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.
Heading to the In-Season Tournament FINALS pic.twitter.com/D0OYz3fmED— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 8, 2023
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.