The NBA travel schedule, with travel across four time zones, is as difficult as it comes.
NFL teams routinely travel as far, but only play once a week. MLB teams play more often, but spend four to five days in each city, making for less distance traveled.
NBA teams on average play slightly more than three games a week over a 26-week regular season. And they go far, with most teams traveling well more than 64,000km over the regular season.
All that travel could also be having an effect on results. Solidified by LeBron James’ move west, the Western Conference has much of the NBA’s best talent
While the conference is on the wrong side of another imbalance, distance traveled — the Trailblazers, Clippers, Lakers, Warriors and Timberwolves are to be in the top five this season — there is new research that indicates Western Conference teams might have an edge when traveling.
How much does that have to do with a talent differential, and how much is down to the direction of travel?
“It’s true that east-to-west travel has a greater effect on performance, but it all depends when a team leaves the east coast to play west coast teams along with what time the games are played,” said Bill Burgos, a performance consultant and former head strength and conditioning coach for the Orlando Magic.
A disruption in the body’s circadian rhythm might be at the root of the problem. This scrambling of the body clock is multiplied by the number of time zones traveled.
It is just one more home-court advantage for west coast teams, hosting sleepy teams from the east.
Other research points to the general negative influence of air travel on health and recovery for every team.
When traveling on a plane, breathing air from a pressurized cabin, the amount of oxygen stored in the blood drops to a level that might alarm a family physician during a checkup, the research showed.
That, in combination with prolonged sitting, can lead to stiff muscles and joints, impeding recovery.
If any league is trying to optimize health, playing games during natural peaks in internal alertness — late afternoon or evening — might protect players from fatigue-related injury.
As Golden State Warriors point guard Quinn Cook knows, recovery from travel can take time.
“The most difficult trip is the one back from the east coast; it usually takes me two to three days to get adjusted,” he said.
Of course, not every road game stress is related to the circadian clock.
Some team’s cities — notably Miami, Los Angeles and New York — derive a “home-court advantage” from their weather and nightlife. Travel to those cities can cause a sudden outbreak of “flu-like” symptoms.
Of course, many might have difficulty pitying players that travel first class in chartered planes, jet-setting to exciting cities.
Nevertheless, if you are rooting for your favorite NBA team to win on the road, you better hope that those perks keep their circadian rhythms running as smoothly as a Swiss watch.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on