As Chairman Adam Silver prepares to hand LeBron James the inaugural NBA in-season tournament MVP trophy, he has a warning: “This doesn’t come with the team.”
James was doubled over with laughter, but he had been serious about getting a new NBA expansion team in Las Vegas.
He had an outstanding performance in Saturday night’s final, scoring 24 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers 123-109. He is not satisfied with personal honors and championships and continues to work hard for this.
After my career was over, I came here and led a team, but my passion for this city has never changed,” James said. “The fans here are just amazing. They already have a WNBA team, an upcoming baseball team (track and field), an NFL team, a hockey team, and the new addition of F1 (Formula One). This is a place that loves great attractions and I believe the NBA will be another great addition to the city.
In addition to James’ outstanding performance on Saturday, his teammate Anthony Davis also performed well. He scored 41 points and 20 rebounds, which set a new record for the season. This game is the only one in the tournament that does not appear in the standings or statistics.
Davis also performed well, shooting 24 of 16 from the field, assisting 5 times and blocking 4 shots.
“Their punches are outstanding,” Lakers coach Davin Hamm said of James and Davis, adding: “In any game, either one of them could be great. They know that. How to rise above yourself in critical situations and reach a whole new level.”
Los Angeles became the first team to win an in-season tournament thanks to a ton of support from two key members.
In this game, Austin Reeves performed well and scored 28 points, while D’Angelo Russell also contributed 13 points. Cam Reddish set the tone defensively by limiting Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton. Tyrese Haliburton emerged as one of the stars of the tournament.
In the game against the Lakers, he scored 20 points and 11 assists. When attacking, he often chose to pass the ball to his teammates rather than force the offense.
Reeves said: “Reddish didn’t score a lot, only nine points, but I think he is one of the best players on the court. The way he defends really changes the direction of the game.”
For the Pacers, Benedict Maturin scored 20 points and Aaron Nesmith scored 15 points.
Each player on the Lakers will receive an annual salary of $500,000, while the Pacers’ players will receive $200,000. Players who make two-way trades will receive half of the bonus.
The tournament and championship game combine the flavor of the NBA playoffs and the once-and-for-all NCAA tournament, with the Pacers taking on the Lakers as if their season was already in jeopardy.
Los Angeles will face off against Las Vegas on Sunday. As the home team, Los Angeles plays every game with packed houses and buzz, just like before. However, the same cannot be said for the Pacers, who are still trying to prove they are a championship-caliber team.
Tonight we failed from the beginning to the end of the game,” Haliburton said. “We didn’t do a good job of fighting for the ball in the air, we didn’t rebound well, and we didn’t get enough stops at critical moments. They beat us, which frustrated us. It’s funny, everyone says this game has the feel of an NCAA tournament, but after a game like this, you sit in the locker room and think, “Most of us didn’t graduate.” We have a game on Monday.
The Lakers were in the lead for most of the game, but the Pacers kept chasing the gap until the end of the fourth quarter when Los Angeles went on a run to extend their 100-96 advantage to 115. -99.
“Our players really understand what it means to be on a high stage,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s important to have that experience, to feel the intensity of the game, to feel the light and the dazzle, and to find unity in trying to conquer what it represents. We’ve overcome a lot of challenges along the way. And tonight’s challenge Maybe a little too steep.”