2021 NBA All-Star Game Format Revised: One-Day Event March 7

The NBA has finalized details for its 2021 All-Star Game, to be held in Atlanta at State Farm Arena.

What is the competitive format for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game?
The 2021 NBA All-Star Game will have the same competitive format as the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

The two All-Star teams will compete to win each quarter for their respective beneficiaries. (More details about the beneficiaries and the awarding of donations are forthcoming.) The fourth quarter will be untimed and the teams will play to a Final Target Score, meaning that the game will end with a made basket or a made free throw instead of with the clock running out.

How does the competitive format work?
Each of the first three quarters will begin with the score of 0-0 and will last 12 minutes. The winner of each 12-minute quarter (first, second and third) will be the team that scores the most points within that quarter.

At the start of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set. Once the Final Target Score is set, the teams will play an untimed fourth quarter and the first team to reach (or surpass) the Final Target Score will win the NBA All-Star Game.

How is the Final Target Score determined?
The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points.

What is an example of the Final Target Score?
Below is a review of how the Final Target Score worked when it was used in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

Team Giannis scored 41, 51 and 41 points in the first three quarters for a total cumulative score of 133 points. Team LeBron scored 53, 30 and 41 points in the first three quarters for a total cumulative score of 124 points. Through three quarters, the score was: Team Giannis 133, Team LeBron 124.

As a result, the Final Target Score was set at 157 points (leading team’s cumulative score of 133 + 24). At the start of the fourth quarter, here were the scenarios for how each team could win the NBA All-Star Game:

  • Team Giannis needed to score 24 points in the fourth quarter before Team LeBron scored 33 points.
  • Team LeBron needed to score 33 points in the fourth quarter before Team Giannis scored 24 points.

Team LeBron reached the Final Target Score first and defeated Team Giannis 157-155. Team LeBron outscored Team Giannis 33-22 in the fourth quarter.

Why use 24 points to help determine the Final Target Score?
For the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, the league incorporated 24 points into the calculation of the Final Target Score to honor the late Kobe Bryant, who wore No. 24 for the final 10 seasons of his career. The same method for determining the Final Target Score will be used for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game.

How will the All-Star teams be selected?
The rosters for the NBA All-Star Game will be determined through the NBA All-Star Draft, where the two team captains will select from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference and make their picks without regard to conference affiliation.  The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference.  NBA All-Star starters will be announced tonight, Thursday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. ET on TNT.

What is the television broadcast schedule for the 2021 All-Star Game?
TNT’s NBA All-Star coverage will begin at 5 p.m. ET with TNT NBA Tip-Off presented by CarMax, followed by the Taco Bell® Skills Challenge and MTN DEW® 3-Point Contest starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.  Coverage of the 70th NBA All-Star Game will begin at 8 p.m. ET, with AT&T Slam Dunk taking place at halftime.

What community partners will be involved in NBA All-Star 2021?
In partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), UNCF (United Negro College Fund), National Association for Equal Opportunity (NAFEO) and Direct Relief’s Fund for Health Equity, the NBA, NBPA and NBA All-Star 2021 partners, including AT&T, MTN DEW® and Taco Bell®, will highlight the importance of HBCUs and raise awareness around the disparate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color.  In addition, All-Star will feature special performances by HBCU musical groups and unique storytelling and content by distinguished alumni and students.

What are the Health and Safety Protocols for NBA All-Star 2021?
For NBA All-Star 2021, the NBA and NBPA have established additional measures to supplement the league’s current Health and Safety Protocols.  These include private travel to and from Atlanta, the creation of a “mini bubble” environment within a single hotel for players and coaches, and enhanced PCR testing.  More information is available here (PDF).  Additionally, for the well-being and safety of the greater Atlanta community, there will be no fan activities, ticketed events or hospitality functions as part of All-Star.

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]