‘First team to win it’: Davis backs up LeBron with dominant display as Lakers take down Pacers to claim NBA Cup

Anthony Davis has had season highs of 41 points and 20 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers have won the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament title with a 123-109 victory over Indiana.

Austin Reaves added 28 points, LeBron James had 24 points and 11 rebounds and D’Angelo Russell added 13 points on Saturday (Sunday AEDT) in Las Vegas. Davis was 16 of 24 from the field and also had five assists and James was named the tournament MVP.

“First to do it, first team to win it,” Davis said.

“We know it’s not the real thing but we keep taking steps in the right direction … Our energy and focus were off the charts. First to do it, we’ll take it.”

Los Angeles finished a perfect 7-0 and the Pacers 6-1. Each team went 4-0 in group play and posted two knockout-round wins to reach the title game.

This contest was the only one in the tournament that doesn’t count in the standings, but there was still plenty on the line. In addition to taking home a trophy, Lakers players on standard two-way contracts each made $500,000 ($A760,000) and the Pacers received $200,000 ($A304,000) apiece. Players on two-way deals take home half those amounts.

LeBron James hoists the trophy with his teammates. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Tyrese Haliburton had 20 points and 11 assists for Indiana, while Bennedict Mathurin also scored 20 points and Aaron Nesmith had 15.

Though the stakes weren’t as high as they would be for a playoff, the tournament and the title game had that kind of atmosphere in front of the pro-LA crowd.

It’s also another trophy for James, who has won four NBA championships, and he made no secret of his desire to add the title to his resume.

“Records will be broken but one thing that will never be broken is being the first to do something. We’re the first champions of the in-season tournament and nobody can ever top that,” James said.

“It’s great to be able to do it with such a historical franchise and even better to do it with a great, great cast of funny, engaged, competitive men over here.”

Los Angeles led most of the game, though the Pacers kept in striking distance until the Lakers went on a 15-3 run late in the fourth quarter to turn in a 100-96 lead into a 115-99 advantage.

“We just got outplayed tonight from the start of the game to the end of the game,” Haliburton said.

“Just didn’t do the job on loose balls, didn’t rebound, didn’t get enough stops when needed. They just outplayed us, and it’s frustrating.”

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