NBA In-Season Thrills: Pacers and Pelicans Secure Semifinal Spots

NBA In-Season Thrills: Pacers and Pelicans Secure Semifinal Spots

With their respective quarter final wins on Monday, the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans became the first teams to secure their spots in the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament’s semifinals.

The Pelicans overcame a first-quarter deficit to defeat the Sacramento Kings 127-117, while the Pacers staged a stunning late comeback to defeat the Boston Celtics 122-112.

Rick Carlisle’s Pacers, who led East Group A with four victories out of four in the group stage, faced the Celtics, who had a 55-48 lead at the break, and they had their work cut out for them in the second half.

NBA In-Season Thrills: Pacers and Pelicans Secure Semifinal Spots

However, Tyrese Haliburton’s outstanding play—which included his first career triple-double—led the Indiana team to a remarkable comeback in the third and fourth quarters.

Illness prompted the 23-year-old to miss the Pacers’ victory over the Miami Heat over the weekend, but he still finished with 26 points, 10 rebounds, and 13 assists as the team pulled off a huge upset.

While Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 32 points and 12 rebounds, along with 30 points from Jaylen Brown, Buddy Hield also scored 21 points for the winning team. However, their efforts were in vain.

Because of their spectacular exploits at Golden 1 Center, the Pacers will now compete for a berth in the final against the Milwaukee Bucks or New York Knicks, where they may have to pit their cunning against the Pelicans.

The Pelicans had a record of three wins and one loss going into the elimination stage, while the Kings had a perfect 4-0 record from their West Group. However, the New Orleans team had the psychological advantage because they had already defeated their hosts twice this season.

After the first quarter, Willie Green’s team needed to catch up, and they did so with style. Brandon Ingram scored 30 points, and Jonas Valanciunas recorded a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

“The biggest thing I saw in that game was trust,” Green said, focusing especially on the “trust” he saw among his teammates in a post-match press conference that ESPN cited.

“Our players just stayed together, remained unified in the huddle, and kept making the correct play time and time again. A club that has just 14 turnovers and 29 assists is one that you can continue to have faith in. We wish to keep expanding upon that.”

The Pelicans’ victory was marred by the death of a fan who experienced a medical emergency during the game. The Pelicans will play either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Phoenix Suns in the final four.

LeBron James Hits 39K: Lakers Triumph with Record-Breaking Victory!

LeBron James Hits 39K: Lakers Triumph with Record-Breaking Victory!

LeBron James, the legendary player for the Los Angeles Lakers, scored a career-high 131 points against the Utah Jazz in the in-season tournament.

The 38-year-old has broken Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s previous record of 38,387 points, which had stood since 1984 – James’s birth year – and is still leading the all-time scoring records.

James needed just five points to surpass the 39,000 mark going into the Lakers’ game against the Jazz on Tuesday, nine months after he became the best scorer in NBA history. He did so in the first quarter of the game en route to a 17-point performance.

LeBron James Hits 39K: Lakers Triumph with Record-Breaking Victory!

In a dominating win for the Lakers, who were led by Anthony Davis’ 26 points and Austin Reaves’ 19 points off the bench, James also contributed seven rebounds and nine assists.

After yet another historic evening, James is quoted by ESPN as stating, “I got congratulated by my teammates and coaches, (but) I haven’t had an opportunity to really wrap my head around what that means.”

“Since the beginning of time, this league has produced several outstanding players and scores.

I always think it’s very great to be able to accomplish something that’s the first of something. Without a doubt, this is an exciting time.”

With their fourth win in four games in West Group A of the In-Season tournament, the Lakers secured a spot in the knockout stages for Darvin Ham’s team with their victory at the Arena.

The first competition’s quarterfinals start on December 4. On Wednesday night, the Lakers, who are currently sixth in the Western Conference, play the Dallas Mavericks.

Pelicans Triumph, Lakers Dominate: NBA In-Season Tournament Updates

Pelicans Triumph, Lakers Dominate: NBA In-Season Tournament Updates

After the fourth night of the in-season tournament, seven clubs are still unbeaten.

