The NBA may have a new winning formula with its revised All-Star Game format.
After Team LeBron defeated Team Stephen in a 148-145 nail-biter Sunday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant told reporters that players were motivated to make the midseason spectacle must-see TV again.
"We wanted to change the narrative of the All-Star Game being a joke," he said, according to the Mercury News' Mark Medina.
The nine-time All-Star also said Sunday's game was "the best one I've been a part of," per the Toronto Sun's Ryan Wolstat.
Unlike years past, Sunday's showdown featured far more defense—which made for a closer game in crunch time.
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And when the lights shined brightest on the L.A. stage, Durant, LeBron James and Co. delivered, as they eked out a win in the first All-Star Game that featured captains picking teams as opposed to the classic East-West format.
"I loved it," Team LeBron and Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said, per Wolstat. "It was a great first step moving forward of how we want the All-Star Game [to be] ... my hats off to all the guys who stepped up."
Mike D'Antoni, who coached Team Stephen, agreed with that assessment.
"I thought it was really good," he said, according to Medina. "It was the right intensity and they cared."
With the trial run a success, the NBA will undoubtedly look for ways to make positive tweaks moving forward.
And if James has his way, next year's draft will be televised so the public can watch the drama of the selection process unfold in real time.