Because of the possibility of the Staples Center in Los Angeles having the NBA’s Lakers and Clippers, as well as the NHL’s Kings, all in the playoffs, arena dates are limited.
If the Clippers defeat Memphis in their Game 7 on Sunday and advance to the second round, they would host San Antonio on Sunday, May 20. That would rule out the Thunder playing in L.A. that same Sunday and warrants the back-to-back in Game 4 on Saturday, May 19.
Meanwhile, the three-day break between a potential Game 6 and Game 7 is because the L.A. Kings are scheduled to host the Phoenix Coyotes on Thursday, May 24 in a potential Game 6 of the NHL’s Western Conference Finals. The Clippers also would host the Spurs in a potential Game 6 on Friday, May 25.
The Clippers and Lakers regularly play day-night double-headers throughout the regular season. But because it’s now the postseason, and the majority of games fall on weekdays, it would have been difficult for the league to schedule and execute a day-night game for two different teams to play a playoff game in the same building.
A potential Game 7 in the Thunder series couldn’t have been scheduled for Saturday, May 26 because the league had reserved Sunday, May 27 as the first possible date of the Western Conference Finals if both Western Conference semifinals ended in six games or less.
If necessary, Game 7 of the other Western Conference Semifinal series between the Spurs and the winner of the Clippers and Grizzlies also has been scheduled for Sunday, May 27.
The league annually attempts to design the schedule in a way that all conference semifinals end on the same day so that if both go to seven games each team has the same amount of rest.