For the 69th annual NBA All Star Game, Team LeBron and Team Giannis will face off for three 12-minute quarters, with each quarter starting with a score of 0-0, so there’s a winner for each quarter. At the conclusion of the third quarter, the scores for each team will added up, but the winner won’t be determined by who scores the most total points through fourth period of play.
Instead, the teams will play the fourth quarter without a clock, until one of them reaches a target score. The target score will be determined by taking the leading team’s score through three quarters and adding 24, in honor of (one of) Kobe’s retired number. It’s not nearly as confusing as it sounds. If the score through three quarters in 90-80, the target score to win would be 90 + 24 = 114. First team to 114 wins it — simple, right? (If you’re still baffled, here’s an FAQ).
Setting aside all the math, what’s cool about this tweak is that it guarantees that the game ends on a made shot, rather than one team running out the clock during garbage time. Not that there’s typically garbage time at the All Star Game, but still…
The winner of each of the first two quarters will get $100,000 for the charity of their choice. In the event that either quarter ends in a tie, the money will roll over to the next quarter (like a skins game, for you golfers out there). If the third quarter ends in a tie, that money will be rolled over and awarded to the team that first reaches the target score. If one team should win each of the first three quarters and the game, they would get $500,000 for the charity of their choice and the losing team would get $100,000.
It’s cool to see the NBA continuing to experiment with their All-Star format. Here’s a look at this week’s games, along with an All-Star Weekend preview.