Basketball fans may have scoffed at the NBA In-Season Tournament initially but ended up being treated to some of the best games so far early in the season. The Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers locked horns for the inaugural tournament final with the Lake Show taking the whole thing on the back of Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
The NBA In-Season Tournament had its share of critics who didn’t quite understand the necessity or purpose of it unless, of course, their teams were in contention. Early favorites like the Boston Celtics were bounced by the Indiana Pacers and Tyrese Haliburton, who is now becoming one of the league’s brightest stars.
The Lakers and Pacers may not have been the marquee matchup some fans wanted but it was a pure clinic put on by AD and King James, who seized the moment with the help of great play from fellow starters D’Angelo Russell, Cam Reddish, and Taurean Prince. Austin Reaves also provided a big lift off the bench with 28 points, leading the entire second unit.
The Pacers gave it their all with Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin, who came off the bench, both scoring 20 points. The Pacers also saw significant contributions from Obi Toppin and Aaron Nesmith.
The Lakers rode the wave of Davis, who led all scorers with 41 points, hauling in 20 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocks. James added 24 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 assists, eventually winning the MVP trophy for the tournament. While Davis did show out for the final game, James has been consistently dominant even at age 38 and displayed an uncanny level of strength, speed, and basketball IQ.
It may not be the top trophy of the league but the NBA In-Season Tournament proved that fans don’t have to wait until May to see amazing professional basketball. Commissioner Adam Silver can go back to the lab with his team and figure out how to improve the tournament and said that he’s open to suggestions.
On X, formerly Twitter, NBA fans are discussing the game and much more. Check out the reactions below.
Los Angeles Lakers Crowned NBA In-Season Tournament Champs was originally published on hiphopwired.com