In an effort to make the All-Star Game more competitive, the NBA is making dramatic changes to this year’s game that will include an ode to Kobe Bryant.
The NBA announced on Thursday that each quarter will consist of a mini-game played for charity before an untimed final quarter that will determine the winner.
The second- and third-quarter scores will be reset to 0-0. Each team will then start the fourth quarter with a tally of its combined scoring from the first three quarters, and they will play to a target score.
Target score a tribute to Kobe
The target score this year will be the highest-scoring team’s total score through three quarters plus 24 points — a nod to Bryant’s jersey number in the wake of his death in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
So if the leading team has 100 points through three quarters, the first team to 124 points will win.
Bryant was an 18-time All-Star and four-time All-Star Game MVP.
“We spent a lot of time considering the right target number to use for the fourth quarter,” NBA president for league operations Byron Spruell told the Associated Press. “Through the events of this week it became clear to us that the only appropriate number for this season’s All-Star Game is 24.”
The target score format is similar to the Elam Ending used in The Basketball Tournament, the annual five-on-five tournament with a winner-take-all $2 million prize.
In those games, the clock is turned off with four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and teams play to the leading team’s score plus seven points, giving the ending of the game more of a playground feel.
$500K for charity
Each team will have designated charities based in Chicago, the host city of the All-Star Game. Each team’s captain — LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo — will choose the charity. The winner of each of the first three quarters will earn $100,000 for its charity, according to the report. If there’s a tie, the $100,000 will roll over to the next quarter.
The winner of the game will earn $200,000 for its charity, adding up to $500,000 at stake. If the losing team gets swept through all three quarters, its designated charity is guaranteed $100,000.
The changes are being made on a one-year trial.
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