We have finally reached the halfway point of the group stage of the NBA‘s first-ever In-Season Tournament.

After the host Pelicans upset Denver on Friday night, only seven teams are still unbeaten, including the NBA champion Nuggets.

Pelicans Triumph, Lakers Dominate: NBA In-Season Tournament Updates

In addition to moving to 2-1 after the victory, New Orleans also secured the top spot in the West B group because they now had the advantage in their head-to-head matchup with the Nuggets.

Additionally, the Clippers won their first game under James Harden after Los Angeles defeated the Houston Rockets, who had been 1-0 in group play.

In other West action, the Suns victory over the Jazz has put the Lakers (3-0) alone atop Group A. Additionally, the Kings (2-0) outscored the Timberwolves (2-0) by six points with a +16 point differential, propelling them into first position in Group C.

This Friday in Minnesota, those two clubs will play each other in a West C matchup. The Jazz are now leading the wild card race with a +19 point difference, giving them a 10-point advantage over the Nuggets’ +9.

The Bucks (2-0) overtook the Heat (2-0) with a dominant 31-point victory over the Hornets, taking control of the East B group with a point differential of +36 for Milwaukee to +13 for Miami.

In the event that both teams advance to 3-0, the winner of that group will be decided in their head-to-head match on November 28 in Miami.

With a pair of zeros on Friday, the Pacers (East A) and Celtics (East C) continue to lead their respective groups at 2-0. With a one-point advantage in point difference, the Heat (2-0) would advance as the wild card, barely beating out the 76ers (2-0), should the group play conclude today.

A brief recap of what to expect from the In-Season Tournament is provided below. Each conference has been split up into three groups of five teams by the league.

In November, those teams will compete in group stage matches on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The games will be held on specially constructed courts, and the teams will be wearing their first-ever city edition uniforms this season. 

The top eight teams will move on to the knockout stage in early December after all five teams in each group have played each other. The six group winners and one wild-card team from each league will make up those eight teams.

Below is the 2023 In-Season Tournament schedule, scores, standings and more. All games on ESPN and NBA TV are streaming on fubo (try for free).

NBA In-Season Tournament schedule

(All times Eastern)

Tuesday, Nov. 21

Raptors at Magic, 7 p.m.

Pacers at Hawks, 7:30 p.m.

Cavaliers at 76ers, 7:30 p.m.

Trail Blazers at Suns, 9 p.m.

Jazz at Lakers, 10 p.m.

Friday, Nov. 24

Celtics at Magic, 2:30 p.m.

Suns at Grizzlies, 5 p.m.

Heat at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.

Bulls at Raptors, 7:30 p.m.

Pistons at Pacers, 8 p.m.

Nuggets at Rockets, 8 p.m.

Wizards at Bucks, 8 p.m.

Kings at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.

Spurs at Warriors, 10 p.m.

Pelicans at Clippers, 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Nov. 28

Bulls at Celtics, 7:30 p.m.

Raptors at Nets, 7:30 p.m.

Hawks at Cavaliers, 7:30 p.m.

Bucks at Heat, 7:30 p.m.

Hornets at Knicks, 7:30 p.m.

Thunder at Timberwolves, 8 p.m.

Rockets at Mavericks, 8:30 p.m.

