NBA In-Season Tournament Finals : LeBron James Dominates as Lakers Reach Finals

LeBron James dominates the NBA in-season tournament semifinals, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a blowout victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

LeBron James, in a dazzling display of skill, leads the Los Angeles Lakers to victory in the NBA in-season tournament semifinals against the New Orleans Pelicans.

In a stunning display of skill and dominance, LeBron James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a resounding 133-89 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA in-season tournament semifinals. The win sets up a championship showdown against the Indiana Pacers, who secured an unexpected run to the finals with a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Let’s delve into the electrifying performance and what it means for the Lakers as they eye the NBA in-season tournament title.

LeBron James’ Masterclass

At 38 years old, LeBron James showcased why the debate over his status as the greatest player of all time persists. The second quarter saw a spectacular display as James posted 18 points, including three deep 3-pointers that left fans and opponents in awe. His influence extended into the third quarter, where the Lakers unleashed devastating runs, ultimately establishing a commanding 110-71 lead.

In just 23 minutes of play, James concluded the game with an impressive stat line: 30 points on 9-of-12 shooting, 4-of-4 from beyond the arc, eight assists, five rebounds, and a team-high +36 rating. The Lakers, not solely dependent on James, had five other players in double-digit scoring by the fourth quarter.

Financial Stakes and Tournament Dynamics

While the Pelicans earned $100,000 for making it to Las Vegas, both the Lakers and Pacers are guaranteed $200,000 each, with the potential to increase their winnings to half a million dollars in the championship game. This financial incentive adds an extra layer of motivation to an already intense and competitive tournament setting.

Lakers vs. Pelicans: Betting Odds and Predictions

As the Lakers gear up to face the Pelicans, betting enthusiasts are closely watching the odds and predictions for the game. SportsLine’s advanced computer simulation model, boasting a remarkable track record, offers insights into the matchup. Currently, the Lakers are favored by 2 points, with a projected total points over/under set at 230. The model leans towards the under, projecting 223 combined points. This data, derived from 10,000 simulations, provides valuable guidance for those looking to make informed betting decisions.

Why the Pelicans Can Cover

New Orleans, despite their semifinal loss, displayed offensive prowess in the quarterfinals, scoring 127 points on 54% shooting. Key players like Brandon Ingram, averaging 23.7 points per game, contribute to the team’s impressive offensive capabilities. Additionally, the Pelicans boast solid defensive metrics, forcing turnovers and limiting opponents’ 3-point shooting percentage.

Why the Lakers Can Cover

The Lakers, led by the dynamic duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, present a formidable challenge for the Pelicans. James, in particular, continues to operate at an elite level, with the Lakers showcasing strong defense and effective offensive strategies. The model suggests the Lakers have the potential to cover the spread in over 50% of simulations.

Lakers’ Season Narrative

The Lakers’ journey through the NBA Cup and the NBA  in-season tournament marks a turning point in their season. After a tumultuous start, highlighted by inconsistencies and a negative point differential, the Lakers have found their rhythm. With key players like Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell, and others contributing, the team is on a 11-4 run in their last 15 games. LeBron James, playing at an exceptional level, remains a linchpin for their success.

Zion Williamson and Pelicans’ Accountability

For the Pelicans, the loss against the Lakers serves as a harsh reality check. Zion Williamson, the team’s star forward, took accountability for what Coach Willie Green termed a “lack of competitive spirit.” Williamson acknowledged his need to be more aggressive and influential in future games, emphasizing the learning opportunity presented by facing experienced teams like the Lakers.

LeBron’s Age-Defying Excellence

LeBron James, approaching his 39th birthday, continues to defy age and expectations. His performances, particularly the 30-point showcase against the Pelicans, reaffirm his status as a dominant force in the league. Despite nearing four decades of age, James remains a pivotal player for the Lakers, contributing to their resurgence in the NBA Cup.


As the Lakers prepare to face the Indiana Pacers in the NBA in-season tournament finals, the narrative is one of redemption and resurgence. LeBron James, with his age-defying brilliance, leads a Lakers team that has overcome early-season challenges. The championship game promises high stakes, both financially and in terms of team pride, setting the stage for a thrilling conclusion to the inaugural NBA in-season tournament. Whether LeBron and the Lakers can seize this opportunity will be revealed on Saturday night.

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