LA Lakers unveil In-Season Tournament Championship banner but the New York Knicks spoil the party
3 mins read

LA Lakers unveil In-Season Tournament Championship banner but the New York Knicks spoil the party

For NBA fans, the sight of a championship banner being hoisted in December, two months into the regular season, is certainly an unusual and, probably, unique experience.

LA Lakers unveil In-Season Tournament Championship banner but the New York Knicks spoil the party
LA Lakers unveil In-Season Tournament Championship banner but the New York Knicks spoil the party

However, the Los Angeles Lakers celebrated their NBA In-Season Tournament (IST) triumph by hanging a banner in the rafters at Crypto.com Arena, likely setting a precedent for future IST winners.

Prior to Monday, there had been speculation around how the Lakers would choose to celebrate their victory. Banner ceremonies are traditionally reserved for the opening night of the regular season, as the winners of the previous season’s NBA Finals receive their championship rings. The Lakers also choose to not hang banners for conference or division titles, in contrast with other teams.

However, Los Angeles eventually decided that it should recognize its achievement in front of a home crowd before its game against the New York Knicks on Monday.

With the team gathered around the NBA Cup, LeBron James and Co. watched on as the IST banner was unveiled, next to the 17 NBA championship banners held by the league’s joint-most decorated franchise.

“I think it was awesome,” said James after the game. “To acknowledge wins throughout the course of a marathon, I think it’s pretty cool. That’s the first. That’s the inauguration of it, so for our fans that didn’t get an opportunity to be in Vegas, they got an opportunity to kind of share that celebration with us tonight, share that moment. Something that will live on forever, for sure, here.”

The celebratory atmosphere did not last long though as the Knicks spoiled the party, taking down the Lakers, 114-109.

New York withstood a triple double – 25 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists – from James, the 109th of his career, and a 32-point, 14-rebound performance from Anthony Davis to come away with the narrow five-point win.

LA Lakers unveil In-Season Tournament Championship banner but the New York Knicks spoil the party
LA Lakers unveil In-Season Tournament Championship banner but the New York Knicks spoil the party

The Knicks were led by All-Star point guard Jalen Brunson, who had 29 points, four rebounds and three assists on the night. Julius Randle had a double double with 27 points and 14 rebounds, while sixth man Immanuel Quickley chipped in 20 points.

“We knew we would be challenged in this way to be mentally tough, to get through adversity,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau said after the game. “There’s going to be some bumps. We took on a big injury, and I think the guys that are stepping in have been terrific. You need everybody, and we’ve got different guys, someone different almost every night.”

Austin Reaves had 20 points and seven assists off the bench for the Purple and Gold, but it was not enough as the home team fell to its third loss in the four games since winning the IST in Las Vegas.

Both teams now turn their attention to road games on Wednesday. The 15-12 Lakers visit the Windy City to take on the Chicago Bulls, while the 15-11 Knicks clash with their crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets, at Barclays Center.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *