The eight teams remaining in the NBA's inaugural in-season tournament are playing for a specific trophy.
The league highlighted the NBA Cup trophy, as well as the tournament MVP trophy and awards for being selected to the all-tournament team on Monday. The NBA Cup is 23 inches tall, which represents 2023 as the first year of the in-season tournament:
When the NBA first revealed the in-season tournament, it was fair to wonder if it would generate much buzz. After all, legacies will continue to be shaped by the chase for the actual championship and individual accolades such as the MVP rather than games in November and December.
Alas, it has largely been a success.
The tournament games have infused energy into a portion of the schedule that is traditionally often overshadowed by football. Even players as decorated as Stephen Curry with championship resumes have talked about the sense of urgency in the games that wasn't there in the past.
Howard Beck of The Ringer noted television ratings were up 26 percent to comparable dates from last season, while the NBA also set an attendance record for November games.
The single-elimination portion of the tournament starts Monday with a doubleheader of games on TNT. The Indiana Pacers face the Boston Celtics on the Eastern Conference side, while the Sacramento Kings play the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference.
Play continues Tuesday with a matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks in the East and Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns in the West. The four winners of the quarterfinals will advance to the Thursday semifinals in Las Vegas with the championship scheduled for Saturday.
There is star power remaining with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. There are also young, exciting teams such as the Pacers, Pelicans and Kings.
And there will be a new trophy handed out for the first time on Saturday.