Recap: Lakers Demolish Pelicans To Advance To In-Season Tournament Finals
LeBron James
Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

After going a perfect 4-0 in group play and beating the Phoenix Suns in the quarterfinals, the Los Angeles Lakers advanced to the semifinals of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.

That allowed them to advance to Las Vegas, where they took on the New Orleans Pelicans at T-Mobile Arena with a spot in the championship game on the line. Ultimately, it was the Lakers who came out on top with a dominant 133-89 victory and they will now take on the Indiana Pacers in the finals on Saturday night.

The Lakers got off to a quick 5-0 start on a three-point play by LeBron James and layup by D’Angelo Russell before CJ McCollum got the Pelicans on the board with a triple. In a rarity, L.A. was hot from 3 early with Cam Reddish and Taurean Prince both connecting from deep to give them an early 15-11 lead.

From there though, bad habits remerged for the Lakers as they were careless with the ball and struggled on the defensive glass, allowing New Orleans to take the lead.

As is normally the case, Austin Reaves came off the bench and immediately restored order with a pair of 3-pointers. The Pelicans hit some shots from deep too though and eventually took a slim 30-29 lead into the second quarter.

James was on one to start the second as he made three triples in a row to give the Lakers another advantage. He then found Russell for another 3 and all of a sudden L.A. had its first double-digit lead.

Not only was James getting it done offensively, but he was making an impact on the other end too by taking three charges in the first half. Prince also stayed hot with another corner triple and L.A. went into the halftime locker room leading 67-54.

The Lakers came out as a team on a mission to begin the third quarter, quickly building their lead to 20 with James and Anthony Davis getting to the free throw line. L.A.’s star duo continued dominating inside from there and midway through the third quarter, the lead was built all the way up to 30.

Even the Lakers’ bench continued to build that lead as the Pelicans simply looked dead. The Lakers eventually took an insane 110-71 lead into the fourth quarter. That allowed Darvin Ham to rest his key guys like James and Davis in the fourth, keeping them fresh for Saturday’s championship game.

James played just 22 minutes on the night and finished with 30 points, five rebounds and eight assists on 9-of-12 shooting. Davis played 31 minutes and had 16 points, 15 rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks.

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