LeBron scores 40 as Lakers thwart Pelicans' comeback bid

Ross Houston
February 27, 2020

After treating the crowd at Staples Center to a season-high 40 points in his first matchup against star rookie Zion Williamson, LeBron James strolled to the bench in the final moments of the Lakers' 118-109 win over the Pelicans and enjoyed a treat of his own: some Red Vines candy.

The Los Angeles Clippers, who were predicted to be a major force, if not the best team in the West this season, are 6.5 games behind the Lakers.

"He's an incredible player", Williamson, who scored 29, said of James.

Brandon Ingram, who was among the Lakers dealt in the trade for Davis, had 34 points and seven rebounds for the Pelicans, who are 0-3 against the Lakers this season.

James took time after the game to discuss Williamson and how he has fared so far.

It was a fun game with several big dunks, including James' slam over Josh Hart. He added eight rebounds and six assists on the night.

In the immediate present, James and Anthony Davis are a whole lot closer to basketball's ultimate goal, as they proved in their first meeting with their fellow No. 1 overall draft pick.

Apart from the ignominy of being cut with over a year left on his contract, the 28-year-old's nadir was a 10-game ban after an incident on the Heat plane - reportedly the result of Waiters overindulging in edibles infused with THC, a principal chemical component of cannabis.

Alex Caruso provided the Lakers with his usual injection of energy in the fourth quarter, particularly with a stunning block of Ball's shot at the rim that left Ball flat on his back. And against Atlanta's Trae Young in November, James piled up 33 points and 12 assists.

Pelicans: These teams will complete their four-game season series Sunday in New Orleans.

In the second quarter, Williamson's two foul shots gave the Pelicans the lead at 39-38, but the Lakers went on a 20-7 run for a 58-46 advantage after a 3-pointer by Green with 4:02 left. The oft-hobbling superstar stayed in the game after getting treatment during a timeout. Los Angeles signed the veteran on Sunday for the playoff push after Detroit bought him out.

"He's playing exceptional basketball", James said. Morris is expected to see regular time as a backup power forward who can rebound and play solid defense.

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