The All-Star game went from not all that exciting to nail-bitingly fun in the fourth quarter, thanks to the Elam ending. The new rule determined that the first team to 157 would win, so there was no game clock. It definitely added some drama to the proceedings and had the players trying hard, but it represented a big departure from how professional basketball is normally played.
Do you think the Elam ending should be a permanent addition to the All-Star game? And do you think it would be a good idea to use it in overtime in regular season games to up the excitement and prevent double and triple OTs?
Marilyn Dubinksi: It definitely added some intrigue to the All-Star game, which has become a somewhat dull, defense-optional game in recent years. That being said, I don’t see it ever being implemented into the regular NBA games. Even though the game is currently very offensive oriented, it feels like the Elam approach would make it even more defense optional as teams just try to score more to be the first reach a goal. And of course, there’s always those low scoring games where neither team can score to save their lives. In that case, the clock is everyone’s friend and mercifully ends the game. What happens if both teams are struggling to score? Does the goal score eventually change after so much time? There’s still a lot of questions to be answered before considering such a drastic change to the game as everyone knows it today.
Mark Barrington: I don’t mind it too much in the All Star Game, but I’m not sure if it’s something that I would like to see in regular season or playoff games. It seems to me that it changed the character of the game in the fourth quarter, and not necessarily in a great way. It turns that final possession into a defensive slugfest, and while it was suspenseful, it wasn’t great basketball. It made it all about the final possession, and that’s fine for an exhibition game, but I just like the feeling of the immediacy of the clock for games that count. The flavor of the game at the end became more baseball-like than basketball, where a walk-off shot (or free throw) would end it. And I don’t really enjoy watching baseball.
Bruno Passos: For the All-Star Game, definitely. There’s no Purity Of The Game that needs to be preserved for a contest that’s, by consensus, lost intrigue, excitement and any sense of competition. Any change that pushes things in the right direction is a worthy move, and I’m perfectly fine with exploring any other tweaks and gimmicks that distort the game into something that’s fun, even if it’s less recognizable from the main NBA product.
For actual games? I’d need to see things play out over a larger sample size before considering it.
Jesus Gomez: I think it should be a permanent addition to the All-Star game. I definitely feel like there will still be editions in which the level of competitiveness never improves and a team runs away with it, but that was happening in the past, too. With the Elam ending at least there’s a chance for a more exciting fourth quarter.
I’m a little more apprehensive about using it in actual games, but I wouldn’t be against trying it in the G-League first and then, if all goes well there, giving it a go in the NBA. Any game that goes past one overtime period gets weird anyway, with stars logging close to 50 minutes and players fouling out. I think changing the format and making it, say, the first to 10 points gives both teams enough opportunities to make a run without extending the game for too long. I’m not sure I’m ready to see playoff games decided that way, but it might be a good idea during the regular season.
J.R. Wilco: I love it for the All Star Game, would love it for the regular season. And think it would work even into the playoffs. In my opinion, the Elam ending ramps up the intensity of the defense, essentially eliminates any intentional fouling, and sets up the best end-game scenario of them all: a basket that ends the game. I love the tweak that someone suggested that free throws after a target score has been set remove points from the opponent, so the only way to end a game is through a made basket from the field. I think this would make all kinds of positive changes to the end-game and the viewer’s experience.