NBA

Lakers get 30 points from James in rout of Pelicans to reach In-Season Tournament final

By Sports Desk December 08, 2023

LeBron James needed less than three quarters to score 30 points and the Los Angeles Lakers booked a spot in Saturday’s Inaugural In-Season Tournament final with a 133-89 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas.

Austin Reaves had 17 points and Anthony Davis added 16 with 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who will face the surprising Indiana Pacers for the NBA Cup.

Trey Murphy led New Orleans with 14 points and Zion Williamson had 13 with just two rebounds.

The Pelicans led 30-29 after the first quarter, but James opened the second by scoring the Lakers’ first 11 points, including three 3-pointers in a row.

James had 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting by halftime with Los Angeles up 67-54. He went to the bench midway through the third quarter and should be plenty rested for the final.

The Lakers have won three straight games and 11 of their past 15.

Haliburton leads Pacers over Bucks in In-Season Tournament semifinals

Tyrese Haliburton had 27 points and 15 assists, Myles Turner added 26 and the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 128-119 to advance to Saturday’s inaugural In-Season Tournament final.

Haliburton hit a dagger 3-pointer with 50 seconds remaining to put the Pacers up 122-114 and celebrated by mimicking Damian Lillard’s “Dame time” celebration.

The Pacers, who entered the game third in the NBA in 3-point shooting, shot just 7 of 33 from deep (21.2%) but scored 72 points in the paint.

Turner scored 10 of his 26 points in the first quarter, including a monstrous dunk over Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Isaiah Jackson, Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell combined to shoot 13 of 19 from the field while Indiana’s bench outscored Milwaukee’s 43-13.

Antetokounmpo had 37 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Bucks, while Lillard scored 24 and Khris Middleton added 20.

 

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    The New Orleans Pelicans will be without injured leading scorer Zion Williamson when they host the Sacramento Kings in Friday’s Western Conference play-in tournament elimination game.

    Williamson starred in his NBA postseason debut Tuesday, scoring 40 points while adding 11 rebounds and five assists in over 36 minutes of action against the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The two-time All-Star, though, missed the final three minutes of New Orleans’ 110-106 loss after injuring his left hamstring.

    Williamson tied the game at 95 with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter on a driving layup, but he left shortly after and headed to the Pelicans’ locker room.

    His huge performance caught the attention of Lakers superstar LeBron James.

    “He's a generational player, a generational talent. He's going to continue to get better and better,” James said. “Tonight was just a small microcosm of how great he can be, his ability to get downhill, finish vs. smalls, finish vs. bigs, taller guys, shorter guys, doesn't matter.

    “One thing about him, he's not afraid to compete. So, that's a great thing. He's a star.”

    Williamson missed plenty of time due to various injuries in his first four seasons after New Orleans selected him No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he was healthy throughout the 2023-24 campaign.

    Williamson appeared in a career-high 70 contests and led the Pelicans with 22.9 points per game while averaging 5.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists.

    The winner of Friday’s matchup between New Orleans and Sacramento will capture the No. 8 seed in the West and move on to play the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.

  • Stephen Curry included in star-studded USA basketball squad for Paris Olympics Stephen Curry included in star-studded USA basketball squad for Paris Olympics

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    LeBron James has warned the Los Angeles Lakers must play "mistake-free basketball" if they are to overcome the Denver Nuggets.

    The Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 110-106 on Tuesday, meaning they progress to the first round of the playoffs.

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    It was put to Lakers coach Darvin Ham that there had been reports the Lakers might throw their game against the Pelicans in order to go up against either the Sacramento Kings or the Golden State Warriors in the other play-in game.

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    "There was a report of what?" an incredulous Ham said. "Insane asylum sources say?"

    The Lakers reached the Conference Finals last year, and Anthony Davis is confident Los Angeles are coming into their best form at the opportune moment.

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