The first exclusive night of the NBA Cup It was spectacular. The League wanted to transfer the excitement of the playoffs to the autumn and the chosen format could not have been more successful. Once the group stage is over, Indiana and New Orleans are the first two teams to have certified their place in the semi-finals to be played in the Final Four in Las Vegas, beating Boston and Sacramento respectively.
It had been weeks since the Pacers said they would win the Cup. With Tyrese Haliburton playing at an MVP level and an unbridled style on the hardwood, the overwhelming enthusiasm faced the biggest test possible last night, which was facing the favorites for many rings this season, the Boston Celtics. It was a balanced and exciting match, in which Indiana – last night at home – ended up imposing its law in the final minutes.
That’s how. Until almost the end of the third period neither team managed to gain ten points. It was Indianapolis who did it, but Boston reacted so ferociously that with two minutes left the scoreboard showed a tie at 105. It was then that Rick Carlisle’s boys delivered the final blow with a run of 9-0 led from Haliburton – who else – will end up winning 122-112.
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The Indiana star posted an outstanding triple-double of 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists without committing a single turnover. It was once again a crazy performance that made the Celtics’ efforts useless, who were not saved either by Jaylen Brown’s 32 points or Jayson Tatum’s 30.
New Orleans takes Sacramento by storm
If Indiana was counting on its fans to defeat Boston, New Orleans made it even more difficult by beating the Kings at home in Sacramento. It was a huge challenge, but the Pelicans accepted it and successfully overcame it. After a first quarter in which the locals were clearly dominant – they had a lead of more than 10 points – Willie Green’s boys completely turned the game around and were the ones who were spaced on the scoreboard in the second quarter. You would have thought the Kings would fight back, but New Orleans managed with an iron fist the rest of the night to avoid any difficulties and end up coming away with a 117-127 victory.
As for individual performances, the best of the Pelicans was Brandon Ingram with 30 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists, while Herbert Jones rose to 23. Zion Williamson scored 10 points. For the Kings, De’Aaron Fox’s 30 points and Domantas Sabonis’ 26 points stand out.
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Waiting for the rivals
The remaining two matches of the quarter-finals will be played this morning. In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks host the New York Knicks and in the Western Conference Los Angeles Lakers Do the same with the Phoenix Suns. Once the names of the four semi-finalists are known, the competition will move to Las Vegas to play the Final Four which will crown the first champion of the In-Season Tournament.
(Foto di Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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