NBA All-Star Game Feb 18, 2024; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Eastern Conference forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks the ball past Western Conference center Karl-Anthony Towns (32) of the Minnesota Timberwolves during the second quarter in the 73rd NBA All Star game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has never seen a game like Sunday night’s All-Star Game.

Many irate fans hope to never see one like it again. Others absolutely loved it.

The Eastern Conference All-Stars defeated their Western Conference counterparts, 211-186, in the highest scoring game in NBA history. It’s exactly what some fans predicted and/or feared after the NBA tweaked the format for this year’s game, returning to the traditional East vs. West matchup and ditching the “Elam Ending” target score experiment.

That format had prevented teams from running up the score in recent years (the Western Conference team set the previous NBA scoring record with 196 points in the 2016 game).

So defense was nowhere to be found Sunday night as the two teams traded uncontested dunks, layups and 3-pointers. It’s worth noting that Karl Anthony-Towns scored 50 points, becoming just the fourth player to reach that mark in an NBA All-Star Game.

The East led 104-89 at halftime, and many fans could see history in the making. Some were appalled. Veteran sportswriter Bob Ryan sent out a couple of tweets calling the game a “disgraceful farce.” He concluded one tweet with a message to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, saying, “What a waste of time. Adam, you must do something. It’s embarrassing for your sport.”

Other fans thought that the game is exactly what the players and fans need at this point in the long season — a chance to have some fun. The two fan contingents battled on X after the game.

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.