ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Stan Van Gundy has a request for the NBA: fewer days between games in the playoffs.
Never one to shy away from giving his opinion, the Orlando Magic coach said Wednesday before Game 2 against Charlotte that the league's first-round playoff format that spreads games out for prime-time television is difficult on teams.
"It's almost like you're on a high school schedule or a college schedule playing twice a week" in the first round, he said.
Don't get Van Gundy wrong: He understands the lucrative TV contracts the league has with networks, which slot games apart. But he'd rather see the NBA play back-to-back games in the playoffs like Major League Baseball or at least every other day.
"Baseball gets their whole playoffs and World Series done in like three weeks," Van Gundy said. "Us, it takes us the first round to go three weeks."
The Magic beat the Bobcats in Game 1 on Sunday. The teams had two days off before Wednesday's game, and they don't play again until Saturday in Charlotte.
The playoffs began April 17. The NBA finals will end in mid-to-late June.
Van Gundy suggested the NBA have back-to-back games in each city, then allow for a day off for travel. He said the first-round schedule throws teams off because it's so different from the regular season.
"The thing is they stretch all of it out in the first round for TV, and it really is strange because you get into a routine in the regular season where every once in a while you get a few days off. But for the most part, you're playing back-to-backs and every other day," he said.
Van Gundy also has been critical of the NBA playing on holidays. The Magic played on Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter among others this season.
But, as always, he understands the purpose behind the schedule.
"It's not the perfect schedule, but we all make a lot of money off TV and so for us to look at it and start griping about what we get from TV — we're all making money because of TV and because of the people out there that want to watch it," Van Gundy said. "So we'll spread them out and we'll play them when they tell us to play them."