LAS VEGAS, United States — The Los Angeles Lakers, fueled by a monster game from Anthony Davis, beat the upstart Indiana Pacers 123-109 to win the first edition of the NBA in-season tournament on Saturday (Sunday, Manila time.)
Davis scored 41 points and pulled down 20 rebounds while superstar LeBron James added 24 points and 11 rebounds for the 17-time NBA champion Lakers, who added their first NBA Cup to the club trophy case.
For James, it was a brand new accolade in the 21st season of a career that has included four NBA titles, the 38-year-old getting the nod as Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Led by Davis and James, the Lakers out- muscled the Pacers, never letting them get their high-octane offense to fully fire.
They out-scored the Pacers 86-44 in the paint and got the better of them on the boards 55-32.
“We know it’s not the real thing, but we keep taking steps in the right direction,” Davis said. “I think just our energy, our effort to start the game, our focus, was off the charts tonight.
“The first to do it, we’ll take it.”
The Lakers completed an unbeaten run through t he tournament, which started with all 30 NBA teams drawn into six groups for round-robin play.
The Pacers came into the final unbeaten, having toppled the top two Eastern Conference Teams, Boston and Milwaukee, in the quarter-finals and semi-finals.
The Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns a nd crushed the New Orleans Pelicans in the knockout rounds.
The Lakers, backed by a partisan crowd at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, led most of the game, but Indiana managed to keep it close until Los Angeles put together a 13-0 scoring run late in the fourth quarter to finally put the game away.
Davis added five assists and four blocked shots — even though he appeared to be hindered by discomfort in the hip or groin after a scramble in the second half.
The Lakers, fueled by 17 points and 11 rebounds from Davis, led 65-60 at halftime. Austin Reaves piled up 22 of his 28 points off the bench in the first half.
Los Angeles made just two of 13 three-point attempts, but their dominance inside meant it didn’t matter.
They held the Pacers, who came in averaging more than 128 points per game, to 36.8 percent shooting.
Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton scored 20 points with 11 assists and three turnovers and Bennedict Mathurin added 20 points off the bench.
The Lakers pushed the lead to 11 three times in the third quarter but the Pacers, true to form, wouldn’t go away.
An alley-oop dunk by Davis, fed by James, put Los Angeles up 90-79 with 35.5 seconds left in the third. But the Pacers pounced on a James turnover with 2.8sec left in the period and Mathurin made a three-pointer that cut the Lakers’ lead to 90-82 heading into the final period.
A 7-2 run to start the fourth had the Pacers right back in it, but the Lakers just wouldn’t be denied.
MANILA, Philippines — The Benilde Blazers pulled away in the third quarter and secured the victory in a the first ever NCAA third place game at the expense of the Lyceum Pirates, 93-83, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
The two teams did not play with key cogs, as both Lyceum’s Enoch Valdez and Benilde’s Migs Oczon are now set to play professional basketball.
With Benilde leading by just two, 43-41, heading into the half, the Blazers unleashed a 9-2 run capped by a layup by Robi Nayve to break the game wide open, 52-43.
After Alvin Penafiel halted the Blazers’ run with a layup, Benilde uncorked a 13-6 assault to grab a 65-51 lead.
It was enough separation as Benilde breezed through to the finish line.
The lead grew to as much as 15 points, 66-81, following an and-one play by John Morales with 6:03 left in the game.
Lyceum was not able to close the gap to a single digit deficit.
Nayve had 18 points, five rebounds and four assists for Benilde.
Nayve, Prince Carlos and Will Gozum are all set to leave the team after exhausting their playing years.
Joshua Cajucom chipped in 15 markers, while Miggy Corteza shared the scoring load with 14 of his own.
Mclaude Guadana had 16 points for Lyceum.
Penafiel added 15 markers.