On a red and blue designer pitch, LeBron James woke up the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which remained very quiet at the start of the afternoon for Indiana-Milwaukee. Not completely full, the room was still filled with supporters of the Lakers, an ultra-popular franchise across the country, especially a four-hour drive from the City of Angels.
Los Angeles took off during the 3rd quarter (43 to 17), with a hell of LeBron, author of 30 points and 8 assists, 9 out of 12 shooting (4 out of 4 from afar, 8 out of 8 from free throws). All in just 22 minutes, allowing him to leave for good in the middle of the 3rd period.
The “King” (39 years old on December 30) showed himself superior in all areas of the game to the poor, scattered Pelicans, and continues to impress with his strength, his seriousness and his desire for his 21st season.
The four-time NBA champion, top scorer in the history of the league, had warned from the start that he would see himself amassing a new trophy with this NBA Cup, created in 2023 to energize a soporific regular season.
After a first phase in November, quarters on Monday and Tuesday, the final-4 of the tournament takes place from Thursday to Saturday, the day of the final, in Las Vegas.
An important symbol for LeBron James, who hopes to become a shareholder in a future NBA franchise in the gaming city, which is multiplying major sports organizations (Formula 1 GP, Super Bowl 2024).
On Saturday, he will find the refreshing Indiana Pacers on his way, led by the sensation of the moment Tyrese Haliburton.
The Pacers dominated Giannis Antetokounmpo's Milwaukee Bucks (128-119) earlier Thursday, with 27 points and 15 assists for Haliburton, all without losing a single ball, a rarity for a leader with such responsibilities. He was well supported by pivot Myles Turner (26 points, 10 rebounds).
With 48 seconds left in the game, Haliburton unleashed his style at full speed, a three-point shot that finished off the Milwaukee Bucks, despite Antetokounmpo's 37 points.
“I think we are surprising a lot of people, no one expected us at this level, except ourselves in the privacy of the locker room,” commented the leader.
“My teammates put me in great positions, and allow me to make the right choices. Sometimes I make slightly missed passes, the guys catch up and make me seem much better than I am,” he humbly added.
“Tyrese (Haliburton) is a player who transforms a team, with him on the field everything is possible,” praised his coach Rick Carlisle.
All NBA Cup matches, except the final, also count towards the regular season.