How to improve the NBA All-Star Game with one easy change - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

How to improve the NBA All-Star Game with one easy change

(Source: AP Images) (Source: AP Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA (WOIO) -

Sunday's NBA All-Star Game was a joke. It was at times entertaining -- showcased the game's greats, let them put on a show -- but from a competitive standpoint, it was a joke.

I jokingly said to my 6-year-old son midway through the first quarter: "Look at this! It's ridiculous. The winner's going to score 200 points."

I was a mere eight points off.

The two teams combined for 374 points, with the Western Conference winning 192-182. The only surprise was that both teams shot just under 60 percent from the field. With the "matador" defense in full effect, they should have shot at least 80 percent.

Now, nobody really cares that neither team played defense. It's all about the dunks and alley-oops and trick shots. But if they're going to actually play the game (there are some critics who believe they should kill the All-Star games, in all leagues, and just do skills competitions during the weekend festivities), can't they at least amp it up for the final quarter and make it competitive?

Steve Kerr, who was coaching the West, talked about that after the game. In the past, the All-Stars at least tightened up and tried to win down the stretch. Is one quarter of defense asking too much?

Not if you pay.

You'd think NBA All-Stars with max deals of $100 million wouldn't care about an extra hundred grand or two, but they would if the league increased the winning pot. Instead of $50,000/per to the winners and $25,000/per to the losers, make it winner-take-all, with the 12 players dividing a $2 million pot. Now you'd have their attention and effort down the stretch.

Or hand out sports cars to the winning players -- maybe that would entice a few of the players to actually occupy the lane on defense.

Short of that, it'll be what it is -- a showcase for offensive genius, which, for many fans, is just fine. They just want to see the dunks. But we already have that on Saturday night right after the three-point shootout. So unless the big bills start flying to create an actual competition, the best part of All-Star weekend will be the Skills Competitions (in which most of the greats, including LeBron James, don't even take part).

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