The NBA Finds The Unique Way Games End In The Basketball Tournament ‘Really Intriguing’

Associate Editor
07.27.18

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If you’ve watched any of The Basketball Tournament this year, you’ll know that the way games reach their conclusion are rather unique. That’s because at a certain point in the action, the game clock gets turned off, and instead of having the highest score when the clock hits zero, a target score that both teams need to reach is set.

This is called the “Elam Ending,” the brain child of Ball State professor Nick Elam. The plan, as Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports documented on Friday, looks to eliminate fouling late in basketball games by turning the game clock off late, adding seven points to whatever the team in the lead has, and letting the two sides play it out.

It’s certainly an ambitious idea — it would occur at the first stoppage in play under four minutes in college hoops and the first one under three minutes in the NBA. While there’s nothing on the horizon to imply change is coming, at the very least, the concept has piqued the interest of some people within the NBA’s league offices, most notably executive vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vendeweghe and senior vice president of basketball strategy and analytics Evan Wasch, both of whom are studying the results of the system during The Basketball Tournament.

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