Owners’ Meeting Vote Might See Stern Take 2-3-2 Finals Format Into Retirement


When NBA commissioner David Stern packs up his office at the end of his 30-year term Feb. 1, the cardboard box he totes out of Manhattan’s Olympic Tower might have something besides the expected papers, photos and mementos. It might include the 2-3-2 Finals format he helped usher in so long ago.

In the last scheduled Board of Governors meeting of Stern’s tenure, the competition committee’s unanimous recommendation to switch back to a 2-2-1-1-1 home/road schedule of games will be voted on Wednesday in New York. If approved, the switch likely would be made beginning with the 2014 Finals in June, NBA.com has learned.

A desire to align the NBA’s championship series with the format of its other postseason rounds (all 2-2-1-1-1), and questions about the 2-3-2’s effect on home-court advantage have been driving discussion of the change. Stern – who took over as commissioner on Feb. 1, 1984 – presided over the Finals-only switch that began in 1985. But air travel snags and fatigues prevalent when teams flew commercially have been alleviated by luxury charter flights.

Both Stern and his presumptive replacement, deputy commissioner Adam Silver, in recent months have expressed interest in the old format. The dynamic of the team with alleged home-court advantage losing one of the Finals’ first two games and then potentially not getting another home game has been cited as one issue. Others see the inordinate amount of pressure on the team hosting Games 3, 4 and 5 – better not lose! – as an alternative bit of unfairness.

For the record, the teams with Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 at home (if needed) have won 21 of the 29 Finals (.724), compared to a 26-12 mark (.684) for the 38 NBA/BAA championships through 1984.

Among other business at the BOG meetings Tuesday and Wednesday, representatives from Sacramento, Minnesota and Milwaukee were scheduled to brief their fellow owners and officials on arena developments in their markets.

The Kings are in the midst building a new facility, part of their push to stay in town rather than be relocated to Seattle. The Timberwolves have an agreement with Minneapolis for a $100 million renovation of Target Center. And the Bucks are seeking a deal with city and county authorities on the financing of a replacement for the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

The Milwaukee Journal reported Tuesday that team owner Herb Kohl, the retired U.S. senator who has delegated Bucks VP Ron Walter to handle recent BOG business, will attend and discuss the report.


  1. cp3 epic basketball says:

    i understand the tissue about the 2 3 2 but i think the 2 2 1 1 1 is worst because the team with a better record will likely have 4 0 series but if the home team losing the other will have a better chance that what i think

  2. Adam says:

    I’m glad the Timberwolves have a plan to renovate the Target Center and succeed in Minneapolis. As for Sacramento and Milwaukee, let one move to Seattle and the other to Las Vegas. Sacramento is close enough to the Bay Area and Milwaukee is close enough to Chicago. The dispersal would improve the league’s exposure domestically.

    Oh, and the 2-2-1-1-1 format sounds great!

  3. SG says:

    It’s all about balance. The current setup gives the home team an even greater chance of winning. The reason they changed it in the 80s, was because of the travel situation. (You know when some teams still bussed and took commercial flights.)

    I think a 2-2-1-1-1 Would be a lot more exciting!

  4. Guest says:

    I prefer the old format, as home court advantage to me means both that the ‘home’ team gets more home games during the series and also that at no point should the ‘away’ team have played more home games during the series. That said, I am surpised that home teams have fared slightly better under the new format, but my guess is that may be due to expansion or talent dilution/concentration since 1984 (in many Finals since then the home team has been the clear favorite, like the Bulls and the Lakers).

  5. Chris says:

    I like that idea Daine,make it just like they do it for the super bowl. Pick a city’s arena before the season starts, and have the 7 game series there.

  6. Daine says:

    I actually think the league should play all 7 games in a city where neither of the teams are considered to have home court advantage, for ex. if the two teams are Miami and OKC, Have them play their finals in New York or Brooklyn?

  7. TigerUppercut says:

    The 2-3-2 format is way better, all they have to do is allot an extra day in between games for resting. The point of homecourt is that you have to beat the home team on their home court DUH!, its like your David bringing down Goliath!


  8. No Regrets says:

    I don’t think convenience is the real reason, if that was it, it would have been changed many years ago.
    It has to do with the regular season. The current 2-3-2 format clearly favours the team with the home court advantage, meaning teams have extra motive for the top seed in the regular season, as it would give them a better advantage for the finals.
    This year, that the competition in the regular season is clearly going to be much better, there’s no reason left to maintain this format. It’s time to switvh to the 2-2-1-1-1 that actually helps for better series.

  9. Ryan modesto ca says:

    It will separate the men from the boys the best team will win no matter what if there the best

  10. Nam says:

    Whether or not teams have private means of transportation or not, the 2-3-2 format is better because having to travel back and forth for the the last three games of a seven game series is tiresome no matter how you slice it. I think the entire NBA playoff format (including the NBA Finals) should be 2-3-2.

  11. HKHS says:

    I like the current NBA Finals format of 2-3-2. If it’s not broke then don’t try to fix it. But I can understand why many NBA teams will be intrigued to bring back the old format of 2-2-1-1-1. However, if the ruling on the new format comes into effect, it will take time for teams to adjust to.

    • me says:

      why would it take time to get used to? the rest of the playoffs are designed the same way…please…that made no sense. the only reason it was ever implemented in the first place was money and convenience. because it was usually boston and LA in those series they had commercial flights and….well learn ur history of the league young man, i shouldn”t have to teach you everything…

      • oli says:

        Thank you Oh Genius for teaching us everything. You are a superb person and a really smart fan. I wish everybody had as much knowledge as you have… We all envy you Oh Master !