Warriors at Kings, 10 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 4

Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD

Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD

Tuesday, Dec. 5

Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD

Quarterfinal: TBD at TBD

Thursday, Dec. 7

Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD at Las Vegas

Semifinal: TBD vs. TBD at Las Vegas

Saturday, Dec. 9

Final: TBD vs. TBD at Las Vegas

NBA In-season Tournament scores, results

Friday, Nov. 17

Bucks 130, Hornets 99

Knicks 120, Wizards 99

76ers 126, Hawks 116

Cavaliers 108, Pistons 100

Celtics 108, Raptors 105

Kings 129, Spurs 120

Magic 103, Bulls 97

Pelicans 115, Nuggets 110

Suns 131, Jazz 128

Lakers 107, Trail Blazers 95

Clippers 104, Rockets 100

Tuesday, Nov. 14

Heat 111, Hornets 105

Hawks 126, Pistons 120

Pacers 132, 76ers 126

Nets 124, Magic 104

Thunder 123, Spurs 87

Pelicans 131, Mavericks 110

Jazz 115, Trail Blazers 99

Nuggets 111, Clippers 108

Timberwolves 104, Warriors 101

Lakers 134, Grizzlies 107

Friday, Nov. 10

76ers 114, Pistons 106

Hornets 124, Wizards 117

Celtics 121, Nets 107

Rockets 104, Pelicans 101

Jazz 127, Grizzlies 121

Timberwolves 117, Spurs 110

Mavericks 144, Clippers 126

Kings 105, Thunder 98

Lakers 122, Suns 119

Friday, Nov. 3

Pacers 121, Cavaliers 116

Bucks 110, Knicks 105

Heat 121, Wizards 114

Nets 109, Bulls 107

Warriors 141, Thunder 139

Nuggets 125, Mavericks 114

Trail Blazers 115, Grizzlies 113 (OT)

James Harden’s Freedom with Clippers: Debut on Monday

James Harden's Freedom with Clippers: Debut on Monday

In his first news conference with the Los Angeles Clippers, James Harden delivered exactly what he promised.

The former MVP spoke to the media three days after the long-awaited trade that brought him here from the Philadelphia 76ers about the circumstances that led to his trade demand and what he intends for moving forward. As one might expect, he had a lot to say about Philly’s leadership.

After describing himself as “very elite as an individual” but also being great in a team context, Harden went on the attack against the Sixers head office, claiming he gave up $26 million to play for the organization and planned to retire there until they changed their minds, claiming “they didn’t want me.”

James Harden's Freedom with Clippers: Debut on Monday

The collapse in Harden’s relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey dominated coverage of his requests to leave the organization, most notably when he stood in front of a microphone in China and declared, “Daryl Morey is a liar.” According to another source on Wednesday, Harden has no intentions to speak with him again.

Harden stepped up the language even more on Thursday, referring to his tenure with the Sixers as “being on a leash.”

“Philly [was] just changing my role because I know I can give more and do more, but to be honest, it’s like being on a leash.”

Like, I knew that in order for us to go where we wanted to go, I needed to be at my best offensively, whether it’s facilitating or scoring the basketball, and Joel [Embiid] needed to be as well.

That was never an option for me. “I believe it all contributes to where I am today.”

Given that Harden led the NBA in assists last season and was a key component of the Sixers’ offense, it’s easy to dismiss that comment, but he also had his lowest usage rate since 2012 (thanks, no doubt, to the presence of league MVP Joel Embiid).

When pressed to elaborate on the leash line, Harden stated that it was more about talking with his coach than real usage on the floor, while also dropping the day’s most widely shared quote:

“I don’t mean to shoot the basketball every time I’m on a leash.” I mean, I think the game and I’m a creator on the court, so if I have a voice to say, ‘Hey Coach, I see this, what do you think about this?’ then everything is fine. Someone who believes in me and recognizes that I am not a system player, but rather a system.

All I really want is someone who can have that conversation with me, comprehend and go forward, figure out and make modifications on the fly during games. It’s not about me making a basket… I’ve already done it.”

Harden isn’t the first to call out former Sixers coach Doc Rivers’ in-game changes.

Naturally, the “I’m not a system player, I am a system” line became the conference’s most viral moment, as many individuals eager to depict Harden as the ball-dominant team disruptor latched on it as proof he hadn’t changed. Maybe he hasn’t, but the reaction seemed to validate Harden’s earlier statement: “You’re always going to take something out of what I say and make it into a different story.”

According to The Athletic’s Law Murray, Harden will practice with the Clippers on Friday and will make his debut Monday in a road game against the New York Knicks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Astonishment: Defenders Target Damian Lillard

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Astonishment: Defenders Target Damian Lillard

For all the positive contributions that former Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made during his time with the franchise, he wasn’t double-teamed the moment he crossed halfcourt in a meaningless preseason game.

