A Nice Long Season

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
By Cliff Lummus

How many games are in an NBA season? That’s easy—82, right? That depends. In fact, less than half the league (the 14 teams that don’t make the Playoffs) actually stops at 82 games. For them, the offseason, the time when teams get to start regrouping, resting and reorganizing, began a little over a month ago. For the other 16 teams, the season carried on, the Hawks among them.

As we all know, the Hawks passed by Orlando in the first round to battle the Bulls to six grueling games in the conference semifinals. After two rounds of six-game Playoffs series, the Hawks finished the ’10-11 season having played 94 games.  This year’s Finals champions will have played no less than 100 games by the time the dust settles. That means that not only do they play roughly 25 percent more games than the bottom 14, but that they also have nearly two months less downtime between seasons.

Though the Lakers, Spurs and others didn’t make the deep Playoff push they had anticipated, those teams have nevertheless learned to adapt to consistently playing an extended season. As the Hawks continue to grow as a perennial Playoff contender and work to push deeper into the bracket every year, expect those offseason breaks to get shorter and shorter. Enjoy the summer break, Hawks fans, and here’s looking forward to the start of many more nice, long seasons.