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NBA In-season Tournament

The NBA held its first ever in-season tournament where it gained massive attention across the sports world. Fans all across the NBA got to witness a brief  preview of how this year’s playoff atmosphere and matchups will be like. The in-season tournament is made up of six different groups, three groups in the west and three in the east with each group consisting of five teams. In-season games were played on Tuesdays and Thursdays where the top four teams with the best record in their group from each conference got to compete in the In-season playoffs held in Las Vegas. To signify the importance of the games, new colorful courts filled the arena while players wore special jerseys that were custom to each team. The winning team got awarded a trophy as well as 500,000 dollars in incentives for players and winning coaches. Which for younger players can be a very large bonus. 

 This year’s bracket was made up of young upcoming teams and some teams that had high hopes coming into the season. In the western conference quarterfinals, the one seeded Los Angeles Lakers competed against a former head coach Frank Vogel and the Phoenix suns.  After a controversial call late in the 4th quarter and a missed game tying three by Kevin Durant, Lebron and the Lakers held on to the win 106-103. The other quarterfinal game in the west consisted of the Sacramento Kings who made the playoffs last year and the New Orelans Pelicans who came as a shock to some NBA fans as they just missed the playoffs the year prior. While on the road the Pelicans pulled off a surprising victory over a healthy Kings team with a final score of 127-117. 

In the east the one seeded Bucks took care of business in Milwaukee with a blowout win led by superstar duo Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokunmpo combining for 63 points and a victory over the New York Knicks, 146-122. 

The Indiana Pacers established themselves as a team to not take lightly as they had a stellar run during the In-season tournament. Leading them to a perfect 4-0 record in group play, young superstar Tyrese Halliburton took command. Leading the Pacers to a huge upset over the Celtics, as Boston has the best overall record in the NBA. Halliburton dropped his first ever triple double in the NBA as Indiana defeated Boston 122-112.

 The western In-season semifinals wasn’t much of a thriller as the Lakers torched the pelicans throughout the whole night with a final score of 133-89. On the other side of the bracket the Pacers showed up to play. Again the Pacers knocked off a finals contending team in the Milwaukee Bucks. Haliburton for the second consecutive game showed why his ceiling is higher than just about anyone’s in the NBA as he had 27 points and dished out 15 assists with zero turnovers while holding off Damian Lillard and the Bucks in a 128-119 victory. 

Now the Pacers find their toughest opponent yet in the championship. The game was neck in neck between the two until the Lakers pulled away late in the 4th. A statement Game from  Anthony Davis and the Lakers kept them in the lead the whole game. Although Haliburton had a double-double in assists and points it wasn’t enough to compete with Anthony Davis’s dominant 41 point and 20 rebound performance. As the Final buzzer sounded the Los Angeles Lakers were your first ever In-season champions. Lebron James was awarded the In-season MVP. 

“The Lakers winning the tournament shows they can compete with the top teams and is a preview of what to come.” Said junior Brett Hollowell.

 The In-season tournament gave fans excitement within the middle of the  season. Years prior fan interest declined towards mid-season because some players were holding out due to load management and teams seemed less competitive towards the middle of the season. Commissioner Adam Silver implemented this new tournament in hopes to draw viewership back, and he did just that. 


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About the Contributor
Danny Diaz
Danny Diaz, Sports Editor
Danny is in 11th grade at San Marcos High School. As a freshman, he was a staff writer and found himself as the sports editor writer in his junior year. He enjoys writing about sports, specifically San Marcos sports, but also likes writing about pro sports. His favorite subjects in school consist of English and history. Outside of school, Danny has fun hanging out with his family and friends and playing basketball.
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