FRANKLYWNOW - Dirk: Trim from 82 to 'mid-60s'

Dirk: Trim from 82 to 'mid-60s'

Dirk: Trim from 82 to 'mid-60s'

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DALLAS -- Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki sees no need for the NBA to experiment with the length of games.

The length of the season? Nowitzki would be all for shortening it significantly, although he realizes that business realities make that extremely unlikely.

"I think you don't need 82 games to determine the best eight in each conference," Nowitzki said Wednesday. "That could be done a lot quicker, but I always understand that it's about money, and every missed game means missed money for both parties, for the league, for the owners, for the players. I understand all that, and that's why I don't think it's going to change any time soon."
Nowitzki was piggybacking on the point made by Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra when asked about the league's experiment with a 44-minute game, which will be played by the Brooklyn Nets and Boston Celtics on Sunday.

"I don't think it's a matter of how long the game is," Spoelstra said. "I think there's too many games, to be frank. I think if there's some way to find a way to cut out some of the back-to-backs so there aren't 20-plus of them. I think that's the bigger issue, not shaving off four minutes in a particular game. But I'm open to seeing what happens with that.

"I think everybody probably agrees there's too many games in a short period of time."

Nowitzki said he would recommend that regular-season schedules be trimmed from 82 games to the "mid-60s," although he said it's not his place to say. Like Spoelstra, Nowitzki's biggest issue with the current format is the back-to-back games.

"Honestly, I never was a big fan of back-to-backs even when I was 20 years old," said Nowitzki, a 36-year-old entering his 17th NBA season. "I think that you should never have to play at the highest level there is two consecutive nights and flying in between. You obviously make it work. We have the best athletes in the world, we feel, but I think it hurts the product some. Last year, some teams get here for the fourth game in five nights and we've been sitting here on rest and just blow them out.

"I don't think it's good for the product, but I also understand that 82 games is where it's at. It's a business, and everybody's got to live with it."

Nowitzki sarcastically suggested that eight-minute quarters should be used for all preseason games, but he doesn't want to see the league shorten the length of regular-season and playoff games.

However, Nowitzki would like the league to look at the possibility of allowing fewer timeouts, especially at the end of games.

"It's such a fun, fast game," Nowitzki said. "Then there's one action and they score, OK, there's a timeout and you sit for two minutes. There's another action, they score, tie it up [and another timeout is called].

"There's no other sport where it's interrupted so much at the end. That's something that I would look at. Both teams are like, 'They have another timeout? Are you kidding me?' That's a little much, but other than that, I think the game's great."

Information from ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh contributed to this report.

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