LeBron James Named MVP As Lakers Win NBA’s First In-Season Tournament

The Lakers pulled away from the Pacers Saturday night in Las Vegas to finish the in-season tournament unbeaten and claim the first-ever NBA Cup.

LeBron James was named tournament MVP after posting 24 points, 11 rebounds and four assists as L.A. secured a 123-109 victory in the title game. Anthony Davis was the night’s biggest star with 41 points, 20 rebounds and five assists, while Austin Reaves contributed 28 points.

James was the MVP choice of 14 of the 20 writers who voted (Twitter link from NBA Communications). Davis got five votes, and one went to Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton.

At the post-game press conference, James said the Lakers showed growth as a team throughout the tournament (video link from Khobi Price of The Orange County Register).

“I feel like guys have felt a lot more comfortable in their roles,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty good understanding of rotations, who we’re going to be playing with, what guys want to do out on the floor. Like AD said, getting (Jarred Vanderbilt) back, getting Rui (Hachimura) back has definitely helped our size. Getting Cam (Reddish) back has helped us out a lot.”

Apart from two games with the Suns, the Lakers weren’t really tested as they posted a 7-0 record in tournament play. Assigned to West Group A, they began with a three-point win at Phoenix on November 10, then followed with comfortable victories over Memphis, Portland and Utah.

Knockout play began Tuesday with another three-point victory over the Suns, followed by a 44-point blowout of the Pelicans in Thursday’s semifinals.

Indiana suffered its first loss of the tournament after advancing out of East Group A, then upsetting the Celtics and Bucks in knockout games.

“We just got outplayed tonight from the start of the game to the end of the game,” Haliburton said (Twitter link from Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star). They just outplayed us.”

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