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.

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

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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.

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