That’s what new Bucks guard Damian Lillard saw against the Los Angeles Lakers, and two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was taken aback by the gravitational pull Lillard had on the opposition defense.

Giannis is ready to enter his 11th NBA season and has seen his fair share of defensive coverages.

The reigning MVP has seen it all, from double- and triple-teams to unusual box-and-one systems. But what he saw from the Lakers was much different.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's Astonishment: Defenders Target Damian Lillard

“In my 11 seasons with the Bucks, I’ve never seen someone double-teamed from the first play of the game.”

It was unexpected. It’s a practice game. This isn’t a playoff game. This is not a regular-season match.

It’s not in a regular-season tournament or a Play-In game. He was double-teamed in a preseason game. “Man, it’s insane,” Giannis said.

Giannis was alluding to a play in which Lillard passed out of the double team and sent the ball to Giannis, who drove into the lane and blasted it out to a wide-open Jae Crowder.

Although the veteran forward missed the triple, it demonstrates what Giannis can do with a 4-on-3 downhill.

“When I’m wide open, I try to attack downhill and do what I do,” Antetokounmpo explained. “People are crowding the paint, and I just kick it to Jae, Brook, and Malik.” Guys are friendly. “At the end of the day, I just have to do my job,” Giannis said.

With defenses scared of Lillard’s outside shooting ability (the dude has made over 2,300 threes in his career), Giannis will have more room to operate. In the NBA, nothing scares defenders more than a seven-foot All-Star with a head of steam.

“I think it’ll allow me to make a few more plays… with a little bit more space around me and not people trying to get in my feet and put their hands (on me) or double-team and crowd the space.”

It will allow me to make more plays for myself going downhill or for my teammates, which will be wide-open threes the majority of the time.”

Rankings of the Top 10 NBA Coaches of All Time

Rankings of the Top 10 NBA Coaches of All Time

The NBA is a league where talent triumphs. The impact of a coach on the roster is frequently neglected, but certain coaches make it difficult.

The following is a list of the greatest NBA victors, motivators, and basketball geniuses in history. Let’s take a look at the top ten NBA coaches of all time.

Rankings of the Top 10 NBA Coaches of All Time

10. Lenny Wilkens

Lenny Wilkens coached in the NBA for 35 years and coached about 2,500 games.

He finished his career with 1,332 victories, an incredible result given the players he managed during his tenure.

He made the playoffs 20 times in his career but never had the opportunity to coach a Hall of Famer.

Wilkens was a member of the Seattle Supersonics, who were led by Jack Sikma, Dennis Johnson, and Gus Williams to one NBA championship.

He tossed the assumption that superstar quality is required to win in the NBA back in everyone’s face.

He used the media’s skepticism of his teams to encourage them to overcome difficulties.

It’s a shame we didn’t get to witness Wilkens coach a more talented team, but maybe next time.

9. Larry Brown

Larry Brown did not have as many NBA championships as the other players on this list.

It wasn’t for a lack of good coaching, but for his ability to turn around failing franchises.

He took over as head coach of the New Jersey Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Indiana Pacers, and San Antonio Spurs and turned them around from losing to winning teams.

His one NBA title came in 2004, when he led the Detroit Pistons on a Cinderella run through the NBA playoffs.

The streak concluded with a championship victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who boasted four Hall-of-Famers on their team. There are plenty of better winners and motivators on this list, but Brown might be at the top with the X’s and O’s of coaching.

He finished his career with over 1,300 wins. If his NBA accolades weren’t enough, he also led the Kansas Jayhawks to the 1988 NCAA National Championship.

8. Chuck Daly

Chuck Daly was less well-known than the other individuals on this list, but his techniques were effective.

His decision to play bully ball with the Bad Boy Pistons received mixed reactions, but the two NBA championships in Daly’s trophy case don’t seem to mind.

