LeBron James dominated against Zion Williamson in their first matchup ever. The Los Angeles Lakers eventually broke the resistance of the feisty Pelicans, but the main thing was the clash between King James and Zion. The final result of the contest played at the Staples Center was 118-109 for the purple and gold.
Zion had an excellent performance, but the three-time champion was perfect. LeBron dropped 40 points, a season-high, with 25 of them coming in the second half, 16 in the third period.
“Shot make them pay,” said LBJ. “I got a couple of threes going, and I was being aggressive until the rest of the quarter.”
He was shooting 17-for-27 from the field and made five shots from downtown in 11 attempts. Apart from scoring, Lakers’ superstar was excellent in other categories as well, with 8 boards, 6 assists, however, with 7 turnovers.
Even in the moments when he wasn’t scoring, King James was dictating the tempo of play, and that is why he had so many lost possessions. He would lead the LAL to a 14-point lead early inside the third sequence, but the Pelicans didn’t back out. Quite the opposite, being led by the former Laker Brandon Ingram and Zion, they got back and forced the hosts to work hard.
LeBron is averaging 33.3 points, has 9 assists and 7.8 boards in the previous four games.
Anthony Davis was not in the mood like in the previous two matchups against his former team, and he had just 21 points and 14 boards, with a poor shooting performance 6-for-21.
Meanwhile, Zion was 8-for-18 and hit 13 of 19 free throws for 29 buckets. The no.1 pick from this draft had 6 boards and three assists too.
“Very explosive, very quick,” LeBron said about Zion, adding that he thinks Zion is doing well in the league for now, and that he absorbs and handles all the pressure very well. “His first 11, 12 games, he’s played exceptional basketball. I think every game he’s going to be better and better.. I think today’s game is the perfect fit for his game, the high paced, the speed up and down.”
This was the ninth straight game with 20 or more points for Williamson, and that is the longest streak since 2013 for one rookie. After the game, he spoke about LeBron, after the media representatives pressured him with all sorts of questions about LBJ.
“He’s an incredible player. I don’t know what y’all don’t understand about that. He handled business. He did what he had to do to help his team get the win,” stated Zion.
He’s been averaging 23.3 points, and 7.1 rebounds so far, shooting 57.3%. If Zion continues to play like this, NOP will have solid chances of reaching the 8th spot which leads to the playoffs.
His Pelicans (25-33) will go back to Louisiana now and play the next three straight matches at home. The first rivals are the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday, then the Lakers come to visit them, and eventually, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
On the other side, the Los Angeles Lakers (44-12) have a three-game trek through the West, starting in San Francisco this Thursday, then in Memphis two days later, and finally in New Orleans.
Frank Vogel’s side has six straight wins and holds the top spot in the West confidently, denying all the attacks from other rivals.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.