Hate it or Love it: In-Season Tournament player performances

What we loved and hated about the Pacers-Bucks and Lakers-Pelicans In-Season Tournament semifinals.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
2 of 2
Next

New Orleans Pelicans vs Los Angeles Lakers

Love it: In less than 30 minutes, LeBron James made history

Clearly, the Lakers weren't interested in repeating the same nail-biting finish they experienced against the Phoenix Suns in the quarterfinals this past week. The LA Lakers beat the New Orleans Pelicans 133-89 and now prepare to take on the Indiana Pacers in the In-Season Tournament's inaugural championship game. With 133 points scored, there's a lot to love about the Lakers' performance. Austin Reaves contributed 17 points and was the second-leading scorer. Anthony Davis was impressive on the glass and shot the ball efficiently. However, there's a reason this game was over early, and that's simply because LeBron James was in attack mode from the get-go. 

At the start of the second quarter, while New Orleans was up 30-29, LeBron James went on an 11-0 run by himself. He made three 3-pointers in a row, launching and swishing two from nearly the logo. In 23 minutes, LeBron tallied 30 points, eight assists, five rebounds, and 0 turnovers. According to statistical records, he is the first NBA player to record five rebounds, five assists, and 30 points in 23 minutes or less. James was sent to the bench midway through the third quarter and never returned. In his 21st season, LeBron is still locked in, taking charges, and doing all he can to help his team win.

Hate it: Pelicans' stars were nowhere to be found

To put it gently: the Pelicans got punked by the Lakers last night. There's a lot to scoff at. Whenever you look at the box score and see Jonas Valanciunas had three rebounds, you know you're in for a doozie. With that said, rebounding was a problem for the Pelicans. If you're expecting Dyson Daniels to win you the game on the glass, you will lose.

The Lakers had a net rebound differential of plus-17. According to ESPN, this was the third most lopsided loss in New Orleans franchise history. After the game, Coach Willie Green told his players, "You’ve got to give [The Lakers] credit. They came out and dominated. ... But tonight we took a step in the wrong direction."

Midway through the third quarter, you could feel this aura of defeat coming from the Pelicans. There was hesitation to their approach. The Pelicans' powerful trio of McCollum, Ingram, and Williamson didn't perform up to par. Trey Murphy III, who has only played in three games this season, was the Pelicans' top scorer. He scored 14 points. (Their leading scorer had 14 points, just think about that).

In fact, the Pelicans' trio of McCollum, Ingram, and Williamson combined for just 31 points. That's only one more point than LeBron James scored alone. Comparatively, the Lakers' trio of Reaves, Davis, and James combined for 63 points. After the game, Zion took accountability for his lack of production. "I got to be better." Williamson said, "I think I was too laid-back tonight, and I just can't do that. And defensively I got to be better." Ultimately, the Pelicans' lack of production from their top players cost them the game, and Zion's acknowledgment of his own shortcomings should be seen as a step in the right direction.

Next. story link. The Whiteboard: Next young star, Luka overrated?, and In-Season Tournament prediction. dark