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How the NBA All-Star Game Lets Fans Down

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It’s no secret that the NBA has a defense problem. The average number of points scored per team per game has been steadily climbing over the last 20 years, rising from 93.4 in the 2003-2004 season to an average of 115.4 in the 2023-2024 season as of February. But nothing encapsulates the NBA’s defense problem quite like the annual All-Star game, which wrapped up on Sunday evening in an event widely panned by fans and commentators alike. 

This year, the East beat the West with a final score of 211 to 186, making the East the first team to surpass 200 points in the game’s history. To many fans, it was disappointingly uncompetitive with the lack of defense making it so boring it bordered on unwatchable.

Many of the All-Star players say that they are worried about injuries, and are hesitant to push themselves for a game that has no bearing on the results of the rest of the season. 

“Obviously the fans and the league and everybody wants to be competitive, but then you also as players think about trying not to get hurt,” All-Star player Anthony Davis said. “Obviously injuries are a part of the game, and no one wants to get hurt in the All-Star Game.”

This year, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and other league executives were pushing players to make the Game more comPetitive after last year’s All-Star Game television rating reached an all time low. 

“And to the Eastern Conference All-Stars, you scored the most points,” said a visibly annoyed NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “Well ... congratulations.”

Ahead of the All-Star Game, Silver was more upbeat, “I think we're going to see a good game” in the NBA’s annual midseason showcase at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on Sunday.

After the failure of this year’s game, fans have started coming up with creative incentives to push players to care more about the game’s outcome.

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