NBA changes All-Star Game format; captains will pick teams

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NEW YORK (AP) The NBA is scrapping the East against West format for its All-Star Game and will have captains pick teams this season.

The league says Tuesday that the leading vote-getter from each conference will choose teams from the pool of players who were voted as starters and reserves.

The change will begin with this season’s game in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.

Players and league officials have been eager to inject new interest in the often defense-absent game, and NBA Players Association President Chris Paul says improving the game was a ”priority.”

They chose a format that has been used by the NFL and NHL for what will be the first NBA All-Star game that doesn’t pit the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference.