Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Good news everybody: I’ve become the NBA commissioner for a day, and I’m going to abuse my brief, ill-gotten power to take a big sledgehammer to every game clock in every arena in North America. At least for the last three minutes.

While having every NBA game be a simple, timeless contest to 100 points is tempting, Dan and I start smaller during our discussion in this video, thinking through the consequences of implementing the Elam Ending in a mainstream league. The Elam ending, for those unfamiliar with The Basketball Tournament, turns off the clock at the first stoppage under three minutes. From there, the contest is played to a target score—seven points higher than whatever the winning team has at that moment. So if the score is 107-105 when the whistle is blown at 2:59, the winning score is 114.

In the NBA, where coaches obsessively exploit every quirk to gain the most possible leverage, could this be a chaotic disaster? Of course! But crucially, it eliminates intentional fouls in the last few minutes of a close game, and isn’t that a noble goal everybody can get behind? You’re welcome.

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