NEW YORK—Stressing that U.S. professional basketball remains woefully behind foreign leagues in maintaining close and exciting games, the NBA unveiled a new initiative Friday intended to reduce garbage time by 50 percent. “We’re hoping that by 2017 at least half of the closing minutes identified as a complete and total waste can be eliminated,” said NBA spokesperson Mark Broussard, who claimed that the effort will target the endings of blowouts that are rarely consumed by viewing audiences, which could ideally be repurposed into exciting back-and-forth finishes. “Teams are beginning to recognize that a 25-point win is unnecessary and excessive, and we’re optimistic that this program will encourage them to take only the points they actually need heading into the end of the fourth quarter. If they are able to trim these enormous leads, we expect this initiative to go a long way toward improving the game’s competitive environment and NBA sustainability.” Broussard added that league conservationists are also reevaluating the benefits and efficiency of fueling crowd noise with electrifying dunks.