The Los Angeles Lakers prepared to take on the Indiana Pacers Saturday night in Las Vegas with the inaugural In-Season Tournament Championship on the line.
Lakers ageless wonder LeBron James drew a strong 2024 MVP take from Coach Darvin Ham. Favored by 3.5 points heading into the game, the Lakers were given a positive prediction by a media analyst recently.
The Lakers entered the game with a 14-9 record on the season compared to a 12-8 mark for the Pacers, their recent success reminiscent of the team's 2020 ‘Bubble' championship in Orlando.
On Saturday prior to the game, Lakers forward D'Angelo Russell spoke candidly about the tournament's impact.
Russell's Take On In-Season vs. Postseason Tournament
Russell did his best to explain his feelings on the mystique and excitement surrounding the In-Season Tournament Final prior to the game.
He said that the tournament has done a great job of preparing him for the post-season tournament, better known as the NBA Playoffs.
“It's one game not a series,” a fan said in contrast to Russell's comments.
Lakers Setting the Pace in Pacific Division
The Lakers headed into Saturday night's showdown with Indiana as the Pacific Division leaders, one half-game up on the Sacramento Kings.
The Suns, Clippers and Warriors each had between 10-12 wins, underscoring the closeness of the situation.
Stats-wise, the Lakers have been led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the scoring department.
James is averaging 25 points per game and Davis is averaging 22.7 points per game.
Russell and Austin Reaves are third and fourth on the team in scoring, respectively. Each has played 23 games, tied for most on Ham's team this season.