NEW YORK — The NBA is scrapping the East vs. West format for its All-Star Game in favor of having captains pick teams this season.

The league said Tuesday the two starters with the highest fan vote totals 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 Feb. 18 in Los Angeles.

Players and league officials have been eager to inject new interest in the often defense-absent game, and decided to act after another dull affair last February in New Orleans.

“I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us,” said Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets, the National Basketball Players Association president, in a statement. “We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A.”

The sides worked closely – with Michael Jordan, the Charlotte owner and chairman of the league’s Labor Relations Committee, heavily involved in the conversations – and 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.

The 10 starters will continue to be chosen by a combination of fan, player and media balloting, with the coaches from each conference then selecting the 14 reserves. The captains then will draft their teams at an undetermined time – making certain those chosen starters are split up so they remain starters.

The teams will play for charity. They will select a Los Angeles-area or national organization for donations.

A PHOENIX JURY acquitted NBA players Marcus and Markieff Morris in their aggravated assault trial.

The twin brothers were accused of helping three other people beat 36-year-old Erik Hood in January 2015 outside a high school basketball game in Phoenix.

At that time, the 28-year-old brothers played for the Phoenix Suns. Marcus now plays for Boston and Markieff is with Washington.

LAKERS: Rookie Lonzo Ball missed practice after mildly spraining his left ankle in a preseason game.

Ball sat out a workout along with Brandon Ingram, who bumped his head during the same preseason game Monday night against Denver.

Coach Luke Walton said Ball will be re-evaluated Wednesday.

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