Shaquille O’Neal explains how Lakers found ‘loophole’ regarding their In-Season Tournament banner

Jesse Cinquini
3 Min Read
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Lakers star center Shaquille O’Neal recently explained how the team found a “loophole” regarding its In-Season Tournament banner.

“It was a loophole there,” O’Neal said during a conversation with Adam Lefkoe. “Would you like to hear the loophole? What colors are the banners?”

In response, Lefkoe explained that L.A.’s NBA Finals banners are yellow and purple while the team’s banner for the In-Season Tournament is black and gold.

“So, it’s not really a banner,” O’Neal said. “It’s just a flag, what I call an accoladed flag.”

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers won the inaugural In-Season Tournament title. In order to secure the title, the Lakers had to beat the Phoenix Suns in the quarterfinals, New Orleans Pelicans in the semifinals and Indiana Pacers in the title game.

The only one of those three In-Season Tournament games that came down to the wire was when the Lakers played the Suns in the quarterfinals. The Lakers beat the Suns by a final score of 106-103.

The Lakers were able to defeat the Pelicans in the semifinals easily. They beat New Orleans by a whopping 44 points behind a fantastic performance from James. The 38-year-old — who will turn 39 on Dec. 30 — totaled 30 points, eight assists and five rebounds in just 23 minutes of playing time for Los Angeles.

After eliminating the Pelicans from the In-Season Tournament, the Lakers then beat the Pacers by 14 points in the title game. This time around, it was Davis who led the Lakers to a victory. The big man finished with 41 points and 20 rebounds while shooting 16-of-24 from the floor and 9-of-13 from the free-throw line in 41 minutes of action.

But ever since the Lakers took home the first In-Season Tournament title, their quality of play has taken a dip. The team is currently riding a four-game losing streak, with losses during the streak coming against the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Los Angeles lost its most recent game on Dec. 21 against the Timberwolves by seven points. Anthony Edwards scored a team-high 27 points in 38 minutes of play for the opposition.

L.A. is scheduled to face off against the Boston Celtics on Christmas, but first, the Lakers have a date with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer covering the Lakers’ dreaded rivals, the Boston Celtics, for SB Nation. He has also covered the New York Knicks for The Knicks Wall.