A revised format for the 2020 NBA All-Star game was a resounding success as OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul leads the five key takeaways from the game.
If OKC Thunder guard Chris Paul‘s social media platforms blow up with thank you notes from fans and players it shouldn’t surprise anyone. It was CP3 who placed a call to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver with the initial suggestion on how the All-Star game should be reformatted.
Thank you Chris Paul:
In that call, Paul detailed for the Commish how he was a fan of The Basketball Tournament which used the “Elam” method via a targeted score in the final frame. Several goals are accomplished in this format. Teams are forced to defend, not just run out shot clocks and because there is an established targeted “winning score” both teams are active offensively endeavoring to reach that score first.
After being bored to tears with recent All-Star Games featuring up and down – your turn – my turn this change was long overdue. In 2016 the final score was 196-173, in 2017 it was 192-182 and while 2018 (148-145) and 2019 (178-164) were more palatable the game still wasn’t indicative of the best or most exciting aspects of the NBA game.
For the majority of NBA fans, many cite the regular season as less compelling for this very reason. Viewership tends to pick up after the All-Star break when teams play with a greater sense of urgency as clubs vie for playoff berths and seeding. Then viewership takes another jump when the playoffs begin as the intensity rises on both sides of the hardwood and subsequently are when games are the most exciting.
OKC Thunder fans are getting spoiled this season because of the clutch time winning which is the embodiment of this two-way play. With virtually every game within reach and coming down to the final buzzer it feels like we’ve been engrossed in playoff basketball for the better portion of the season.
As for the All-Star Game, the opening two quarters were still essentially the same. In some ways, it almost felt like an agreement by the players for each side to win one quarter in order for both charities to benefit. Team LeBron took the opening quarter 53-41, Team Giannis the second quarter 51-30
The second half was an entirely different story with the squads drawing to a 41-41 tie setting up what would be the best fourth quarter in arguably two decades.
By adopting the ‘targeted score’ both teams put their best lineups on the hardwood for the majority of the final frame. The resulting effect was as close to playoff basketball in terms of how invested the players were in every play, defensive effort and palpable tension as both teams set their sights on reaching 157 points.