LeBron James scored a season-high 40 points as the Lakers pulled out a win over the New Orleans Pelicans 118-109 on Feb. 25.
James shot 17-of-27 from the field and also added 8 rebounds and 6 in thirty minutes as well. He helped the team secure a lead out of halftime by scoring 16 points in the third alone.
“Terrific night, the simplest way to put it,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said after his team’s sixth-straight win. “He was great in all areas in terms of being aggressive, looking to score the ball.”
The Lakers got 21 points, 14 rebounds and 6 blocks in 36 minutes from Anthony Davis versus his former team too.
“They’re a team that is fighting for a spot so we knew we would get their best shot,” Davis said about the team’s defense versus a Pelicans team they could potentially play in the first round of the playoffs.
Lakers guard Danny Green added 17 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
Off the bench, Lakers forward Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 15 points. Alex Caruso also provided a spark for the Lakers off the bench including a block on former Lakers guard Lonzo Ball in the forth quarter.
“He definitely gets a game ball tonight,” Vogel said about Caruso’s play versus the Pelicans.
Caurso finished with 8 points and 8 assists in 17 minutes. He also threw a pass between the legs which LeBron James finished with a dunk. It was the highlight of the night according to many Lakers teammates in the press conference.
“I love those guys,” Caruso said about playing his former Lakers teammates who were swapped for Davis. “…But I’m playing against someone I’m trying to win.”
Speaking of Ball, he chipped in 10 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds for New Orleans.
“They were kind of bullying us on the boards for a little bit,” Ball said after the loss in his hometown. “We should have did better on the glass.”
New Orleans lost the rebound battle 45 to 51 as well as the turnover battle 20 to 16.
“You can’t have the twenty turnovers we had,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry told the media after his team’s loss.
Ball’s fellow former Lakers teammate and current teammate, Brandon Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring with 34 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists.
2019 No. 1 pick Zion Williamson also made his debut versus the Lakers. The Pelicans big was injured the last time these teams plays.
“I was crazy impressed of him when I watched him on film and the reaction is not any different in person,” Vogel said complimenting the 19-year-old. “He’s spectacular.”
Williamson finished with 29 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists in 33 minutes.
“I knew he had it,” Williamson said after playing James for the first time. “He showed me it.”
It was Zion’s 12th game of the season after he missed the beginning of the season with injury.
“It’s pretty similar,” Williamson said about the NBA game versus college. “The only difference is there is like no student section.”
More Notes From The Game:
Los Angeles got off to a hot start leading 12-2. Danny Green had a couple of threes and Anthony Davis had three blocks in the first few minutes of the game.
The Pelicans would come back in the second quarter cutting the lead as close as one.
LeBron lead a 11-0 run that helped the Lakers open the third quarter. They went up 75-61.
However, the Pelicans kept battling. They took their first lead with just over three minutes left in the third at 82-81.
JJ Redick got his first points of the game with three FTs that bring the Pelicans back within one with just over 9 minutes left. However, K.C.P quickly answered and gave the Lakers a 95-92 lead.
Lonzo Ball and Alex Caruso went back and fourth in the ninth minute of the fourth quarter too. Caruso swatted Ball at the rim but Ball hit a three on the Pelicans next possession. Then Caruso got a steal, scored and got an and-one. He scored the next Lakers basket as well giving them a 102-97 lead with 7:30 left. Then Lonzo Ball hit a layup to bring the Pelicans back within three.
With three minutes left in the fourth LeBron James helped the Lakers take control with a two-handed dunk followed by a layup on drive to a basket.
Markieff Morris made his Lakers debut after signing with the team once the Detroit Pistons bought him and he cleared waivers this week. Morris wasn’t expected to play but his first shot as a Lakers player was a dunk off an assist from Anthony Davis.
“It means everything to me,” Morris said about getting a taste for playing with the playoff contender after his debut. “…Putting on this jersey is very special and special to be apart of this group.”
Morris averaged 11 points and 4 rebounds in 44 games with Detroit this season.
“We got to work him,” Vogel said about his impression of Morris. “He has great versatility.”
Next, the Lakers begin a three-game road trip when they play the Warriors Wednesday while the Pelicans will host the Cavs Friday. These teams face off again Saturday in New Orleans.