Prior to Game 3 against the Boston Celtics Wednesday night, there was a bizarre issue with one of the basketball hoops. During their pregame warm-ups at Boston’s TD Garden arena, Golden State noticed the basket they were shooting on seemed a little high. They measured and confirmed the rim was set two inches too high.
The basket being off by two inches for an NBA Finals game seems like kind of a big deal. Cheating? Gamesmanship? Just an honest mistake? Whatever it was, Kerr didn’t seem too concerned when he was asked about it before the game, claiming, “it happens every once in a while.” Kerr especially wasn’t concerned about there being enough time to fix the issue before tip-off.
"It's a good thing the game starts at midnight." ?
Steve Kerr jokes about the height of the hoop being off and the late start time pic.twitter.com/XykamGTX9M
— Warriors on NBCS (@NBCSWarriors) June 8, 2022
“It’s a good thing the game starts at midnight. Plenty of time to fix it,” Kerr jokingly told reporters, a not so subtle jab at the NBA for setting start times of the Finals so late into the night.
For years, the NBA has been criticized for starting Finals games after 9pm ET on weeknights. It makes it difficult to develop younger fans of the game when they can’t stay up late enough to watch the sport’s championship games. Not to mention, it’s also difficult for some adults who have to get up for work the next morning. At least adults will always have the option of watching the first quarter and taking a nap before waking up in time to watch the end of the game.
The last time the NBA Finals took place without at least one game having a 9pm tip was the 2003 Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and New Jersey Nets, ABC’s first year in its current tenure as host of the championship series.
I get that the NBA leans on data to determine which start time will generate the best ratings and it’s designed to account for West Coast fans, but that doesn’t eradicate the fact that a 9pm tip is annoyingly late for us East Coast folk.
Wednesday night’s Game 3 tipped off at 9:08pm ET and didn’t end until after 11:30pm. The NBA is not alone in this criticism, Major League Baseball regularly forces its East Coast fans to wait until well after midnight to see the end of a World Series game.