Details of 66-game schedule start to emerge

With the NBA clamoring to win fans back, it's likely each team will play LeBron James and the Heat at home. (Ron Cortes/Staff file photo)

UPDATED: The New York Times via Howard Beck is reporting that the league's compressed schedule will run from Dec. 25 to April 26, and teams will average about two extra games per month.

Every team will play at least one back-to-back-to-back set (games on three consecutive nights), and up to three back-to-back-to-back sets during season.

Teams will play 48 games in-conference (four fewer than usual) and 18 games out-of-conference. That means not all teams will visit all cities, as previously expected. Teams usually play 30 out-of-conference games.

The playoffs will be compressed, as expected, with at least one back-to-back set in the second round.

FROM EARLIER: In case you are wondering, the NBA and the players did not pull 66 out of thin air for the number of games that could be played this season.

You will remember before talks broke down previously and games for the first two weeks of December were canceled, the number was 72, also divisible by six.

The league has not announced a schedule or even a format for playing 66 games, but here is one theory making the rounds: With 66 games, teams could play the four other teams in their division four times each (two home and two away) and play every other team in the league in a home-and-home format. Each team would play 33 games on the road and 33 at home.

The Sixers would face Boston, New York, New Jersey and Toronto four times apiece.

Opening Day is Dec. 25, with three games scheduled for national TV. That means virtually everyone else will start with Dec. 26. The Sixers will open on the road and could play their first five or six games on the road because of Disney on Ice at the Wells Fargo Center.

At a time when the league needs to win some fans back, the idea of denying everyone the chance to see LeBron or Kobe at least once was not ideal.

The start of the playoffs is expected to be pushed back one week to the last week in April.

If you look at the original Sixers schedule, they would have played 57 games between Dec. 26 and the end of the season, set for April 18.

The pace will be faster in terms of number games played per week, and there could be plenty of ugly road trips, and even some ugly hoops, given the shortened training camp and the lack of time for new players to get acclimated. But the season should be long enough to allow for teams to recover from a slow start.