The Lakers take on the Pacers tonight in the final of the first NBA in-season tournament. They are coming off a dominant win in the semifinals over the New Orleans Pelicans. LA’s defense was very impressive, led by Jarred Vanderbilt and Anthony Davis alongside Cam Reddish’s stellar performance on the perimeter. Davis, Vanderbilt, and LeBron James are all probable.
Tonight the Lakers face a different test in Tyrese Haliburton. Haliburton is one of the league’s best guards; an elite passer and a electric scorer. He has deep range and is a nightmare to guard in the pick and roll. The Laker defense will need to make someone other than Halliburton beat them tonight, as the young guard can take over the game at any point and has the ability to single-handedly to win the game for the Pacers. The Lakers have the length defensively to try and contain Halliburton, but they must stay disciplined.
Control the Pace
Tonight will be a battle between the frantic pace that the Pacers like to play with or the slow, controlled pace which LeBron’s Lakers like to operate in. LA can’t afford to get into a running match with Indiana with the speed of Halliburton and the transition ability of Buddy Hield. LA needs to force Indiana to play against their set defense as much as possible. At the other end, they should let LeBron work, as is a master of manipulating pick and rolls and matchups, and the Lakers are at their best when he’s doing that.
Can the Lakers finish the in season tournament undefeated and get $500k for each player on the roster? Will we see another vintage LeBron performance to take the Lakers over the line and win the the first ever NBA Cup? Tip-off is at 8:30 ET.
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