Following a lacklustre All-Star Game, the NBA once more left looking for answers
<span style="color: rgb(8, 8, 8); font-family: Lato, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; text-align: start; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks and Eastern Conference All-Stars drives to the basket against the Western Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)</span>

NBA commissioner Adam Silver emphasised the significance of having a more competitive product on the court for this weekend's All-Star Game on Saturday night. He said, "I think we're going to see a good game" in the NBA's annual midseason showcase on Sunday at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

Frustration All Round:

But Silver's frustration with what transpired was evident after the 73rd All-Star Game resembled last year's forgettable showing in Salt Lake City. The Eastern Conference became the first team to score 200 points or more, setting a new record for scoring in the process, and ultimately defeated the Western Conference 211-186.

"And to the Eastern Conference All-Stars, you scored the most points," Silver said flatly. "Well ... congratulations."

 Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/18/1172997-nba-all-star-2024-preview-time-to-shine.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/18/1172997-nba-all-star-2024-preview-time-to-shine.html'>Western Conference</a></strong> All-Stars drives to the basket against the <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/18/1172972-the-jayson-tatum-factor.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/18/1172972-the-jayson-tatum-factor.html'>Eastern Conference</a></strong> All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/16/1172687-the-beginning-of-a-new-era-in-the-nba.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/16/1172687-the-beginning-of-a-new-era-in-the-nba.html'>All-Star Game</a></strong> at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Western Conference All-Stars drives to the basket against the Eastern Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

It was a fitting conclusion to an evening that did little to quell the debate about what the NBA's premier midseason event should look like in the future. The NBA, through Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, its executive vice president and head of basketball operations, as well as Silver, consistently stated that getting greater effort out of the All-Stars was a goal, demonstrating the NBA's commitment to make this game a priority for its players throughout the season.

Rather, it was just another game with almost no defence and little to no energy inside the arena. Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers claimed that the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers hype teams' dunk routines during the third and fourth quarters were his favourite part of the game.

A general view in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/15/1172605-an-further-alteration-to-the-nba-all-star-game-why-now-is-most-likely-the-ideal-time.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/15/1172605-an-further-alteration-to-the-nba-all-star-game-why-now-is-most-likely-the-ideal-time.html'>All-Star Game</a></strong> at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
A general view in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

"I think the best [moment], we were talking about it, was the Bulls and the Pacers dunkers," Davis said. "With the trampoline? They were very, very impressive."

In the end, Sunday's game left things exactly where they were a year ago, with the NBA raising an indignant hand over the fact that one of the major events on its schedule, this weekend, ended with a thud and the players, almost unanimously, acknowledging that, although they support efforts to make the event better, it's not as easy as just choosing to play a little harder.

"I think it's something we need to figure out," stated LeBron James of the Lakers, who broke a record by playing in his 20th All-Star Game on Sunday night. However, James missed the second half of the game due to a problematic left ankle. "Obviously from a player's perspective, it's fun to get up and down. But at the end of the day, our competitive nature doesn't like to have free-flowing scoring like that.

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and Western Conference All-Stars dribbles the ball against Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks and Eastern Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/01/31/1170705-sabrina-vs-steph-the-big-announcements-of-the-nba-all-star-game-continue.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/01/31/1170705-sabrina-vs-steph-the-big-announcements-of-the-nba-all-star-game-continue.html'>All-Star Game</a></strong> at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and Western Conference All-Stars dribbles the ball against Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks and Eastern Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

"But I think the good thing that came out of tonight was none of the players were injured, and everybody came out unscathed or how they were before the game started. So it's a deeper conversation."

"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," Davis said. "Injuries are a part of the game, and no one wants to get hurt in the All-Star Game. ... All these guys here are very valuable to their teams. So it's some mixed emotions about it. You try to go out there and compete a little bit and not just be a highlight show. But at the same time, do you guys want to see somebody going down for a dunk and somebody going to contest it and, God forbid, something happens in the All-Star Game when it could have been avoided?"

Then there was Anthony Edwards, a star player for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who said he had little interest in exerting himself too much in an All-Star Game.

 <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/01/16/1168842-preview-dallas-mavericks-vs-los-angeles-lakers-duel-to-get-closer-to-the-play-in.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/01/16/1168842-preview-dallas-mavericks-vs-los-angeles-lakers-duel-to-get-closer-to-the-play-in.html'>Anthony Davis</a></strong> #3 of the Los <strong><a  data-cke-saved-href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/10/1171978-grading-the-charlotte-hornets-trade-deadline.html' href='https://www.vavel.com/en-us/nba/2024/02/10/1171978-grading-the-charlotte-hornets-trade-deadline.html'>Angeles Lakers</a></strong> and Western Conference All-Stars handles the ball against Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks and Eastern Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers and Western Conference All-Stars handles the ball against Jalen Brunson #11 of the New York Knicks and Eastern Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

"For me, it's an All-Star Game, so I will never look at it as being super competitive," he said. "It's always fun. I don't know what they can do to make it more competitive. I don't know. I think everyone looks at it ... it's a break, so I don't think everyone wants to come here and compete."

That's been evident in recent years, and it's not just the NBA; over the past ten or so years, the NHL, MLB, and NFL have all drastically altered their all-star events to infuse them with competition and spice. 

But the NBA, and none more so than Silver himself, was vocal about how important it was that this change, louder than any of the other leagues.

Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers and Western Conference All-Stars shoots the ball over Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic and Eastern Conference All-Stars in the third quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Paul George #13 of the LA Clippers and Western Conference All-Stars shoots the ball over Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic and Eastern Conference All-Stars in the third quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse on February 18, 2024 in Indianapolis, Indiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Furthermore, it's unclear where he and the league will go from here after another failed attempt to up the ante in the All-Star Game.

"There were some [discussions about the game being more competitive]," Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown said. "I'm not sure how successful that was, but there were some discussions. I guess guys are trying to figure out how to do that at the same time as having fun, being safe, being injury-free.

"I guess more solutions need to be had to figure that out."

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