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On the Drive //Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers drives during the first half of the NBA All-Star basketball game Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020, in Chicago. AP.

An NBA All-Star Game to Remember

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game was the first of its kind, with a new Elam Ending format

Last Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game was the best one in ages.

For many years now, the All-Star Game has been seen as a rather lackluster exhibition game, seemingly defined by voids in any intensity between the players, who are amongst the game’s current greats. Following the announcement of an Elam Ending format prior to All-Star Weekend, it was easily written off as a gimmick, another way for the league to curb its dying ratings. 

However, the new format proved to create one of the most intense All-Star Games in years, allowing for a fourth-quarter with the same energy as the NBA Finals, a stark contrast from virtually every other All-Star Game in the last decade. The Elam Ending eliminates the use of a clock down the stretch of games and instead establishes a target score to determine the winner. In honor of the late basketball-legend Kobe Bryant, both teams had to reach 24 points ahead of the winning score. The winning score was then set to 157.

This new format forced both teams to hunker down on defense, something lacking in past All-Star Games, and allowed people to also see some great one-on-one matchups. The players were actually playing real defense, with real intent on winning the game–something unheard of in the NBA All-Star Game. Players took charges and racked up fouls, non-calls were being screamed at from both ends of the court, and the biggest players in the league held nothing back as the fourth quarter of the game went on. However, the game had a somewhat-lackluster ending, with Anthony Davis shooting the winning free-throw to clinch the win for Team Lebron. 

Aside from the exciting finish to the game, the night was also in remembrance of the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Team Lebron wore No. 2 for Gianna Bryant. Antetokounmpo’s team wore red, every player wearing No. 24 on the back for Kobe Bryant. Both teams had a circular patch on their right shoulder with nine stars, each one for the victims of the tragic helicopter crash that took the life of one of basketball’s greatest players. 


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