Sounds counterintuitive: The NBA creating a rule to speed up the game of basketball.
The league has had to crack down on loitering -- late starting times caused by players who are performing their choreographed rituals and routines with teammates before tip-off.
They are now on the clock: After a warning, clubs can be hit with a delay-of-game penalty (technical foul, ensuing free throw) if players are not on the floor 90 seconds after player introductions. A horn goes off with 30 seconds to go.
The Celtics and Kings apparently have received warnings this preseason.
Like most things, the players took their intricate handshakes, chest-bumps and dance moves too far.
The rule actually is in their best interest. Referees were already peeved having to wait on them, knowing they would then have to endure two-and-a-half hours of complaining about calls, speaking of Dwight Howard.
Howard and the Magic were notorious slowpokes.
I wouldn't be surprised if Dawdling Dwight factored into the birth of the new ordinance, considering he held up the start of more nights than bad weather or leaky roofs. Everyone waits for Dwight – teammates and coaches, be it on the bus or on the plane; why not officials?
Lakers fans won't care because they don't arrive until the second quarter anyway.
The NBA is partially to blame. They market stars such as Dwight, and stars feel like celebrities, and hey, everyone waits for the actor to arrive on the set or for the diva to step on stage. But I don't want to wait for Bruce Springsteen or Beyonce' more than necessary, certainly not 82 times a year.
"The NBA is going to do what the NBA wants to do," Big Baby Davis shrugged. "All I say is, don't take away the color of the game. Minimize it, yes. Just take don't take away the color."
Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant blasted the new rule, saying fans enjoy the sideline antics. "To cut that down makes no sense. Why would you do it?"
Uh, while were young?
Like the Thunder, the Magic held up the opening tip for several minutes at times.
After teammates went through their silly conga handshake line, Howard, always the last one to the scorer's table, wiped his feet on a lint-brush board. He wadded up the tape from the board in a ball and, mimicking a jump-shot with several shoulder-wiggling moves, threw it into the stands.
Lines at the DMV move faster…
After referees usually blew a whistle to hurry up the tardy parties, Jameer Nelson bumped his head into Dwight's chest in their Mutt & Jeff routine. Dwight then tapped Jameer on the head and they walked onto the court. But not in the vicinity of the center-jump circle.
Their act wasn't over.
The earth cooled in less time…
While officials took their positions, Jameer ran out and grabbed the net on the far end of the basket. He pointed to then-general manager Otis Smith, who was occupying his usual spot in the tunnel. Smith nodded back.