The New Orleans Pelicans battled the LA Lakers at Staples Center with the LeBron James-Zion Williamson matchup as the most-anticipated subplot of the night. In the end, James and Williamson fought to a standstill but it was the Lakers who got the better of the Pelicans with a 112-95 rout.
Los Angeles went down by 15 points to New Orleans in the first half but the Lakers got their bearings midway into the second quarter to make the game more interesting before halftime.
Here are our 5 hits and flops from the New Orleans Pelicans-LA Lakers game:
Hit: LeBron James (LA Lakers)
Appearing very passive at the beginning, preferring instead to facilitate the offense, LeBron James passed the ball on plenty of occasions as the LA Lakers fell behind early.
But the 4-time MVP orchestrated the offense to perfection in the third quarter, looking for his shot as necessary and dishing the ball to wide-open teammates with precision. The onslaught from James continued all the way to the fourth quarter as he led the LA Lakers to the win, finishing with a near triple-double (21 points / 8 rebounds / 11 assists).
Flop: Brandon Ingram (New Orleans Pelicans)
Brandon Ingram started off red hot for the New Orleans Pelicans with most of his jumpers finding the bottom of the net in the first half. Ingram had 17 points on 8-of-9 shooting before halftime and looked like he was on his way to a 30-point outing.
But it all went downhill from there as the former Laker was stuck at 20 points from the third quarter onwards, and couldn’t seem to find the seams in the defense as easily as he did at the start.
His New Orleans Pelicans teammates also did a poor job of helping him to get better looks at the basket, leading to one poor possession after another.
Hit: Anthony Davis (LA Lakers)
Anthony Davis blocked Zion Williamson twice in the first half and brought the LA Lakers back from a double-digit deficit. The Lakers were down by just one, 58-57, on the strength of Davis’ defense and 7-of-10 shooting from the line.
As the game progressed, Davis managed to score just 17 points and six rebounds but he was busy filling up the box score in other areas. The 7-time All-Star had five assists, three steals, and three blocks total to give the Lakers the win with one of his better all-around games of the season.
Flop: Steven Adams (New Orleans Pelicans)
About the only thing that Steven Adams did that registered with fans was an altercation with LeBron James in the second quarter. He didn’t do much to protect the paint and was a step slow against the LA Lakers who slashed their way to the basket with regularity.
Adams had only four points and seven rebounds in 33 minutes of action.
Hit: Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)
It was billed as a LeBron James-Zion Williamson battle and with good reason. Williamson was ready for his first head-to-head of the season with the 36-year-old veteran, and the Pelicans forward delivered the goods.
His 21 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, and one block didn’t put much of a dent on the game because of the dominant performance by the LA Lakers as a team, but he served notice that he could hang with the best team in the NBA right now. As Brandon Ingram found it more difficult to score in the second half, Williamson seemed to get stronger.