NBA regular season

Anthony Davis’ big game leads Lakers past Pacers for in-season crown

Reuters

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Anthony Davis’ big game leads Lakers past Pacers for in-season crown

CHAMPS. Lakers forward LeBron James hoists the NBA Cup and celebrates with teammates after winning the NBA In-Season Tournament Championship game against the Indiana Pacers.

Candice Ward/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

LeBron James cops the MVP, while Anthony Davis highlights an all-around game with a 41-point, 20-rebound outburst as the Lakers trip the Pacers to bag the NBA’s inaugural in-season championship

Anthony Davis recorded 41 points, 20 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 blocked shots as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Indiana Pacers, 123-109, in the in-season tournament championship game of the NBA Cup at Las Vegas on Saturday night, December 9 (Sunday, December 10, Manila time). 

Austin Reaves scored 28 points off the bench and LeBron James –  named the in-season tournament MVP – added 24 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles. 

“Records will be broken but one thing that will never be broken is being the first to do something. We’re the first champions of the in-season tournament and nobody can ever top that,” James said.

“It’s great to be able to do it with such a historical franchise and even better to do it with a great, great cast of funny, engaged, competitive men over here.”

D’Angelo Russell also had 13 points and 7 assists for the Lakers, who outrebounded the Pacers 55-32.

Tyrese Haliburton registered 20 points and 11 assists and Bennedict Mathurin also had 20 points for Indiana.

Aaron Nesmith added 15 points, Obi Toppin scored 13, and Myles Turner and Isaiah Jackson had 10 points apiece for the Pacers.

The stats in this contest don’t count, but Davis would have posted his fifth career 40-point, 20-rebound effort. The game also doesn’t count in the regular season standings.

The Lakers went 7-0 in the inaugural in-season tournament and the Pacers finished 6-1. Each team went 4-0 in group play and posted two knockout-round wins to reach the title game.

“I will remember the togetherness, the pride that they took in what they were accomplishing along the way and the excitement,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said of his team and its journey to the title game.

Each player on Los Angeles earns $500,000, while the players on Indiana will each receive $200,000.

“First to do it, first team to win it,” Davis said. “We know it’s not the real thing but we keep taking steps in the right direction… Our energy and focus were off the charts (Saturday). First to do it, we’ll take it.”

Los Angeles shot 53.4% from the field while hitting just 2-of-13 from three-point range.

Indiana connected on 36.8% of its shots and was 10-of-41 from three-point range.

Mathurin made two baskets early in the fourth quarter as the Pacers crept within 92-89. Indiana again was within three after a trey by Turner with 6:11 left, before Los Angeles delivered the knockout punch with a 13-0 burst.

Cam Reddish knocked down a three-pointer to make it 105-99 and Davis followed with 10 straight points to make it 115-99 with 3:11 left. The Pacers were unable to move closer than 12 down the stretch.

Reaves scored 22 points on 7-of-9 shooting and Davis had 17 points and 11 rebounds as Los Angeles led 65-60 at the break. Nesmith had 11 in the half for Indiana.

Davis tallied 13 points in the first quarter as the Lakers led 30-29. Reaves scored 15 in the second quarter for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles started the third quarter with a 7-1 run to take a 72-61 lead.

Mathurin made a buzzer-beating triple to leave Indiana trailing 90-82 entering the final stanza.

“We’re sick. We got outplayed (Saturday) from the start of the game to the end of the game,” Haliburton said. “They just outplayed us.” – Rappler.com

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