NBA: Lebron James helps Lakers topple the Pelicans and advance to the Finals

Nearly 39 years old on December 30, the “King” LeBron James led his Los Angeles Lakers to a resounding 133-89 victory against the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday in Las Vegas, setting up a new NBA Cup final matchup with Indiana.

On a red and blue design court, James woke up the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which had remained very quiet earlier in the afternoon for Indiana-Milwaukee. Although not completely full, the venue was packed with fans of the Lakers, an ultra-popular franchise across the country, and all the more so four hours’ drive from the City of Angels.

Los Angeles took off in the 3rd quarter (43-17), with a hellish LeBron, author of 30 points and 8 assists, shooting 9 out of 12 (4 out of 4 from distance, 8 out of 8 on free throws). All this in just 22 minutes, allowing him to go out for good in the middle of the 3rd period.

The “King” proved superior in all areas of the game to the poor, scattered Pelicans, and continues to impress with his strength, seriousness and desire in his 21st season.

“I wanted to share in this game, to make the right choices for my teammates,” he said.

The four-time NBA champion, the league’s all-time leading scorer, had warned from the outset that he could see himself amassing another trophy with this NBA Cup, created earlier this year to energize a soporific regular season.

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“I’ll settle for one word: extraordinary,” said his coach Darvin Ham. He’s the one who sets the tone, right from the start of the day, at the meetings, when we go to the stadium, to apply the game plan, with his energy, his physical sacrifice on his charges.”

After a first phase in November, with quarter-finals 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 city of gambling, which is multiplying major sports organizations (Formula 1 GP, Super Bowl 2024).

On Saturday, he will face the refreshing Indiana Pacers, led by current sensation Tyrese Haliburton.

The Pacers dominated Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks (128-119) earlier on Thursday, with 27 points and 15 assists for Haliburton, all without dropping a single ball – a rarity for a point guard with such responsibilities. He was well supported by pivot Myles Turner (26 points, 10 rebounds).

With 48 seconds to play, Haliburton unleashed his trademark full-speed three-pointer to finish off the Milwaukee Bucks, despite Antetokounmpo’s 37 points.

“I think we’re surprising quite a few people, nobody expected us to be at this level except ourselves in the privacy of the locker room,” commented the point guard.

“My team-mates put me in great positions, and allow me to make the right choices. Sometimes I make passes that are a bit off, and the guys make up for it and make me look a lot better than I am,” he humbly added.

“Tyrese (Haliburton) is a player who transforms a team, with him on the court anything is possible,” praised his coach Rick Carlisle.

All NBA Cup matches, except the final, also count towards the regular season.

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