During the 1980s, the Showtime Lakers and the Boston Celtics were playing high-energy basketball, but Daly and the Detroit Pistons stepped in with a hard-nosed style and won three straight NBA championships.

They lost in 1988 but won consecutively in 1989 and 1990. Daly was not the first to adopt the “defense wins championships” philosophy, but he ran with it.

Daly would not have been able to play if the Bulls had not done everything, they could to counteract the Pistons’ style.

7. Jerry Sloan

Jerry Sloan might be near the top of a list of the finest coaches who never won an NBA championship.

Sloan led the Utah Jazz to 15 consecutive playoff appearances between 1989 and 2003.

While a coach’s job security might be erratic, Sloan stayed with the Jazz for more than three decades.

With only John Stockton and Karl Malone as superstars, his success was determined by leading the small-market team to numerous postseason berths.

Sloan finished with 1,221 victories and a.603 winning percentage, and a pair of NBA titles would have propelled him to the top of the list.

The worst thing that could have happened to Sloan was that he was coaching while Michael Jordan was playing, and Utah could never get over the hump that was Jordan.

6. K.C. Jones

Jones’ coaching career was shorter than some, but he made the most of his time with the Celtics.

As a player, he was a member of the Bill Russell Celtics teams that won eight NBA titles in nine seasons.

Jones was overshadowed by the team’s stars, but his defensive ability was critical to the team’s success.

His humility as a player benefited him well as a head coach, since he was a consistent players coach.

He was an assistant coach on several teams until 1978, when he returned to Boston as their assistant coach.

He took over as head coach of the Celtics in 1984 and led them to five Eastern Conference championships and two NBA crowns.

The team’s success makes Jones have the second-best winning percentage among coaches with over 700 games. The only coach with a higher mark is Phil Jackson.

5. Steve Kerr

As a player of the Chicago Bulls, Steve Kerr learned the ultimate lesson in head coaching from Phil Jackson.

Kerr was present for the three-peat and surely learnt from Jackson and Michael Jordan what it required to win.

Kerr’s success has been aided by the fact that he has had Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Kevin Durant on his side.

However, managing all of the egos takes a special coach, something Jackson made appear easy during his coaching career.

Kerr has led the Warriors to five consecutive NBA Finals appearances, and he would have more titles if not for heroic efforts by LeBron James.

Despite this, he has won four NBA championships, and the club appears to be capable.

Kerr currently has the third-highest regular-season winning percentage among coaches who have coached at least 700 games, trailing just Jackson and Jones.

4. Pat Riley

Pat Riley is one of the best basketball minds because of his ability to adapt to any situation.

While his skill set was best suited for coaching, he has now gone into the front office and been equally effective.

During Magic Johnson’s rookie season, he began as an associate coach for the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the 1980s, he won four NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

In the 1990s, he took over the New York Knicks and led them to the NBA Finals, where they were defeated by the Houston Rockets.

Riley, like many other coaches on this list, coached legends like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Patrick Ewing, and Dwayne Wade. When he took over as coach, he won his final title.

Many coaches run into the problem of not adapting their scheme to fit the personnel on the floor.

However, Riley ran a run-and-gun style with the Showtime Lakers, then played bully ball with the Knicks and Ewing, then perfected the half-court offense in Miami. Riley was also a three-time NBA Coach of the Year.

3. Gregg Popovich

Popovich’s influence as a coach extends beyond his wins and defeats. This is significant given that he now holds the all-time win record for head coaches with 1,364.

Popovich has five NBA championships and has been named Coach of the Year three times.

He was the league’s most consistent coach, having led the Spurs to 22 consecutive playoff berths.

After a disappointing season, he now has the opportunity to mentor Victor Wembanyama in his quest to become the league’s next great big man. Wembanyama’s future seems bright after Popovich’s success with Tim Duncan.

As previously stated, Popovich’s style pervades the NBA much beyond his wins and losses.

Eleven previous assistant coaches have gone on to become head coaches, drawing on Pop’s coaching style and playbook.

Because of Pop’s longevity, you will eventually witness a league where more than half of the teams are affected by his approach in some way.

