This weekend, the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto saw hundreds of fans, Instagram posts from Drake and a record number of points scored in the annual game of the best players from the Eastern Conference facing the best players from the Western Conference. Guard Isaiah Thomas was the sole selection from the Celtics for the Eastern Conference team, and also made a stellar appearance in the Skills Challenge, in which he came in second to Karl-Anthony Towns, a seven-foot tall center from the Minnesota Timberwolves. Though Thomas’ impressive skills gave him notoriety in the Skills Challenge, the Eastern Conference was not able to overtake the Western Conference in the All-Star Game. The Western Conference won 196-173, which broke the record for the highest number of total points scored in the NBA All-Star Game, with 369 in total.
Although it is exciting to watch the greatest players in the NBA score copious amounts of points, one could argue that constant scoring can take the thrill of scoring away from the game if it happens too often. This year’s record high of 369 points easily overtook last year’s record of 321 total points scored, which overtook 2014’s record of 318 points. The past three years have each set the bar higher for the following year, and it appears each All-Star team has a goal to encapsulate the previous year’s record. As young athletes, many were told by coaches “points win games, but defense wins championships.” In the NBA All-Star Game, however, this assertion does not show to be true, as both teams scored insanely high amounts of points, and defense was a mere footnote in the game’s highlights.
In order to have an exciting game of basketball, a few interceptions and defensive fouls are necessary to keep the audience on the edge of their seats and keep the game close enough that either team could take a lead at any moment. Unlike football and soccer, where it can be evident who will win the game early on, basketball is known for its quick turnarounds and emphasis on defense and plays. Of course, the team that scores the most is the more successful team during that particular game, but watching players simply alternate who scores baskets makes the excitement of a regular basketball game diminish and mainly profiles the accomplishments of players that would appear to be “ball hogs.”
Hopefully, next year’s NBA All-Star game will be a more exciting game of basketball with more defensive plays and less emphasis on slamming the ball into the basket as quickly and frequently as possible.
Photo courtesy of CBS Sports