James and Davis Lead Lakers to First NBA Championship

Lakers top Pacers to win inaugural NBA in-season tournament
By Staff Writer
Published December 9, 2022

LAS VEGAS (AFP) — The Los Angeles Lakers, powered by a stellar performance from Anthony Davis, defeated the up-and-coming Indiana Pacers, 123-109, to claim the first NBA in-season tournament on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Davis put up 41 points and nabbed 20 rebounds, while superstar LeBron James added 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who clinched their first NBA Cup. James was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament, marking a new accolade in his career.

The Lakers were led by Davis and James, who outperformed the Pacers on the court. They dominated in the paint, outscoring the Pacers 86-44, and securing the ball with a 55-32 rebound advantage.

This historic win for the Lakers came after an undefeated run through the tournament, where they vanquished the Phoenix Suns and New Orleans Pelicans in the knockout rounds. The Pacers came into the final unbeaten, having defeated top two Eastern Conference teams, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks, in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

Despite the Pacers’ resilience, the Lakers maintained a lead throughout the game. An impressive 13-0 scoring run in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Lakers. Davis, who displayed discomfort in the hip or groin after a second-half scramble, still managed to contribute to the team’s success with five assists and four blocked shots.

The Lakers’ control inside the paint, along with their solid defense, nullified the Pacers’ high-scoring offense, holding them to 36.8 percent shooting. Pacers’ star Tyrese Haliburton and Bennedict Mathurin scored 20 points each, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Lakers’ dominance.

The championship game — held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas — was backed by a raucous crowd and secured the Lakers’ status as the first NBA in-season tournament champions.

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