The Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers are in the finals of the new NBA tournament and will play on Sunday night for $500,000 in prize money for each basketball player on the winning team.
After the Pacers' 128:119 win against the Milwaukee Bucks, NBA record champions led by superstar LeBron James gave the New Orleans Pelicans no chance at 133:89.
James impressed with 30 points and eight assists and now has the opportunity for a new title in his career. The NBA tournament is being held for the first time and is intended to add excitement to an otherwise rather boring phase of the season.
“If we defend, we have a good chance of winning every game,” said James, but also urged restraint. "It's still only December, I'm not going to freak out now. The in-season tournament is great, but it's still only December. It's another opportunity to get even better, that's what we want and we're excited about it. "
The semi-finals on a bright blue and red court in Las Vegas in front of mostly neutral spectators caused applause and cheers, especially after strong individual actions. Tyrese Haliburton with 27 points and 15 assists for the Pacers was outstanding, as he was in the win against the Boston Celtics, and led the young team from Indianapolis to the final.
"We don't have any Hollywood guys on the team. We just have a lot of people on the team who keep their heads down and work," said Myles Turner, his team's second best thrower with 26 points. Giannis Antetokounmpo's 37 points were ultimately worthless for the Bucks.
In the late game between the Lakers and Pelicans, in addition to James, Anthony Davis also impressed with 15 rebounds to go with his 16 points and Austin Reaves, who contributed 17 points off the bench. It was James, who will soon be 39 years old, who turned around the 29:30 deficit after the first quarter with eleven points in a row. He hit three threes in a row, two of which were still on the logo with the new trophy, causing celebrations on the bench and in the stands.
The Lakers have now won three games in a row. In contrast to the previous games, the final on Saturday for Los Angeles and Indiana does not count towards the balance of the main round. There is generous prize money for the winners.