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LeBron James takes home MVP of first-ever In-Season Tournament: ‘We made history’

of Los Angeles Lakers is the NBA's first In-Season Tournament (IST) Champion.

lebron james On Saturday night, the Lakers defeated the Indiana Pacers 123-109 in Las Vegas to take home the championship trophy.

The Los Angeles Lakers pose for a photo with the NBA Cup after winning the in-season tournament championship against the Indiana Pacers at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on December 9, 2023. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

As the winner of the first IST, each Lakers player on a standard contract will take home $500,000 in prize money.

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“We made history,” James said on court after the win. “And whenever you're on the right side of history, you'll get it. The first in-season tournament belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. It'll never, never, never top .So far.”

guided by 8-time All-Star appearance The Lakers, led by Anthony Davis, held the lead for most of the game until pulling away in the fourth quarter.

On the night, Davis had 41 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, and four blocks.

“I think AD. He went from being at Level 1 to being at Level 3,” Lakers backup center Christian Wood told ESPN. “Before the game, he said, 'This is my Game 7. I'm going to show you what a Game 7 is like.' Okay, let me see.'' And he went out there and scored 40 points and 20 points. That’s unbelievable.”

Anthony Davis speaks to the media

Anthony Davis of the Los Angeles Lakers speaks to the media after winning the In-Season Tournament Championship on December 9, 2023 in Las Vegas. (Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, winning his first MVP award.

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“They're a hell of a one-two punch.” lakers coach Darvin Ham said of James and Davis: “Those one or two guys could be either on any given night. At the end of the day, they know how to go to the next level when everything is on the line.”

of Pacers were wandering around. Until the Lakers went on a 13-0 run midway through the fourth quarter.

“Tonight, from start to finish, we just lost,” Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton said. “We didn't do our job with loose balls, we didn't rebound, we didn't get enough stops when we needed to. They just outplayed us, so it's frustrating. It's funny because everyone says this is the NCAA Tournament atmosphere. , “After the game,'' it's the kind of game where you sit in the locker room and say, “Most of us don't graduate.'' we play on monday. ”

LeBron James and IST MVP

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers receives the season tournament MVP trophy on December 9, 2023 in Las Vegas. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Each Indiana player on a standard contract earned $200,000.

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“Our players got a real taste of what the high stage is all about,” Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said. “It's so important to have this experience, to feel the intensity, to feel the glare and the shine, and to know what it means to be fully united to overcome it. We overcame a lot of challenges along the way, and tonight was a little too fast.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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