- Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey said he thinks the NBA could eventually adopt the "Elam ending" in overtime games.
- The "Elam ending" is a rule used in The Basketball Tournament where the game clock is turned off with four minutes left in the fourth quarter and a target score is set, with two teams playing until one reaches that score.
- The NBA adopted the rule for the 2020 All-Star Game, expanding the ending to encompass the entire fourth quarter, to much success and praise.
- ESPN reported that the NBA will likely keep the rule for the All-Star Game and could consider using it for a future midseason tournament.
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Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey believes that the well-received "Elam ending" rule used in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game could eventually make its way to the NBA full-time.
At this year's All-Star Game, the NBA adopted the rule, named after Nick Elam of The Basketball Tournament, and changed its scoring rules.
In the Elam ending used in The Basketball Tournament, the game clock is turned off at the first whistle with up to four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, at which point a target score is set, much like in pick-up basketball. The two teams then play to that target score from their current point totals until one team reaches the target.
In the 2020 All-Star Game, the NBA took the rule and expanded it to encompass the entire fourth quarter. After three quarters, Team Giannis led Team LeBron 133-124. The league added 24 — in honor of Kobe Bryant — to 133 to set a target score of 157, and both teams played until the mark was reached. The rule change led to an exciting, competitive fourth quarter that was praised by players, media, and fans alike.
While appearing on Fox Sports' "First Things First" on Tuesday, Morey said he thinks the rule will eventually be adopted for NBA overtime.
"I love the league office. We have the MIT conference coming up, and a lot of these ideas are game-planned there," Morey said. "The Elam ending, which happened at the All-Star Game, I think that's coming to overtime. That's coming."
Asked if he knows if the rule is definitely coming, Morey said: "No, I don't know what's going to come. The league office does it. But I really think that'll be in the next few years."
As Morey pointed out, the ending serves a few purposes, including cutting down on end-of-game fouls and timeouts. Whereas in the NBA today, teams trailing late in games will foul and call timeouts to stop the clock, then try to cut into the lead, with the Elam ending, fouling and sending an opponent to the free throw line would only help them get closer to the target score. Timeouts would occur less often because there would be no running clock.
ESPN's Zach Lowe argued on a podcast with Elam that there are essentially no downsides to the rule, other than, historically, basketball has not been played that way. Elam said he has heard from people who like the rule because it returns basketball to its simple roots.
"When you read about it or hear about it for the first time, this concept totally sounds like it's from outer space," Elam told Lowe. "But then you see it in action and you realize it's actually pretty simple and straight-forward … Some of the strongest proponents to the Elam ending to this point are people who would probably consider themselves old-school, people who have been immersed in the game for a long time who just value good fundamental basketball, because that's what the spirit of this concept is."
Lowe reported that the NBA is likely to continue using the format for next year's All-Star Game and that the league would consider the ending if it ever adopts the oft-discussed midseason tournament in the future.
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