NBA fans were skeptical at first when the new NBA All-Star Game format was announced. Yet the new format has turned out to be amazing as it encouraged both sides to be competitive in the fourth quarter. Team LeBron won $300,000 for the charity of their choice, so it was important to play hard for that prize.
The first three quarters were essentially separate games, and both sides took one and split the third to set up an important fourth quarter. The intensity started early when Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked LeBron James to signal to his team that it was game on.
The fourth quarter arrived and an elite game featuring elite players broke out. Imagine that! Kyle Lowry even took a charge! In an All-Star Game!
Players were arguing with officials and the easy dunks seen early on were nonexistent late. The target score of 157 was what made the quarter so intense. There was no game clock and no TV timeouts -- just the best in the game actually playing a competitive game, which is what an All-Star contest is supposed to be about.
There were several reviews late, including a key goaltending call on Antetokounmpo that was overturned.
All of this heightened drama led to Anthony Davis ending the game on a free throw for Team LeBron. While it's not the most exciting ending, it came after so much drama that it is hard to complain.
While it needs some tinkering, we can all agree it's a major improvement.