League revamps schedule to provide more rest between games

Thu Aug 13, 2015 4:08pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers will reprise their championship clash in a Christmas Day showdown during a 2015-16 NBA schedule that slashes the number of times teams play four games in five days.

Bowing to complaints by players and teams that there have been too many games bunched close together in recent years, the National Basketball Association has responded.

It has trimmed games on back-to-back days from an average last season of 19.3 occurrences per team, to 17.8 this season in the schedule announced on Thursday.

More significantly, it has taken drastic action by slicing the number of times teams play four games in five days. Last season there were 70 such instances, but this season there will be only 27.

The changes, which have been made without increasing the length of the season, reflect enlightened self interest by the league.

There has been a significant increase in recent years of top teams resting their best players periodically during the regular season in an effort to keep them fresh and healthy for the playoffs.

This has not always been received well by fans, who expect to see the biggest stars, or the league, which wants its best talent showcased in every game.

The tilt between the NBA champion Warriors and runner-up Cavaliers will be part of a Christmas Day schedule of five nationally televised games.

The season begins with three games on Oct. 27, including the Warriors at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Larry Fine)