The inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament is almost done. After one incredibly tight and contested semifinal and one…less close semifinal Wednesday Night, the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers have punched their tickets to the finals.

Despite being met with some apprehension at its announcement, the NBA IST has delivered some of the best early-season games in years. It has teams playing hard for the chance at $500K for each of their players, and has powered the emergence of stars around the league.

The Lakers have an almost 39-year-old LeBron James playing out of his mind and battling through the best in the West (during the IST). The Pacers have an exciting young team playing to their potential ahead of schedule, led by the emergence of Tyrese Haliburton.

Here's everything you need to know about the first ever NBA IST Final.

How to Watch NBA In-Season Tournament Final

The NBA In-Season Tournament Final is this Saturday in Las Vegas at 8:30 P.M. Eastern time. ESPN and ABC get the honor of broadcasting the first-ever final of the NBA IST, and you can catch the game on ABC or ESPN2 on TV.

For streaming, you can watch via ESPN's website or ESPN+ or through fuboTV with no additional subscription fee. In a win for fans of the NBA and its iconic big personalities in and around the league, ESPN and TNT partnered up to deliver joint coverage of the semifinals Thursday night.

Many moments from that coverage went viral, especially Charles Barkley and Stephen A. Smith going back and forth across the live sets and a special “Who he play for?” segment. It seems unlikely that coverage will continue for the final, but maybe fans will be surprised one more time.

Date: Saturday, December 9, 8:30 p.m. EST

Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV

T.V. channel: ABC/ESPN2| Live stream: fuboTV (click for a free trial)

Fanduel Odds: Lakers -4 | O/U 240.5

How the Lakers got here

The Lakers have been the best team in the In-Season Tournament. They beat the Phoenix Suns by three in their first game and took care of the rest of their group handily to finish with a +74 point differential and get the top seed in the knockout rounds in the west. They drew the Suns again, squeaked by them again, and then demolished the New Orleans Pelicans in the semifinal.

And they're doing it all behind the incredible play of LeBron James. James is scoring 26.8 points per game in the IST, and he dropped 30 in 23 minutes against the Pelicans. The Lakers rode a 43-17 third quarter to a dominant 133-89 win.

The only real knock on the Lakers during this run was their controversial last-second timeout call against the Suns in the quarterfinal. But they proved they deserve to be here and will be gunning for that tournament title.

How the Pacers got here

The Pacers have been just as good as the Lakers on their run. They also went 4-0 in their group to grab the #2 seed in the East. They pulled off tight wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks before demolishing the lowly Detroit Pistons to win their group. The Pacers then drew the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics, who were 15-4 on the year entering the knockout rounds.

They left 15-5 thanks to one of many IST Tyrese Haliburton masterclasses, a 26/10/13 triple-double. Then he followed that up with a 27/7/15 game against the Milwaukee Bucks to take the Pacers to the finals. This means Tyrese Haliburton put up 53 points, 17 rebounds, and 28 assists on ZERO turnovers in two knockout games so far in the IST. Watch out, LA. You may be in trouble.

NBA In-Season Tournament Final's Storylines

Lakers' Austin Reaves thinks an MVP could be in Tyrese Haliburton's future

LeBron, the ever-ageless wonder and the rising superstar of Tyrese Haliburton, are the dominant players on everyone's minds ahead of this championship game. The atmosphere should be electric, as fans from Los Angeles have a short travel day to make it to Las Vegas on a Saturday Night.

While the Lakers organization seems to be taking the snobbery route regarding what the IST title would mean, everyone else seems pretty fired up. The funny thing about the In-Season Tournament is that it lacks the tradition of so many other aspects of the league.

It's up to the players, coaches, fans, and organizations to decide what it means. The players across the league have been motivated to earn the extra cash for themselves, their teammates, and their families, but one of the most interesting things will be how the winning team celebrates, what they say it means to them, and how it's received across the league.

There will be great basketball played, no doubt. It's the GOAT and one of the league's biggest brands against an exciting young team defying all expectations for their season so far. But leagues steeped in tradition like the NBA rarely add something like the NBA Cup to its calendar. And it is a privilege to get to watch the start of something so new and so exciting.