LeBron James and the Lakers found a way to stop an impressive performance from Zion Williamson and the Pelicans Sunday evening, eventually winning 122-114 in an exciting game that may end up being a preview of the first-round matchup.
Here’s our recap of the game that secured the 4-0 season sweep of the Pelicans.
LeBron James and Zion Williamson go toe-to-toe
The two superstars didn’t disappoint in their first matchup last Tuesday, with the two giving an even better show tonight.
Zion Williamson was showing how unstoppable of a force he is on the offensive end, bullying Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, JaVale McGee, and Markieff Morris all night. He was able to get to the free-throw line 13 times, making 11 of them. He ended with 35 points (career-high) on 12-of-16 shooting.
LeBron James, however, proved again to be the better player of the night. He had his 13th triple-double of the season, with 34 points, 13 assists, and 12 rebounds. He was, himself, an unstoppable force all night, working heavily out of the low post banging step back after step back while also facilitating out of the stop to contribute to his high assist total.
Zion Williamson isn’t too far behind LeBron James, but for now, LeBron is still The King when they matchup.
Lakers’ size advantage flipped with Zion Williamson around now
The Lakers have won most of their games through their size, bullying opposing teams within the paint on the offensive and defensive side. They did this in their first contests against the New Orleans Pelicans, with the Pelicans somewhat being able to return the favor now with the arrival of Zion Williamson.
This battle in the trenches resulted in both teams scoring a sizeable portion of their points within the paint. The Lakers made 60 of their 122 total points in the paint, while the Pelicans made 64 of their 114 total points in the paint. This seems that it’ll be the norm now, with a trend we might see in a playoff series should the Lakers and Pelicans meet in the first round.
You can also see Zion Williamson’s impact on this team’s toughness and overall size in the rebounding numbers. Both teams are in the top 10 of the NBA in rebounding, with the Pelicans ultimately getting the advantage tonight. The Pelicans collected 52 rebounds to the Lakers’ 36. Derrick Favors specifically beat up the Lakers on the boards, getting 14 rebounds off of the Lakers focus on Zion Williamson.
The Los Angeles Lakers will return home on Tuesday, taking on the Philadelphia 76ers who will be without Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.