NBA Cup final 2023: Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers – live | NBA Cup

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Indiana 38-44 Los Angeles; 8.59, second quarter

Another driving lay-up by Reaves makes it 42-38. That’s 11 points in seven minutes for the super sub. Moments later, LeBron grabs a defensive rebound off a Bruce Brown miss, drives the length of the court, misses a lay-up, grabs his own rebounds and puts it back for a six-point lead. A furious Rick Carlisle calls a timeout along the Indiana sideline.

End of first quarter: Indiana 29-34 Los Angeles

The Pacers closed the margin to a single point with about a minute and a half to go, but the Lakers closed with on four straight points from Austin Reaves, who has responded to his recent move from the starting lineup to the bench with nothing but positivity. All told, it could be a lot worse for Indiana given the extent to which Halliburton (three points) has been contained through the opening quarter. Notable stat: The Lakers have 26 points in the paint so far compared to 12 for the Pacers.

Indiana 23-28 Los Angeles; 3.08, first quarter

Another TV timeout. Tough sledding for the Pacers’ Tyrese Halliburton so far. He’s been trapped by the Lakers non-stop and so far been held to 1-for-3 from the field (all from beyond the arc) and minus-5 overall. Early days, but there’s no question where Lakers coach Darvin Ham is allotting his resources.

Indiana 20-26 Los Angeles; 3.54, first quarter

Another hard-fought bucket by Davis, who is already into double figures less than eight minutes into the game on 5-for-5 from the floor. Make it 12 points on 6-for-6 after a putback dunk for AD on the ensuing possession. He’s all over the court.

Indiana 13-20 Los Angeles; 6.32, first quarter

The Lakers are in full-bore attack mode and it’s paying off for them. A LeBron James driving lay-up followed by an old-school three-point play by Taurean Prince extends the lead to seven.

Indiana 12-15 Los Angeles; 7.12, first quarter

First TV timeout. The Lakers are forcing turnovers, getting out in transition quickly, drawing fouls and getting Davis off: he’s 4-for-4 from the floor already. A promising start.

Indiana 11-15 Los Angeles; 7.29, first quarter

Los Angeles win the tip. This is theoretically a neutral-court game, but it is clearly a pro-Lakers crowd. Bursts of fast-paced, two-way action in the opening stages but Anthony Davis has stood out with eight quick points, including an 11ft pull-up jumper right now to open a four-point lead. For the Pacers, Obi Toppin has five early points while Bruce Brown Jr has already picked up his second personal foul.

The pre-game pomp is under way. First a moment of silence for the victims of Wednesday’s mass shooting at UNLV, a tragedy which prompted rebuke from LeBron himself. Now it’s R&B singer-songwriter and three-time Grammy winner Ne-Yo performing the Star-Spangled Banner. Beautiful rendition, that. Time for one more word from our sponsors and we’ll be tipped off in just a few minutes.

We’re about 20 minutes from tip-off. Still waiting on the lineup sheets. The Lakers’ Austin Rivers is reportedly under the weather (but active). Timothée Chalamet has arrived.

Chalamet in the building.
Chalamet in the building. Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images


Hello and welcome to the Las Vegas Strip for the inaugural NBA Cup final. We’ve got a delicious matchup in store between the Indiana Pacers and the Los Angeles Lakers at the T-Mobile Arena to determine the winner of the NBA’s first ever in-season tournament. It’s the first and only game of the debut competition that doesn’t count in the regular-season standings, but there’s plenty on the line including a trophy, bragging rights and the princely sum of $500k per player.

It’s a rematch of the 2000 NBA finals, which took place when the Lakers’ LeBron James was still in high school … and when Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton was only a few months old. And the contrast between these teams’ feature players is an interesting one.

James is the NBA’s career leading scorer, with four titles and 10 NBA finals appearances to his credit. Haliburton, 23, was an All-Star last year, secured a rookie max extension from Indiana over the summer that will be worth at least $205m and is poised to be this year’s breakout star. The Milwaukee native spoke about the opportunity that Saturday night presents at yesterday’s practice day.

“Like any kid born in 2000, LeBron was my favorite player growing up, and it’s hard for him not to be for a lot of us,” he said. “Growing up, I was a Cavs fan, then a Heat fan, then a Cavs fan again, then a Lakers fan before I got drafted. It’s just how it went.

“To be able to compete against him in a championship is kind of like a storybook a little bit, and it’s going to be a lot of fun. But that’s the great part about being in the NBA is getting to compete against your idols on a nightly basis. I really look forward to that.”

Both teams are a perfect 6-0 in tournament play. For the Pacers, that involved scoring wins over Philadelphia, Boston and Milwaukee to reach this point.

“I just think for us, we’re not supposed to be here and nobody expected us to be here. We’ve been probably looked at to lose the majority of our tournament games. The Philly game, we weren’t supposed to win. Boston game we definitely weren’t supposed to win. Milwaukee, we definitely weren’t supposed to win. That’s just been part of the storybook of this, and it’s been a lot of fun. But it’s not done yet. We’ve got to be prepared to go tomorrow and approach that game the right way.”

Bryan will be here shortly. In the meantime here’s a look back at Thursday’s semi-final contests.

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