In a surprising move, Kevin Durant from the Phoenix Suns has openly picked the Los Angeles Lakers, led by LeBron James, to win the $500,000 prize in the NBA In-Season Tournament. This comes after a controversial quarter-final game where the Suns lost to the Lakers under disputed circumstances.
Durant, reflecting on the Lakers’ victory, stated with humor:
“I’m going with the Lakers since they beat us. They got the size, the quickest flight, and the most fans. It’s set up for them to win. I can’t wait to watch these intense games. I wasn’t a fan initially, but now I’m a huge fan of the In-Season Tournament and looking forward to watching it.”
“I’m going to go with the Lakers because they beat us…It’s set up for them to win.”
Kevin Durant's pick on who will win the inaugural In-Season Tournament in Las Vegas.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) December 6, 2023
Durant’s endorsement is significant, given his experience in the tournament. The Lakers’ journey to the semi-finals had its drama, with a controversial timeout call affecting their victory over KD’s Suns, raising questions about the game’s integrity and the referees’ decisions.
Suns’ Close Loss Despite Durant’s 31 Points
Despite Durant’s outstanding performance, scoring 31 points with impressive efficiency, the Suns fell short. Durant also contributed with 4 assists and 7 rebounds. However, a critical moment came when he missed a long 3-point attempt that could have forced overtime.
The match was overshadowed by a controversial referees’ call, granting LeBron James’ timeout despite the ball being loose, knocked away by Devin Booker just moments earlier.
Booker and the Suns’ coach, Frank Vogel, were devastated. Durant, however, showed understanding, saying:
“It’s one play. It’s a 48-minute game. I don’t like to complain about calls. Sometimes the ref won’t get it right. It’s on us to play through it and not worry about putting the game in the ref’s hands.”
The NBA In-Season Tournament has added excitement to the regular season. With its unique format and big prize, it has captured the attention of players and fans, making every game more intense.