Friday, May 14, 2004

Stern promising tighter schedule


Says postseason games too spread out

The Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO - Like most NBA fans, David Stern doesn't like the long wait between games this postseason. As the league's commissioner, he's going to do something about it.

"I can assure you it's going to be tighter next year," he said Thursday.

Stern said he reviewed a workup of the 2005 playoff schedule during his flight to San Antonio for Thursday night's Game 5 of the Spurs-Lakers series. It includes 14 days for a full series, down from as many as 17 this year, and less waiting time between rounds.

Because many NBA teams share arenas with NHL teams, there's the chance for conflict with the hockey playoffs.

"I don't envy our scheduling department," Stern said.

Another scheduling issue is the late hours that Western games finish for fans in the Eastern time zone, such as Minnesota's overtime victory in Sacramento on Monday night that ended about 2 a.m. in the East.

Stern said he was OK with it because moving up the 7:30 p.m. local start time "wouldn't be fair to their fans." He also noted that the ratings haven't suffered.

"All you can do is focus on who is watching when," he said. "The best judge is the ratings."

Stern also said the league and the players association met this week to discuss the collective bargaining agreement, and more meetings are being set up in hopes of reworking the existing deal.

"Both sides are determined to talk this through," he said.

HORNETS: Tim Floyd was surprised when he was fired as coach last week, and he believes unrealistic expectations led to his dismissal.

"I was shocked," Floyd said in a telephone interview. "I didn't feel any support from management, but I didn't see it coming."

Floyd said he knew owner George Shinn expected the Hornets to advance deep into the playoffs this season. But Floyd thinks that goal probably was too optimistic.

"We were picked to finish fourth before the season, and that was with a healthy Jamal Mashburn and Baron Davis," Floyd said. "I really don't feel that we did that bad of a job, given that we didn't have Davis and Mashburn for 48 games and we won only six fewer games than they won a year ago. I'm proud of our effort and proud of our guys."




REDS
Defensive decisions doom Reds
Miley tries shakeup in lineup for Jimenez

MORE BASEBALL
AL: Yanks' Lieber retires 11 straight - twice
NL: Cubs' Zambrano dominant again
Yanks' Posada speaks of quick return

XAVIER
Former XU, Royals star Piontek dies

PREP SPORTS
CovCath secures regional team title
Cleveland-area man will take OHSAA reins
Old, new talent shooting for state
Prep results, schedule

TENNIS
Navratilova heads to French Open

HORSE RACING
Maybe 4th try will be charm for Lion Heart

NBA
Stern promising tighter schedule

HOCKEY
Lightning take 2-1 lead over Flyers

AUTO RACING
NASCAR tracks to lose Nextel Cup races

GOLF
Lonard pulls his game together, shares Byron Nelson Classic lead

TV
Sports today on TV, radio

DIGEST
Sports briefs