When it comes to scheduling playoff games, the NBA usually gets its way. Whereas teams often have to go on long road trips during the regular seasons because of conflicts with rodeos and circuses (circi?), playoff games usually happen whenever the NBA wants them to. No one will ever have to play a back-to-back because of a previously scheduled Al B. Sure concert.
However, as the Bulls found out recently, there are some events that are way more important than a silly playoff game that decides who plays for an NBA championship. Like a gigantic taping of one of Oprah's final episodes, duh. From Barry Jackson for the Miami Herald (via Eye on Basketball):
The NBA informed a few involved parties before Tuesday's Bulls game that if the Heat and Chicago win their series in six games or fewer, Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals would need to be moved from Monday to Sunday night because the United Center likely is unavailable Monday to allow Oprah Winfrey's crew to set up for the taping of one of her final shows. If the Heat or Bulls series go seven games, Game 1 of the Eastern finals would be Wednesday.
The NBA has a lot of fans and a Derrick Rose/LeBron James matchup would be appointment television. But there's no way that they can compete with a global icon like Oprah, especially when she's on her version of a farewell tour. This woman made three difficult William Faulkner novels international bestsellers just by naming them as selections to her book club. A massive 21,000-person taping at the United Center is pretty obviously a huge deal. Maybe Shellac will perform!
The Bulls and Heat play their Game 6s on Thursday and Friday, respectively, so their hypothetical Game 1 would take place within a pretty typical playoff schedule. That extra day of rest could help both teams, but it's a luxury, not a necessity. So while it may sound silly to serious fans that the NBA has to move for a show that will probably involve everyone reaching under their seats to find a coupon for a free Salma Hayek at Hot Doug's, this schedule change is not going to cause any major problems.
Then again, maybe the Bulls will drop their last two games against the Hawks and Game 1 of the East finals will take place on Monday in Miami. Sadly, that game would bump the city's weekly public airings of the classic NBC sitcom "Good Morning, Miami" to Tuesday night at the American Airlines Center. Everyone will have to get their daily Mark Feuerstein fix some other way.