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NBA Will Likely Use Target Score Again for 2021 All-Star Game

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Zach Lowe of ESPN’s reports that it is a “good assumption” the so-called Elam Ending will be back next year.

2020 NBA All-Star: Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images

This year’s NBA All-Star Game featured a memorable and competitive matchup between the league’s stars. Prior to the game in Chicago, the NBA announced a format change that included a target score to determine the winner in an untimed fourth quarter. The “Elam Ending” provided a tense final frame that concluded with Team LeBron James narrowly defeating Team Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Zach Lowe of ESPN reports that this format will likely be back for 2021:

It is a “good assumption” the NBA will use a target score to end next season’s All-Star Game after experimenting with the concept for the first time Sunday, Byron Spruell, the NBA’s president of league operations, told ESPN on Wednesday in New York.

Furthermore, the league will at least look into this style of ending for the G League:

The NBA will “discuss” using the target score system in the G League, but any full-scale adaptation there seems unlikely. The league has some concern about making G League play too different from play in the parent league, since one of the G League’s main functions is to prepare players, coaches and referees for the NBA, Spruell said.

Lowe also writes that the league is weighing using a target score for its midseason tournament and playoffs play-in tournament, if they are approved by the Board of Governors. Talks on these additions have stalled, but there remains hope of still adding them for the 2021-22 season:

Spruell reiterated that adding both remains on the NBA’s wish list, and that the league would like to add them at the same time — as opposed to adding one without the other. The league has not abandoned hope of adding them in time for the 2021-22 season; the Board of Governors could vote on those measures again in September, Spruell said.

You can read more about the league’s experimentation with the Elam Ending here.