NBA: Davis, James power Lakers to inaugural Cup crown

AFP , Sunday 10 Dec 2023

The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by a monster game from Anthony Davis, beat the upstart Indiana Pacers 123-109 to win the first edition of the NBA in-season tournament on Saturday.

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers celebrates a basket against the Indiana Pacers during the fourth quarter in the championship game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on December 09, 2023 in Las Vegas. AFP


Davis scored 41 points and pulled down 20 rebounds while superstar LeBron James added 24 points and 11 rebounds for the 17-time NBA champion Lakers, who added the first NBA Cup to the club trophy case.

For the league's all-time leading scorer James, it was a brand new accolade in the 21st season of a career that has included four NBA titles and four NBA Most Valuable Player awards.

The 38-year-old got the nod as MVP of the tournament.

"We made history," James said as he celebrated on court with his teammates. "Anytime you're on the right side of history, you take it.

"The first in-season tournament belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers."

Led by Davis and James, the Lakers out-muscled the Pacers, never letting them get their high-octane offense to fully fire.

They out-scored the Pacers 86-44 in the paint and got the better of them on the boards 55-32.

"We wanted to be the first to win this," Davis said. "We know it's not the real thing, but we keep taking steps in the right direction.

"The first to do it, we'll take it."

The Lakers completed an unbeaten run through the tournament, which started with all 30 NBA teams drawn into six groups for round-robin play.

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