“NBA”: Excitement expected in the “In Season” Cup quarter-finals
Excitement will reach its peak on Monday and Tuesday in the quarter-finals of the modern “In-Season Cup” competition in the NBA, with exciting confrontations, most notably between the Los Angeles Lakers and their guest, the Phoenix Suns.
The League introduced this new competition this season, with the 30 clubs divided into six groups of five, with each team playing a total of four matches last month and the six leaders qualifying alongside the best runner-up in each region.
All matches of this new cup were counted within the NBA League and regular season standings, with the exception of the final match on December 9 in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas will also host two semi-final matches on the seventh of this month.
Each player in the team that wins the title receives a financial prize of $500,000.
The Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics topped their groups in the Eastern Conference, while the New York Knicks were in second best place, while the Los Angeles Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings led the Western Conference groups, in which the Phoenix Suns were in second best place.
In the quarterfinals, the Celtics will play with the Pacers, the Pelicans will play with the Kings on Monday, the Bucks will play with the Knicks, and the Lakers will play with the Suns on Tuesday.
Lakers star “The King” LeBron James, the four-time league champion, did not hide the fact that he wanted to add a new achievement to his record studded with titles in his twenty-first season in the league.
The Lakers defeated the Suns twice this season, including in the group stage of the modern competition.
The Lakers are counting on the ground staff and the fans to overcome the obstacle of the Suns and their star Kevin Durant, and they enter the match with a close record, as the Lakers have won 12 times against nine defeats so far this season, while the Suns have won 12 games and suffered eight defeats.
“It’s going to be a heavyweight game in Los Angeles,” Suns wing Devin Booker said. There’s a lot at stake, the winner goes to Vegas. So I think everyone is looking forward to that. “It will be fun.”
Suns star Durant averages 31 points per game, which is the third best player in the league, while James dazzled everyone with his performances as he approached his 39th birthday, even while the Lakers suffered from a series of injuries.
“The most impressive thing is at what point in his career he does it,” Lakers coach Darvin Hamm said. “He seems to be breaking barriers every day.”
Four of the league’s top 10 scorers qualified for the quarterfinals: Durant III, DeAaron Fox from the Sacramento Kings IV, Greek Bucks giant Giannis Antetokounmpo fifth, and Celtics star Jason Tatum ninth.
Delivering an exceptional matchIn turn, the league leaders Celtics, partnering with the Minnesota Timberwolves (15 wins and four defeats), hope to exploit the ground staff and the audience to overcome the Indiana Pacers obstacle.
The Celtics defeated the Pacers 155-104 on November 1 in Boston in a game in which the latter’s star, Tyrese Haliburton, was absent.
Indiana coach Rick Carlisle admitted that his team needs a lot of effort to overcome the Celtics, and said: “But we have to face them at home.” So, this is an important thing. “We need to play an exceptional match there.”
Things will not be different for the Bucks, who, like the Lakers, achieved the perfect mark in their group with four victories, including their victory over the Knicks 110-105.
Bucks star Chris Middleton said about the possibility of winning the first title in the modern competition, “It would be wonderful to be part of history.”
“You always want to be the first to win something,” he added. “So, it would definitely be great to win the first championship of the season.”
For his part, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson said that the competition could be a starting point for achieving success in the playoffs.
Williamson added on the eve of facing the Sacramento Kings: “For us, we did not win anything. “I think this will be the first step to trying to move forward and win the competition.”
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