The inaugural final for the NBA In-Season Tournament is here, and things could not have gone much better for the league. On one side stand the Indiana Pacers, led by rising superstar Tyrese Haliburton. The 23-year-old guard made his first All-Star appearance last season, but this tournament has made him a household name among the casuals. In these nationally-televised showcases, Haliburton has gone off for 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists against Milwaukee, and 27 points, seven rebounds, and 15 assists against Boston. Oh yeah, and he didn’t turn the ball over once in knocking out the two powerhouses in the East.
The Pacers are a League Pass darling, playing at the league’s fastest pace and going we the ol’ why defend when you can outscore ‘em philosophy. We’ve seen some absurd game totals in Indiana’s contests this year. Tonight is set at 243.0, per DraftKings.
On the other end is the old guard, LeBron James. If not the Greatest of All Time, certainly the Greatest of Our Time, LeBron has most definitely shown he cares about winning this tournament. He compiled 30 points, five rebounds, and eight assists in just 23 minutes of the Lakers’ blowout win over New Orleans. Prior to that, he toppled Kevin Durant and the Suns behind 31 points, eight rebounds, 11 assists, and five steals. It’s absolutely silly stuff for a guy who turns 39 years old later this month.
Rumors are swirling about how LeBron wants to own the inevitable NBA franchise is Las Vegas. Making this tournament work to increase league revenue, while helping to stoke the fires of basketball passion in the desert, seems firmly on his agenda.
Every player tonight already will $200,000 for making the final. That figure will get bumped up to $500,000 if they are on the winning team. You might not have cared much about this In-Season Tournament, but these teams have and it has made for some very compelling basketball. A one-game, winner take all with some of the best players in the world competing for a lot of money — why wouldn’t you want to tune in? The Lakers are 4.0-point favorites, as of this writing. Find out what happens and add your two cents on the proceedings here in the comments.
Who: Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
When: 8:30 pm EST
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV