The In-Season Tournament has become an interesting wrinkle to the NBA regular season, seeming to do the job of giving players incentive to play hard and win the tournament.
That has especially been the case for the Los Angeles Lakers, who went undefeated 4-0 in West Group A, which has earned them the No. 1 seed of the entire conference due to their point differential being +74. L.A. clearly seems motivated to win the tournament with three out of their four wins being double-digit victories.
The Lakers have struggled on the road thus far, so having a home court advantage as they advance to the quarterfinals will be beneficial as their home record is 7-2. Anthony Davis spoke about the importance of having another home game as the team progresses further into the tournament.
“It’s good. We’ve been playing really well at home and very poorly on the road so it gives us a little bit of an advantage,” Davis recently said. “But like I said, it’s just the travel aspect not having to go travel somewhere and line it up. You get some sleep in your own bed and kind of stay in your home routine, able to play at home in front of your home fans. So that’s always a good thing.”
Seeding is not set in stone yet as teams still have some group play games left, but it still seems that the Lakers’ position is set barring anything drastic.
It looks like the most likely outcome will be a matchup with the Phoenix Suns at Crypto.com Arena, which will make for an entertaining quarterfinal game as it would be another matchup featuring LeBron James and Kevin Durant, barring injury.
With the Lakers still dealing with injuries to rotational players, having the ability to play in front of Lakers fans will be a boost. The In-Season Tournament is already providing a playoff intensity here in November and going into December, setting up for an entertaining finish.
Lakers players have spoken out about how they are motivated to win the cash prize of $500,000 and winning the inaugural season of the tournament would serve as a motivator for the team as they continue to go through this season.
Darvin Ham says NBA In-Season Tournament is here to stay
When first introduced this past summer, the tournament was met with mixed emotions from fans and players. But, seeing it in action has swayed public opinion and Lakers head coach Darvin Ham believes the In-Season Tournament is here to stay.
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