LeBron James, predictably, relished the opportunity to perform on the shiny new stage provided by the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas, leading the Los Angeles Lakers (14-9) to a 133-89 rout over the New Orleans Pelicans in Las Vegas.

To use one of LeBron's favorite movie lines: “Are you not entertained?”

The almost-39-year-old College Dad was springier than anybody in the T-Mobile Arena. In the first half of the semifinal matchup, he raced out to 21 points, drilled all four of his 3s — including three in a row, culminating in a logo bomb — and even took three charges.

“Anytime your best player takes three charges in the first half, especially with (Zion Williamson) coming down the paint, it sets a tone,” said Austin Reaves. “And that trickles down to everybody else.”

LeBron was asked if he's “a little old to be taking charges in December.”

“Not for that $500K, I ain't.”

A hyper-engaged LeBron sprinted back on defense and relentlessly attacked the rim. He cooked elite wing defender Herb Jones (14 years his junior) for an and-1 on the opening possession. In a mere (and historical) 22 minutes, LeBron finished with 30 points on 9-for-12 shooting, eight assists, and a +36. He didn't miss from deep or the free-throw line.

“It’s impressive to watch him turn it to another gear,” said D'Angelo Russell. “He can shoot it better, he’s faster, he’s not getting tired. I don’t even understand.”

Fellow all-time greats Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal perhaps summed it up best as highlights rolled on Inside the NBA.

“You know what's amazing?,” said Chuck. “The oldest guy out there looks like the youngest guy out there.”

“He sure do,” said Shaq.

LeBron easily outdueled Zion, who had 13 points and two rebounds. Anthony Davis put in 16 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks, and two steals. Russell, Reaves, and Taurean Prince had strong showings.

But everything, as usual, revolved around the man planning to bring an expansion franchise to the desert.

Through 23 games of the 2023-24 season, James is averaging 24.7 points on 54.6% shooting, 38.7% from 3, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.6 assists. He's also been the most clutch player in the NBA, though he didn't need to flex those muscles on Thursday thanks to his own first-half dominance.

“Extraordinary. Otherworldly,” described Darvin Ham. “He’s a one-of-one. The ultimate tone-setter. He set an unbelievable tone from the start of the game, and his teammates followed suit.”

The Lakers are 6-0 in the In-Season Tournament — with a staggering +116 point differential — and have won eight of their past 11 games. They'll face the barn-burning Indiana Pacers (12-8, 6-0 in IST) on Saturday.

If LeBron leads the Lakers to the NBA Cup, he can likely add “In-Season Tournament MVP” to his résumé (I wouldn't bet against him eventually becoming the namesake of the trophy). If this nonsense persists, we'll have to start seriously considering a 21-year veteran for the real MVP.

“Without question,” Ham responded when asked if LeBron should be in the MVP discuss “The way he impacts winning. What he's doing at this stage of his career, without question. That’s a no-brainer.”