For the first time in the NBA, fans witnessed another tournament that ran simultaneously with the regular season, and they couldn’t get enough of it. The Lakers fans must be thrilled right now as the Los Angeles Lakers have advanced to the quarterfinals of the inaugural NBA in-season tournament in the league. The happiest people, though, are LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
LeBron James is clearly thrilled to be a contender to be the tournament winner—partly because each player on the victorious squad will receive a guaranteed $500,000 in prize money. “Y’all heard that there’s $500,000 on the line, so we’re going for that,” James said to reporters at a press conference after the Lakers’ first road victory of the year.
Clinching a spot in the In-Season Tournament knockout round? That was so last week
— Lakers Lead (@LakersLead) November 29, 2023
Even Anthony Davis shares the same motivation as James. He also revealed that the prize money was something that fascinated him. “$500k sounds real good. It’s gonna bring that juice, you know what I mean?” he said. Undoubtedly, having half a million dollars on the line motivates the Lakeshow much more than anything else, especially for the players whose contracts aren’t as lavish as those of their team’s billionaire leader.
Which NBA teams other than the Los Angeles Lakers have qualified for the knockout round?
Now that they have defeated their West Group A bracket opponent 4-0, LA will have a home-court advantage going into the In-Season Tournament playoffs. But that does not mean that it will be easy for the Lakers. The Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks, and New York Knicks advanced from the Eastern Conference, while the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, and Sacramento Kings qualified from the Western Conference. This completed the eight-team field for the knockout round.
BREAKING: The NBA’s first In-Season Tournament confirmed final teams:
Who you got? pic.twitter.com/YlVCu8kaSR
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) November 29, 2023
Next week, single-elimination quarterfinal matches between the top teams from the group round will kick off the NBA’s knockout round. The victors move on to the semifinals of the competition, where the East and West semifinalists square off in the championship match. The victorious team receives a bonus of $500,000, while the runners-up take home $20,000.
The quarterfinals between the Suns and Lakers will take place on the road on December 4 and 5. The Lakers seem to be in a better position right now as James and Davis didn’t take long to debut the two-man chemistry they had been developing over the previous five seasons with the Purple and Gold.
The semifinals and finals will be held in Las Vegas on December 7 and 9. To guarantee they play a regular 82-game schedule, the 22 teams that did not make it to the quarterfinals will play regular season games on December 6 and December 8.