NBA All-Star Game excites fans with new scoring format

Julia Nassar-McMillan, Staff Writer

A tightly contested NBA All-Star Game had fans at the edge of their seats this past weekend. The game took place Feb. 16, 8:00 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago. Team LeBron beat Team Giannis with a final score of 157-155 points.

All-Star team captains this year were Lebron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo. This is the third consecutive year in which team captains chose players through a fantasy draft, instead of the traditional East vs. West format. The starters for Team LeBron included Anthony Davis, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Luka Doncic, and James himself. Head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers Frank Vogel coached the team, marking his second time coaching an NBA All-Star Game. Those starting for Team Giannis were Joel Embiid, Pascal Siakam, Kemba Walker, Trae Young, and Antetokounmpo. The team was coached by Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.

Although the old East vs. West format wasn’t used anymore, both team captains for the most part stuck within their respective conferences. Only three players on either team swapped conferences. There were also two teammate vs. teammate matchups that were interesting for fans to watch: Ben Simmons vs. Joel Embiid and Jayson Tatum vs. Kemba Walker. Six of the top 10 scorers in the NBA this season were playing for Team LeBron. 

There was also a different scoring system this year called the “Elam Ending,” which eliminates the use of a clock, and establishes a target score to decide the winner. This method is used to eliminate the intentional fouling and bad-shot taking in the last few minutes of a traditional basketball game. The clock was shut off Sunday for the whole fourth quarter, and the target score was determined by adding 24 points (chosen in honor of Kobe Bryant’s jersey number), to the leading team’s total, creating a target score of 157 points. This format increased the intensity over every possession, and caused teams to perform increasingly well on the defensive end. The few free throws taken felt extremely tense, and stakes felt higher than usual. The only part of the game that upset fans was how it ended; the game winner was a free throw hit by Anthony Davis, which landed Team Lebron on the 157 point target. 

Regardless of the outcome, this was a game for the books. The new type of scoring was a hit among fans and players as well, as it turned the game into a fast-paced, intense competition. There are many people that would like to see the Elam Ending implemented into real games. Fans have more fun watching the ending of a game with less interrupted play, and a little more contact. 

“I felt like it was good, made the players more competitive to actually want to win, and a good way to pay tribute to Kobe,” said Barry Brame, junior.

As a fan, Brame enjoyed the extra competitiveness of the NBA All-Star game this year, in which the Elam Ending played a large part of. 

NBA analyst, Kevin O’Connor, along with others, are open to experimenting with this new type of scoring, and have confidence in the potential it has in future traditional NBA games. 

“The NBA should utilize the Elam Ending in Summer League. Experiment tweaks for the target ending rules and consider using it in a potential midseason tournament. It’s non-traditional but it’s thrilling in TBT and was thrilling again tonight. It could be made better than the norm,” said O’Connor, via Twitter.

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