LeBron James – NBA.com

LeBron James put up a huge 32-point performance in Los Angeles’ 1st In-Season Tournament matchup against Phoenix.

The schedule Friday gave us the second night of In-Season Tournament group-play games. For a lot of NBA teams, though, it gave them their first exposure to the concept. Here are some players’ and coaches’ initial thoughts about their debuts this week or last:

LeBron James, Lakers: It feels great because it’s an In-Season Tournament win. And we’ll take that, we’ll take that for sure. There’s $500,000 [per player prize money] on the line – so we’re goin’ for that. We’re goin’ for that.

Luka Doncic, Mavericks: Every game matters, especially in the In-Season Tournament. … You’ve got to win every game possible.

Keegan Murray, Kings: The games are competitive early on. We’re in week 2 or 3 and we already have kind of a playoff-like atmosphere.

Stephen Curry, Warriors: A lot of competitiveness. I think everybody is trying to get off to a good start during the year with the In-Season Tournament vibe, the court change and all that added a little energy to it.

Draymond Green, Warriors: We talk about this In-Season Tournament, and it’s a playoff game. It was a fun game to play in. The intensity level was there. So, job well done to the NBA.

Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers: I thought it was fire. I loved the [court] color. It feels like I’m in [NBA] 2K out there.

Jalen Suggs, Magic: It really feels like we’re playing in the [soccer] Champions League.

Duncan Robinson, Heat: It’s big [to start 1-0]. No one in the history of the In-Season Tournament has ever lost their first game and won the tournament. So it was huge to get that first one.

Jaylen Brown, Celtics: I wouldn’t choose the word excited, but ready. … If there’s basketball to be played, our group will be ready.”

Coach Steve Clifford, Hornets: For our fan base and everybody, it’s not part of what we are used to, where again, if you watch European soccer, it’s a big part of what they do. So our guys, a lot of the reason these guys are here is because they are the best competitors and it’s another opportunity to compete. And I do think the single-elimination thing can be an exciting dynamic as people get used to it.

Coach Gregg Popovich, Spurs: I think the fans are the ones that are more excited than we are. It gives them a lot of things to talk about. It’s kind of a portent of maybe who’s going to be there at the end of the year, and they can talk about that. I think it will be a heightened competitive environment amongst the players for sure.

Coach Mike Brown, Kings: I think it’s kind of neat, y’know? … I’m excited that I’m able to be a part of the NBA to experience something new like this. We talked to our guys about it, we talked to them about the point differential [as tiebreaker]. We were getting our heads smashed in in Houston, they held the ball at the end of the game and took a shot-clock violation. Well, when it comes to the in-season tournament, you can’t do that. On either side, if you’re up or you’re down.

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Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Warner Bros. Discovery.

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