@metro: the whole football system in Europe is much more complicated. Let's clear it up on the example of the Bundesliga (just because I ****ing love this competition). The league contains of 18 teams with the top six in the European zone and the bottom three in the drop zone ([Only registered and activated users can see links. ]). Each team plays each opponent twice, at home and on road, which makes a season consist of 34 games. And here it gets complicated, because there is the Bundespokal which is a five KO round competition. And to makes things even more complicated, there are also European competitions and even more games to play!
So... indeed, an average team that didn't make it into any of the Eurocompetitions and got knocked out in the 1st round of the national cup plays around 35-37 games/season. But the top clubs like Bayern or Barcelona often double this number.
And the NBA? I believe there should be 58 games in a RS. Each team would get to play each opponent twice, at home and on road, like in football. Why? Players would get healthier, which would boost their performace; teams would not be able to accept the "we're gonna be fine" BS anyone after recording a L5 streak, which would eventually lead to pumping up the performance level, RS would finally mean something and last but not least it'd be easier for every NBA fan to catch all games of his much beloved franchise.