Matinee Games Taking It’s Toll on Pace, Offense


Have you wondered how many matinee games or afternoon games are scheduled? I have noticed that I got bored anytime I watch those games. In this article while you may find the impact of matinee games on pace, offensive and defensive efficiencies; it would be more interesting to learn insights of NBA players who are being forced to play afternoon games at the times they are not get used to be on the court. Also from a fan standpoint, especially on Sundays, I would rather consider doing alternative things than attending an early NBA game.




First of all, as I always can't stop repeating: Only NBA 2007-2008 regular season data set is used.  Results may tend to fluctuate from season to season.  Let's start with matinee games sorted by tip-off time. In this study, games started earlier than 4:00 (ET) accepted as a matinee game.


      Accepted as a afternoon game    
Game time   12:00 12:30 1:00 2:00 2:30 3:30 TOTAL
Number of games 3 4 11 6 5 11 40


      Accepted as a night game                  
Game time   4:00 5:00 5:30 6:00 6:30 7:00 7:30 8:00 8:30 9:00 9:30 10:00 10:30 TOTAL
Number of games 2 1 1 18 3 143 81 113 67 62 16 41 67 615



So far in the ongoing season, we have had 40 early games (5.18%) out of total 655 games played. With each team played at least 41 games, sample size for matinee games is not big enough to get statistically significant results but it's worth a shot to learn whether game time has impact on pace, offensive and defensive efficiencies.


        Afternoon Games Night Games Differential
Pace 90.3 91.1 +0.80
Offensive Efficiency 106.0 107.9 +1.82
Defensive Efficiency 106.3 109.6 +3.31


Now we can draw a conclusion from comparison between afternoon games and night games:


(1) Pace  is at 90.3 which is 0.8 possessions lower in afternoon games,

(2) Offensive efficiency increases 1.82 points per 100 possession,

(3) Defensive efficiency is 3.31 points per 100 possession better in afternoon games.


If you love up-tempo games with most of the shots falling in, don't expect it happen in early games!