The stage is set. The Pacers will face the Lakers in the first-ever in-season tournament. We’ll revisiting the first-ever season of the in-season tournament leading up to the highly anticipated championship game.
On July 8, 2023, the NBA announced that they would be introducing an in-season tournament for all 30 teams. The new competition would debut in the 2023-24 season. In addition to the tournament, the NBA introduced bold new courts for the In-Season Tournament! All 30 teams used a unique design for Group Play and Quarterfinals. This was to help fans easily spot tournament games.
Fun fact: for the first time, the Celtics, Bulls, Lakers, Pelicans, and Trail Blazers would play on alternate courts.
The tournament kicked off on Nov. 3 between the Dallas Mavericks and the Denver Nuggets, both teams competed fiercely, with each side making impressive shots. However, Jokic’s performance stood out as he scored an impressive 33 points and made 14 of 16 shots from the field, leading the Nuggets to a 125-114 victory.
This marked the beginning of the NBA’s first-ever In-Season Tournament, featuring two of the league’s superstar players, that instantly captured everyone’s attention.
Aiming to bring a playoff-like intensity to regular games, the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Minnesota Timberwolves took an unexpected turn with an intense altercation involving Warriors’ guard Klay Thompson and Timberwolves’ forward Jaden McDaniels.
This resulted in both players being ejected from the game and Thompson’s jersey being ripped. The tension continued to increase as Draymond Green, also from the Warriors, was ejected for putting Timberwolves’ player Rudy Gobert in a headlock as he attempted to break up the initial altercation.
It was Karl-Anthony Towns who showed off his exceptional talent with a stellar 33-point performance, leading the Timberwolves to a thrilling victory over the Warriors in a heated tournament game. This was a one-of-a-kind game, as Draymond ultimately received a 10-game suspension for his actions during the incident.
#NBA #Timberwolves #Warriors
As the group play stage of the tournament neared its end, the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, and Phoenix Suns were all faced with intense matchups to secure their spots in the quarterfinals.
Luck was on Boston’s side as they dominated the Chicago Bulls in a 124-97 victory, and with the help of the Brooklyn Nets winning over Toronto. Despite being defeated by the eager Orlando Magic, the Celtics were still able to come out on top and win the East Group C, advancing to the quarterfinals.
The Knicks missed the chance to win Group B due to the Bucks remaining unbeaten. However, they snagged the wild-card spot in the East based on their point differential.
The Phoenix Suns clinched the wild card spot in the NBA after the Timberwolves beat the Thunder, but fell short by 38 points, just shy of beating the Suns in point differential. And lastly, the Sacramento Kings managed to overcome a daunting 24-point deficit and made an impressive comeback against the Warriors, securing their spot in the quarterfinals.
#Celtics #SacramentoKings #Phoenix Suns
It was time for the final eight teams in both the Eastern and Western conferences to face the win or go home moment. The action started with the 3rd seed Celtics taking on the second seed Indiana Pacers.
Remaining undefeated throughout the tournament, the Pacers defeated the Boston Celtics 122-112 in the quarterfinals knockout round, securing their spot in Vegas and a chance to compete in the semifinals.Despite the Knicks’ defense, the Bucks’ offense dominated in their 146-122 victory. Giannis scored 35 points, Lillard added 28, and the Bucks shot a remarkable 60.5% from the 3-point range.
The Sacramento Kings began the game strongly but the Pelicans quickly took control and won, resulting in their advancement to the semifinals of the in-season tournament in Las Vegas. Meanwhile, the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns was highly anticipated and turned out to be a close one. It came down to the final few plays of the game, and the Lakers emerged victorious with a score of 106-103. However, a late timeout call sparked controversy.
The In-Season Tournament semifinals kicked off on Thursday, December 7 in Vegas, starting off with the Indiana Pacers playing against the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks struggled early but made a comeback in the third quarter, led by Damian Lillard, who scored four points in the first half and then sparked a 25-9 surge.
Ultimately, the Pacers emerged victorious with a score of 128-119, led by Tyrese Haliburton. They advanced to the finals for a chance at their first-ever IST NBA championship. The Pelicans had a strong start, leading after the first quarter, and even coming within three points in the second. However, the Lakers dominated the second half, delivering a crushing 43-17 blowout in the third quarter and ultimately securing a 133-89 victory.
The Indiana Pacers offense and the Los Angeles defense will face off this Saturday, December 9, in the NBA Cup final. The winning team will be named the first-ever NBA Cup champions and the players will receive a generous prize of $500,000. However, there is much more to consider. Recently, the NBA released the list of trophies for the first-ever In-Season Tournament, which includes The NBA Cup, In-Season Tournament MVP Trophy, In-Season Tournament Medals, and All-Tournament Team Trophies.
Don’t miss out on the excitement! Follow us on Twitter at @JDSportsus for live-tweeting, recaps, and all the action from the first ever NBA in-Season Tournament Finals.