2.  Red Auerbach

No one thought Auerbach could be dethroned as the greatest coach until the leader of the Chicago Bulls dynasty arrived.

Auerbach led the Celtics to eight consecutive championships while coaching icons such as Bill Russell, Bob Cousy, and John Havlicek. Long before it became a focus in the coaching ranks, Auerbach had a feel for the psychological element of the game.

He persuaded his all-star team to quit competing individually and start sacrificing for the team.

His teams regularly defeated star-padding stars of the era, such as Wilt Chamberlain, and nearly always won.

There are currently more coaches and support staff on an NBA sideline than players.

Auerbach was the only member of the coaching staff during his tenure. He had no deputy head coaches and made all personnel choices himself.

We had to rank Auerbach second for the ranking, but he and the following man are more of a 1A and 1B situation because they were in separate eras and are difficult to compare.

1. Phil Jackson

Phil Jackson is the most successful head coach in NBA history. He is an 11-time NBA champion who has three three-peats.

Jackson concluded his career with back-to-back Lakers championships.

From 1991 to 1993, he won three titles in a row with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, then three more with them from 1996 to 1998.

Jackson subsequently took over the Lakers, guiding Kobe Bryant and powerful center Shaquille O’Neal to three straight titles from 2000 to 2002.

After the Lakers sold Shaq to Miami to end Jackson’s great career, he and Kobe won two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

Jackson was only named NBA Coach of the Year once, a tribute to how he never left the top as a coach.

The honor is typically presented to a coach who took a club from mediocrity to prominence, but Jackson never allowed his squad to be anything less than a contender.

He owns the highest regular-season winning percentage in history (.704) and 1,155 career victories.

His biggest strength was his ability to manage egos such as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal while also dealing with quirky personalities such as Dennis Rodman and Metta World Peace.

James Harden Trade Rumors: According to reports, the Clippers are looking to add draft capital after the 76ers rejected their initial offer

James Harden Trade Rumors

Following his noticeable absence from media day, James Harden has joined the Philadelphia 76ers at training camp in Fort Collins, Colorado, taking part in exercises on the first two days of practice. But that doesn’t mean he’s content.

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, despite being “an engaged and positive participant” during training camp, Harden’s trade request is still on the table.

So far, head decision-maker Daryl Morey has refused to trade Harden to his preferred destination of the Los Angeles Clippers, stating that he will not make a move unless his price tag is fulfilled.

Morey and the 76ers reportedly turned down a Clippers offer earlier this summer. According to Amick:

According to league sources, the Clippers offered the Sixers an unprotected first-round selection, a pick swap, and salary for Harden in July, but Philadelphia has set a far higher bar.

According to insiders, the Sixers have placed a high value on fifth-year forward Terance Mann and several first-round picks in a prospective trade with the Clippers. Mann, who averaged 8.8 points and 3.4 rebounds last season, has grown in popularity among NBA teams in recent years.

James Harden Trade Rumors: According to reports, the Clippers are looking to add draft capital after the 76ers rejected their initial offer

According to Amick’s report, the Clippers have approached multiple clubs about moving pick swaps to garner additional draft money as they try to put together a more appealing package.

Mann’s departure would be difficult, since the energetic 26-year-old can cover numerous roles and is a career 38% 3-point shooter.

He’s also one of the few Clippers who has stayed on the court consistently, missing only two games in the last two seasons.

For Harden, this is both good and terrible news. On the one hand, he must be relieved that the Clippers are still interested in pursuing further trade options.

On the other hand, he can’t be happy that the two teams are still so far apart, with the regular season starting in less than three weeks.

Harden is avoiding a fine by participating in camp, as we witnessed with Ben Simmons a few years back.

Amick also says that Harden believes that making a distraction is not the best course of action because he is hoping for a trade.

“He’s arrived. On Thursday, Joel Embiid said of Harden, “He’s practicing with us, and that’s all we know.” “However, as I already stated, we are not focused on it. We’re just trying to get the offense and defense working together and figure out how to play together.”

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