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Coaches Kevin McHale of the Houston Rockets and Monty Wiliams of the New Orleans Hornets have chimed in on the possibility of the NBA shortening the length of its games.
“With the NBA announcing that it would experiment with a shorter game on Sunday, reducing the game by one minute per quarter, Rockets coach Kevin McHale and Pelicans coach Monty Williams believed that if the NBA made such a change, role players would have their time cut while stars continue to play as much as ever.
“‘I can see the benefits of it,’ Williams said. ‘You cut out 6.8 games per season. That’s a lot of wear and tear to cut down on your guys. Yet, traditionally, we’re a 48-minute game. That’s something that would be weird. It changes your time outs, It changes your rotation. It hurts role players.
“‘The one thing I know is you don’t want to lose fans. The one way to keep fans is to have better flow. I’m not sure shortening the game helps or cutting out time outs. A few things that could help is (reducing) the number of fouls, maybe cutting out hack-a-Shaq. Those games get pretty ugly.’
“In the experimental game on Sunday between the Nets and Celtics there will be one fewer mandatory time out in the second and fourth quarters.
“‘I know there’s one way to shorten the game up,’ McHale said. ‘If there’s a hair less whistles the game might be shorter, too. I guess we’ll trim minutes.
“‘Probably your reserves are not going to play quite as much. I think you’re still going to play your stars 34, 35, 36 minutes. I know what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to get the pace of the game to go faster.'”
McHale also raved about rookie playmaker Kostas Papanikolaou in an Oct. 13 interview with Feigen’s colleague at The Houston Chronicle, Jenny Dial Creech:
“Rockets coach Kevin McHale is looking for playmakers this season since the team lost one when Chandler Parsons left over the summer to head to Dallas.
“One of the guys who can make things happen on the floor, McHale said, is rookie Kostas Papanikolaou.
“Papanikoklaou is quickly adjusting to the NBA after playing professionally overseas since 2008 but is making his debut in the league this year.
“‘I like what I see of him,’ McHale said. ‘He knows how to play, makes plays, drive with the purpose of making the next play. Sometimes the next play is scoring, sometimes the next play is passing. He has good basketball sense which helps a great deal.’
“The Rockets have several offensive weapons and McHale is hopeful that Papanikolaou can add to the mix.
“‘I think he is going to have to be one of our playmakers,’ McHale said. ‘A lot our playmaking is going to be done by James, of course. We have a lot of playmaking by Dwight in the post. Papanikolaou is another guy who is going to have to create offense for others.'”
Papanikolaou arrived in Houston in mid-September. Here is an excerpt of his first blog on the Rockets’ official website:
“Trevor Ariza was the first teammate I met while in Houston. What a great guy. He took me out for lunch, along with Isaiah Canaan and Troy Daniels. It was a wonderful gesture from Trevor. Of course I had the chance to catch up with Pat (Beverley). The minute he saw me he started talking trash in Greek! I feel fortunate that I will have my old teammates like Pat, Josh (Powell) and Joey (Dorsey). It will help me adjust faster.
“I feel really good within the team. We scrimmaged once, while I have been here. I am the same age with most of my teammates, so we have a lot of things in common. I love it here.
“I had the chance to talk with coach McHale. He asked me not to become soft here in the NBA and he wants me to play as tough as I did in Europe. He wants me to focus on defense and be a great rebounder. He deosn’t want me to hesitate to take the open shots, especially from the corners. Not to have second thoughts about shooting it. He explained to me that a player which is tough on defense, rebounds well and has a good shooting percentage, is going to have a long NBA career because every team needs someone like that.”