgers, just don’t give a snot, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins played Games 6 and 7 of their first-round series on back-to-back nights in different cities. That may be a little much, but the point remains the same. There’s no need for such a long layoff.
So seriously, NBA decision-makers: Enough is enough. This is all the more ridiculous when you consider that there’s only one day off in between games during the rest of the series. Sure, Thunder fans are a little bit more OK with this in light of Serge Ibaka’s ankle injury, but still. In any case, the layoff got me thinking about what else can take place in the 91 1/2 hours between the start of Games 2 and 3 of this series.
1. More than half of a war.
The Israelis engaged Egypt, Syria and Jordan in the Six-Day War from June 5 to 10, 1967, in the process taking control of several areas (namely the Gaza Strip and West Bank) that remain sources of controversy today. The short duration of the conflict made the Yom Kippur War of 1973, which involved mostly the same combatants and took place from Oct. 6 to 25, 1973, seem like a marathon in comparison.
Of course, if you want to get technical, you could fight more than 100 wars in the three days between Thunder-Grizzlies games as long as the war you’re fighting is the Anglo-Zanzibar War of Aug. 27, 1896. It lasted only about 40 minutes. But I hardly think that should qualify as a true war, seeing as how it involved the shelling of only one building — although that building was Zanzibar’s royal palace. I’m sure the Zanzibarians think it was a war, but I don’t.
(Also, if this isn’t the first reference to the Anglo-Zanzibar War in an NBA blog, color me surprised.)
2. A flight to the Moon with room to spare.
The Apollo missions took about 76 hours to get from Florida to the Moon. So if astronauts blasted off at the final horn of Game 2, they’d have time to fly to the Moon, take a long nap, have some breakfast and get in a round of lunar golf before having to ponder Game 3. Heck, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin only spent about 21 1/2 hours on the surface of the Moon during Apollo 11, and only about 50 minutes of that was spent walking on the lunar surface. Seems like a long way to go for only 50 minutes of real action.
3. Two hundred and three preambles of “The Decision.”
That’s right, it only seemed like three full days between the start of ESPN’s “The Decision” and the moment when LeBron James told us he was taking his talents to South Beach. The television program started at 8 p.m. CDT with some talking heads in a studio, and Jim Gray didn’t get to the part where James actually told us where he was going until 8:27 p.m.
So if you’re a masochist, you could watch those 27 minutes more than 200 times in the span between tipoff of Games 2 and 3. Or you could listen to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” about 1,400 times if you’re a masochist to the point of wishing you were dead. Just watch the stoner flick “Friday” 60 times instead.
4. A walk 80 percent of the way from Oklahoma City Arena to the FedEx Forum.
The shortest driving distance between Oklahoma City Arena and the FedEx Forum in Memphis is 460 miles, according to Google Maps. Let’s say you tried to get a ticket to Game 2 from a scalper, but you couldn’t because a ton of them got arrested. So, because for some reason your only method of transportation is walking, you decide to hoof it to Memphis without taking a break and see if you can make it to FedEx Forum in time for Game 3. Most people’s walking pace is about 4 mph, so that means you could make it about 366 miles, which is 80 percent of the way from downtown OKC to downtown Memphis. So mix in a little bit of jogging, or maybe a spell of hitchhiking, and you could probably make it.
5. A third of a cricket match.
Well, a third of the longest-ever cricket test match anyway, which took place over nine days (10, if you include a rain-out) in South Africa in a match between the home country and England in 1939. And in fairness, many cricket matches now last only one day, with some still sticking to the old school three-to-five day span. And cricket is just crazy, so maybe this is a bad example.
But if cricketers can play grueling matches over several days, you’d think supremely conditioned, well-paid NBA athletes with access to top-notch nutrition experts, medical professionals, strength and fitness trainers and charter flights with plush accommodations could do with fewer than three days off, don’t you? Let’s get on with the show. Down with three-day in-series playoff layoffs, now and forever.