March 2, 2020
The New Orleans Pelicans, No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson just fifteen games into his NBA career dropped 35 points, a new career high, on 12-of-16 shooting against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday night.
Williamson has already proven he is capable of brilliance on a night-to-night basis. The Pelicans’ problem Sunday was that they ran into a player who has been doing that for the past 17 years. LeBron James had 34 points, 12 rebounds and 13 assists as the Lakers knocked off the Pelicans 122-114 at Smoothie King Center.
Five days after he poured in a season-high 40 points in a win over the Pelicans, James picked New Orleans apart again.
The Lakers swept the regular-season series against the Pelicans 4-0. The Pelicans (26-34) fell three games behind the Memphis Grizzlies. If they can make up that ground over their final 22 games and sneak into the postseason, they will likely face the Lakers, who have a comfortable hold on first place in the Western Conference.
All-Star and former Pelican Anthony Davis did not play in Sundays contest. In January 2019, Davis made it clear to Pelicans’ management that he didn’t want to be a part of the organization going forward. After a deal wasn’t found before the trade deadline, Davis stayed with New Orleans for the rest of the season.
Now, Davis is in a starring role alongside LeBron James as the Lakers hold the top seed in the Western Conference. Davis is averaging a team-best 26.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks for the Lakers while helping to lead the team to a conference-best 46-13 record — 5½ games better than the Denver Nuggets and LA Clippers.