The NBA All Star Game is scheduled for February 16th, and news broke on Thursday that the game will feature some drastic changes. The league announced that each quarter of the game will be turned into a mini-game for charity before an untimed final quarter. That final quarter will feature a target score that will determine the winner. It will also involve a tribute to Kobe Bryant.
Scores will be reset at the start of the second and third quarter and then restored to begin the fourth quarter. The AP attempted to describe what is a somewhat convoluted change.
The NBA announced major changes to the All-Star format on Thursday, turning every quarter into a mini-game for charity before an untimed final quarter with a target score that will decide which team wins. Scores will be reset — back to 0-0 — at the start of the second and third quarters, then restored to begin the fourth quarter.
That’s where the tribute to Bryant and the No. 24 jersey he wore for the last decade of his NBA career comes into play. The team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach a target score, determined by the total points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters combined — plus 24, the obvious nod to Bryant.
The league is planning multiple tributes to Bryant, but this will likely be the most prominent given how directly it will impact the viewing experience. The NBA is describing this as a one-year change, but if it is successful, Byron Spruell — the NBA’s president for league operations — said it could continue in future years.
The AP broke down the quarterly charity and winner determinations as follows:
The team that has the most points after the first quarter will win $100,000 for its charity. The same will apply to the second and third quarters. The scores get added for the fourth to set the target score — for example, if the score is 100-95 at that point, then the team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach 124.
One area where this is particularly interesting is what it means for those who want to bet on the game. You can usually find odds on the point total for the game, half, and by quarter, as well as a point spread throughout. This changes that to some degree and sportsbooks will have to adjust how they approach the game accordingly.