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David Stern throws ABC under the bus

Look, I've repeatedly said that I don't have a problem with the Pistons/Bucks series being played on NBA TV; it was godawful boring when compared with the ball being played in at least 6 of the remaining 7 series. And I'm willing to shrug off the 6:00pm start time to the Pistons clincher in Game 5 since the Cavs/Wizards were also playing in the Eastern time zone that night; entertainment won out.

But putting the Spurs and Mavs at 1:00 EST this past Sunday? Here were two 60-win teams -- one of which had just closed out a series 36 hours before -- playing the defacto Western Conference championship at noon local time? At 10am on the West Coast? I know Tim Duncan is (as an astute DC sports radio host noted yesterday) a ratings killer, but this was ridiculous. Even David Stern admits as much:

"If we had it to do over again, we wouldn't have acceded to the network's request on that one," Stern said on Monday night.

"We could lay it off on the network, but that's our responsibility, and we have the ability to say no. And we should have."

Well, karma's a bitch. While the West Coast was sleeping off the remnants of their Saturday nights, the Spurs were eeking out a mildly exciting 87-85 win over the Mavs. And what did those casual NBA fans coveted by ABC witness? A 27-point punking of the Chosen One courtesy of the Boys in Blue.

Slight digression: Looking at that quote from Stern, he really is a master politician, isn't he? In two sentences, while speaking words that suggest the Spurs/Mavs slight wasn't ABC's fault, he managed to inform everyone listening that it was indeed ABC's request that put "The Lebron James Show" in the attractive 3:30 EST timeslot. That's cold-blooded.

Stern says league erred in giving Spurs early game [ESPN]