Zion Williamson had the best scoring game of his career. LeBron James ruined it with yet another other-worldly performance of his own.
James finished with a triple-double — 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists — as the Anthony Davis-less Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 122-114 on Monday (AEDT).
In yet another matchup between the star rookie and the four-time MVP, Williamson dropped a career-high 35 points, but the Pelicans couldn’t stop James in the fourth quarter.
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With Davis sitting with a knee injury, the Lakers got 20 points from Kyle Kuzma, while JaVale McGree had eight points and six blocks.
Lonzo Ball finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists against his former team, but the Pelicans dropped to 26-34 with the loss.
The Lakers improved to 46-13 on the season with the win.
The opening half was a competitive, crowd-pleasing affair in which James scored 19 and Williamson 17.
Moments after Williamson had cut to the hoop for a one-handed stuff, James pulled up from 35 feet for a 3 that tied it at 61.
Caldwell-Pope’s driving finger roll gave Los Angeles a 63-61 edge at halftime, and the Lakers widened their lead with a strong start to the third quarter. Danny Green hit a 3, Kuzma added a layup, McGee tipped in Kuzma’s missed floater and Kuzma hit two free throws to make it 74-66.
New Orleans began to close the gap again when Williamson spun free from Kuzma for a back-door dunk of Jrue Holiday’s alley-oop pass.
Williamson added free throws and a driving layup before Favors’ dunk and Ball’s 3 pulled the Pelicans back into a tie at 77. The game remained close the rest of the period, which ended with New Orleans holding a 95-93 lead after Caldwell- Pope’s free throws.