Overtime in the G League this season will be a race to seven points.
The schedule for the G League’s 22nd year was released Thursday, with the 50-game slate — an 18-game Showcase Cup to start the year, then a 32-game regular season — beginning on Nov. 4 and ending on March 25.
Playoffs begin March 28.
And the league is making some changes, with a switch to a “target score” ending for its overtime games among the most significant. The first team to score seven points in the OT period wins, and that extra session will be untimed.
The G League set seven points as the overtime target because it wanted to ensure the extra period lasts longer than two possessions.
The move mirrors what the NBA has done at its last three All-Star Games, when a target score — whichever team was leading after three quarters, plus 24 points, in a nod to one of Kobe Bryant’s jersey numbers — was set for an untimed fourth quarter.
A variation of the target score also will be in use for all games at the G League’s Winter Showcase at Las Vegas in December. There will be no clock in the fourth quarter of those games; the leading score after three quarters will have 25 points added to it, and the first team to that number wins. For example, if Team A leads Team B 75-74 after three quarters, the first team to 100 points would be the winner.
The target score concept is something that the NBA began seriously considering for some events in 2019, when then-National Basketball Players Association president Chris Paul — a big fan of The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all summer event composed mostly of college alumni teams — reached out to say the league should explore the concept.
The Basketball Tournament, commonly called TBT, uses what is called the Elam Ending; in those games, the clock is turned off at the first stoppage with 4:00 or less in the fourth quarter, and the target score there is eight points more than the leading score at the time.
Another new twist for the G League this season is that the league-sponsored Ignite team will be a full-fledged member, with a 50-game schedule and eligible for the league championship for the first time.
The G League Ignite, which will play this season out of a new home in Henderson, Nevada, exists to develop young prospects in preparation for the NBA draft. It featured three eventual top-10 draft picks — Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga last year, Dyson Daniels this year — in its first two seasons.
Also playing a full schedule this season: the Mexico City Capitanes. They’ll host the first G League regular-season game played in Mexico on Nov. 6, when they face the defending champion Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
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