LeBron James scored 30 points in less than three quarters as the Los Angeles Lakers steamrolled the New Orleans Pelicans 133-89 to reach the championship game in the NBA In-Season Tournament.
The Lakers will play the surprising Indiana Pacers for the inaugural NBA Cup.
Indiana advanced with a 128-119 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the other semi-final.
Unlike the other tournament games, that one will not count in the regular-season standings.
Los Angeles' run to the title game, James said, is indicative of the team's potential.
He was particularly pleased with the defence, which held New Orleans to 35.8 per cent shooting, and the Lakers also had a 59-42 rebounding advantage.
"I think we are starting to get a feel for what we need to become a team for us to win basketball games, to be consistent," James said.
"Defensively, we're really, really starting to tap into that like, OK, we've got to defend every single night. When we defend, we give ourselves a chance to win every night."
Austin Reaves scored 17 points for Los Angeles, Anthony Davis had 16 points and 15 rebounds and Taurean Prince finished with 15 points.
Trey Murphy III led the Pelicans with 14 points. Zion Williamson had 13 points and Herbert Jones 10.
New Orleans led 30-29 after the first quarter, but James opened the second scoring the Lakers' first 11 points, making three 3-pointers in a row.
The last two came from the league and tournament logo, firing up the pro-Lakers crowd.
The nearly 39-year-old superstar even took a charge at one point.
By halftime, he had 21 points on 7-of-9 shooting. James went to the bench midway through the third quarter, which should give him plenty of energy for the championship.
Tyrese Haliburton scored 27 points as the Indiana Pacers upstaged the Milwaukee Bucks.
Myles Turner added 26 points for the Pacers. Obi Toppin had 14 on 6-of-8 shooting, Isaiah Jackson chipped in 11 and Bruce Brown had 10.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee. Damian Lillard added 24 points, Khris Middleton had 20 and Brook Lopez 18.
Down three after three quarters, the Pacers opened the fourth with a 14-8 run to take a 105-102 lead. Turner, Brown and Haliburton accounted for 17 points during a game-ending 21-13 run.
Australian Associated Press