LAS VEGAS (AP) — Anthony Davis had seasons highs of 41 points and 20 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers won the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament title with a 123-109 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.
Austin Reaves added 28 points, tournament MVP LeBron James had 24 points and 11 rebounds and D'Angelo Russell added 13 points. Davis was 16 of 24 from the field and also had five assists.
Tyrese Haliburton had 20 points and 11 assists for Indiana, Bennedict Mathurin also scored 20 points and Aaron Nesmith had 15.
This game was the only one in the tournament that doesn't count in the standings, but there was still plenty on the line. In addition to taking home a trophy, Lakers players on standard two-way contracts each made $500,000 and the Pacers received $200,000 apiece. Players on two-way deals take home half those amounts.
Though the stakes weren’t as high as they would be for a playoff, the tournament and the title game had that kind of atmosphere in front of the pro-Lakers crowd.
It’s also another trophy for James, who has won four NBA championships, and he made no secret of his desire to add the title to his resume.
In the Pacers, the Lakers found an equally energized team led by an emerging star in this league. Haliburton became a familiar face during this tournament, but the Lakers limited his damage on Saturday. With Reddish handling most of the defensive duties on Haliburton, he often passed to a teammate rather than try to force the action.
The Lakers led most of the game, though Indiana kept in striking distance until Los Angeles went on a 15-3 run late in the fourth quarter to turn in a 100-96 lead into a 115-99 advantage.
Among those in attendance were basketball Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Shaquille O’Neal, football Hall of Famers Tim Brown and Shannon Sharpe, former tennis star Steffi Graf, former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather Jr., chef Bobby Flay and rapper Flavor Flav. Members of the two-time champion Las Vegas Aces, including WNBA Finals MVP A’ja Wilson, also watched.
Pacers: At Detroit on Monday night to open a four-game road swing.
Lakers: At Dallas on Tuesday night to begin a three-game Texas trip.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba
Mark Anderson, The Associated Press