OKC Thunder notebook: NBA likely to return to 2-2-1-1-1 Finals format

by Anthony Slater Published: September 29, 2013
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photo - NBA BASKETBALL: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant answers a question during a press conference for Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Saturday, June 16, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman
NBA BASKETBALL: Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant answers a question during a press conference for Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Saturday, June 16, 2012. Photo by Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman

Two seasons ago, the Thunder left Oklahoma City tied 1-1 with the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

By the time they returned home, the series and season were over, coming to a close with three consecutive crushing losses in South Florida.

Could the Thunder have flipped momentum and provided a bit more series drama if Game 5 was played in front of their home crowd? We'll never know.

The NBA Finals 2-3-2 home and away format is different from the typical 2-2-1-1-1 administered during the earlier rounds of the playoffs. It has been that way since 1985, implemented as a way to make travel easier for those covering and working the event.

And it has become unpopular over the years, with advocates for both the higher and lower seed arguing competitive balance issues both ways.

But that, finally, looks like it's going to change.

The NBA's Competition Committee — made up of a select group of owners, general managers, coaches and one player — agreed on Sunday to unanimously switch the Finals format back to a 2-2-1-1-1 home and away schedule, according to a report by the Boston Herald.

It still requires approval from the league's owners, but that's expected. It's not clear when this change would go into effect, if approved.

GRANT JERRETT TO SIGN WITH THE TULSA 66ERS

When Thunder camp opened this weekend, there was one notable absentee.

Grant Jerrett, the 6-foot-11 second-rounder from Arizona who went to OKC on a draft night trade, wasn’t at Media Day and hasn’t attended the early practices.

That’s because Jerrett is expected to sign a deal and start the season with the Tulsa 66ers, allowing the Thunder to maintain his draft rights.

If he joined OKC in camp, and was subsequently cut – a likely scenario with a roster already stacked to the brim – the Thunder would no longer hold those rights.

So, it seems, there is a mutual understanding between the two parties. Jerrett, a 19-year-old sharpshooter with plenty of upside, is able to groom his craft for a nearby D-League team, allowing him to stay connected to the parent club.


by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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