NEW YORK — NBA owners voted unanimously Wednesday to change the Finals format to 2-2-1-1-1 after nearly 30 years of a 2-3-2 format. The change will take place effective for the 2014 Finals in the spring.
Commissioner David Stern called it an “easy sell” to owners to help add competitive balance and align the Finals schedule with the rest of the playoffs. To ease the transition, an extra day off will be added between Games 6 and 7.
“There’s been a sense among our teams that in a 2-2 series, it’s not fair for a team with the better record to be away [for Game 5],” Stern said after the league’s board of governors annual preseason meeting. “It’s not fair for the better team in terms of record to spend as many as eight days away from home.”
Stern said that one of the first conversations he had as commissioner in 1984 was with then-Boston Celticspresident Red Auerbach, who complained about the demands of travel after several Finals between his team and theLos Angeles Lakers. Stern led the change to the 2-3-2 by 1985, which was also done to encourage more media coverage of the Finals.