LA, Indiana in the First NBA In Season Tournament Finals
By Teodoro Medina Reynoso
Sat, 09 Dec 2023
The Los Angeles Lakers which won its last NBA title in 2020, and the Indiana Pacers which are titleless since joining the league in the 70s, will be meeting in the finals of the inaugural NBA in season tournament Saturday night in Las Vegas (Sunday morning Manila time).
This will only the second meeting of note between the Lakers and the Pacers since the NBA Finals series in 2000 won 4-2 by the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O Neal led Lakers over Indiana then bannered by Reggie Miller and Chris Mullins
The Lakers and the Pacers topped their respective Conference groupings that involved all 30 teams and defeated their respective semifinals opponents namely the New Orleans Pelicans and the Milwaukee Bucks to advance to this first NBA in season tournament final.
The Lakers starring Lebron James and Anthony Davis routed the Pelicans, 133-89 and the Pacers led by super rookie Tyrese Haliburton surprised the Giannis Antetokounmpo powered Bucks, 128-119 to arrange their finals meeting in the pro league's first in season tournament meant to soup up competitions and sustain fan interest during its long drawn 82 games regular season schedule.
Aside from King James and AD, the Lakers will count on D'Angelo Russell, Austin Reeves, Taurean Prince, Rui Hachimura and Christian Wood.
Meanwhile, apart from Haliburton and Myles Turner, the Pacers will bank on the support from Obi Toppin, Bruce Brown Jr. and Isiah Jackson.
All games from the qualifying through the semifinals are counted in the post season standings of teams as they are essentially based on the teams regular season schedules on home and away intra or extra conference bases.
Many teams though especially the pre-tournament favorites as defending champions Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and the Dallas Mavericks did not fare well in this in season tournament suggesting they did not take it seriously.
The Lakers in fact said they will not hang the championship banner should they win tomorrow's finals against the Pacers.
It could be different though for the Pacers which are looking for their next major NBA trinket after winning the 2000 NBA East Conference championship and bolting from the now defunct American Basketball Association (ABA) which they dominated in the early 70s.
The author Teodoro Medina Reynoso is a veteran boxing radio talk show host living in the Philippines. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone 09215309477.
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