The NBA launched the inaugural in-season tournament this year to spark interest and intensity during the early parts of the NBA season.
The group play games occur during Tournament Nights on Tuesdays and Fridays and, in another effort to help signify these are more than just regular season games, the NBA has added new courts for each team, which will only be used for in-season tournament play.
It’s still a bit early to conclude how successful this experiment is, but LeBron James did acknowledge the first In-Season Tournament game for the Lakers did have an edge to it.
“It had a little bit more intensity to it,” James said after Friday’s win versus the Phoenix Suns. “I think the fans even brought a little bit more energy as well. Obviously, they’ve got great fans here but I felt like they knew it was an In-Season Tournament game, too, so they were a little bit more intensified. I felt like some of the plays and some of the execution was at a higher level. Definitely felt a little different than a regular season game, for sure.”
If James’ sentiment permeates through the rest of the players, then the NBA In-Season Tournament is likely here to stay. It takes the excitement of the start of the season and can carry over that momentum into the holidays before leading right into trade deadline and the All-Star break.
This leaves the only lull in the action for casual fans being March when the regular season-ending is still far away and March Madness takes over national attention.
We’ll see how Lakers fans respond to the In-Season Tournament when they face the Memphis Grizzlies this Tuesday. It will be the first time the Lakers use the new court and host a home game in this format.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.