The Championship game of the NBA In-Season Tournament featured two stylistically different teams between the Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers.
The Lakers boast size at every position and are one of the best defensive teams in the league, while the Pacers are a young and fast group that owns the NBA’s best offense. Headlined by Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana has been able to score on every team and win in style.
However, Haliburton and his group were unable to get their normal amount of points in against Los Angeles who swarmed them every chance they got. Quarterbacking the team was Anthony Davis, who had his best game of the tournament by dropping 41 points, 20 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.
Davis looked like a man on a mission on both sides of the floor and Christian Wood got an early warning that the star big man would put on a performance as if he was playing a Game 7, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“I think AD, he was at Level 1 and took it to Level 3,” Wood told ESPN. “He told me before the game, ‘This is Game 7 for me, I’m going to show you what a Game 7 is like.’ I’ve never been in one before. I said, ‘All right, show me.’ And he went out there and he got 40 and 20. That’s incredible.”
Game 7s are the most tense games a player can ever participate in, and Davis is no stranger to playing in high-leverage contests. Wood hasn’t ever been in a position to see a team compete for something meaningful, and he was understandably in awe of Davis’ dominant performance.
That version of Davis is the one fans are hoping they get the rest of the 2023-24 season because he’s a legitimate top-five player that can change the course of games on either side of the floor. Davis has been propped up as the next face of the franchise by everyone including LeBron James and if he can show up like this in the playoffs then the purple and gold should feel good about their title chances.
Lakers unsure about raising banner for In-Season Tournament championship
By virtue of winning the NBA In-Season Tournament, the Lakers took home the first-ever NBA Cup as well as $500,000 for each player on the roster. However, the team is reportedly unsure if they’ll raise a banner for the championship at Crypto.com Arena considering they only hang NBA Championship banners.
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