The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

NBA’s Thrilling In-Season Tournament

The NBA In-Season Tournament is a season tournament introduced during the NBA league’s 2023–24 season. The tournament was officially announced on July 8 2023, on ESPN’s NBA Today. The champion team is awarded the NBA Cup.

In a month filled with heart-pounding moments and fierce competition, fans witnessed the rise of a team etching its name into history. The air was charged with excitement as only two teams emerged from the intense battles that unfolded.

The inaugural tournament kicked off on Nov. 3, building up to a climactic championship showdown on Dec. 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The journey comprised two stages: Group Play and the Knockout Rounds.

Group Play: The Battle for Supremacy

30 teams were randomly drawn into groups of five within their conference. This was done based on their won-loss records from the previous regular season. From Nov. 3 to 28, each team engaged in four designated Group Play games on “Tournament Nights,” facing off against every group opponent twice—once on home turf and once on the road.

Knockout Rounds: The Final Showdown

Eight teams advanced to the Knockout Rounds. The team with the best standings in Group Play games and two wild cards secured a spot in the Knockout Rounds. The Knockout Rounds are single-elimination games in the Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and Championship. 

The qualifying teams then compete for a prize pool and the new In-Season Tournament trophy, the NBA Cup. 

All 67 games across both stages of the tournament counted toward the regular-season standings, excluding the championship. Each team continued to play 82 regular-season games, including the games played during Group Play and Knockout Rounds, cementing the tournament’s significance in the league.

To determine each team’s opponents in the Group Play games, the 15 teams of each conference were divided into three groups of five teams via a random drawing.

The randomized groups that were drawn divided into sections. (Credit: NBA) 

As tensions heightened and stress levels soared, two teams stood tall. From the east, upstarts a team no one would have picked to be there: the Pacers. Representing the team that has never won an NBA championship was Tyrese Haliburton, who has captivated the basketball world with his exciting demeanor. 

From the West, a heavyweight favorite. A franchise that since the founding of the NBA, has been synonymous with winning, fueled by an all-time great defying father time and dominating everyone in his past: LeBron James

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers makes a lay up against the Indiana Pacers during the first quarter of the championship game of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament at T-Mobile Arena on Dec. 9, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Credit: Getty Images)

“It’s been cool man, It’s been surprising. I can’t believe how engaged all the players are,” said actor Timotheé Chalamet. “I wanna see Lebron crush it.” 

Although throughout the game the spread was close, the Lakers pulled through. The Pacers played outstanding defense, and the their opponents were heavily motivated and prepared to take the win. 

The inaugural 2023 In-Season Tournament ended with the Lakers defeating the Pacers in the championship game, with a score of 123- 109.  

“As a kid growing up, LeBron was always my favorite player,” said Haliburton. “To be able to play against him in the championships, his storybook. That’s the great part of being in the NBA, it’s getting to compete against your idols” he continued. 

After the Lakers took their big win and won the NBA Cup, LeBron was awarded MVP after averaging 26.4 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists in 7- Season Tournament games. 

Los Angeles Lakers are celebrating their big win for the inaugural NBA Cup title. (Credit: Getty Images)

“This is the inauguration of the In-Season Tournament,” said LeBron. He continued, “Records will be broken, but one thing that will never be broken is being the first to do something we are the first champions of the in-season tournament and nobody could ever top that.”

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About the Contributor
Nava Sedaghat, Associate Editor
Nava Sedaghat is one of Guide Post’s associate editors. Her in school extracurriculars include being a two year Science Research student, social media director of Athletic Leadership, a member of Pre-Med and Dentistry, and a three sport athlete. In her spare time catch her on a run, starting a new piece of artwork, or hanging out with her friends or family.

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