LeBron James Victorious In First Showdown With Zion Williamson; Lakers Beat Pelicans 118-109
Tuesday’s match up between the Lakers and Pelicans was must watch television as two of the most hyped No. 1 picks to ever grace an NBA court went head-to-head for the first time this season. LeBron James faced Zion Williamson in a tough Western Conference battle that was filled with highlight plays and athleticism from both players.
James left the game with bragging rights after posting a game-high 40 points to go along with 8 rebounds and six assists en route to a 118-109 victory. Williamson who scored 29 points with three assists and six rebounds while shooting 8-18 from the field, spoke to ESPN after the game about James’ impressive performance. “He’s an incredible player,” the 19-year-old said. “I mean, he handled business.”
According to ESPN Stats & Information, James has faced off against a No.1 pick 356 times and scored more than his opponent 297 times. At 35, James became the oldest player at Staples Center since Kobe Bryant to record at least 40 points in a game since Bryant scored 60 in 2016 at age 37. “Satisfaction for me always comes in a win, no matter how well I’m playing,” James told ESPN.
Williamson who has scored 20 or more points in his last nine games, received praise from James who said, “He’s playing exceptional basketball. I think every game he’s going to get better and better, just having that experience. I think today’s game is a perfect fit for his game. The high pace, the way they play, it fits his game. The speed, running up and down and playing at that speed, they move the ball.”
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Williamson recorded his fifth straight game with 25 points tying Luke Doncic (2018-19) and Carmelo Anthony for the longest streak by a teenager in NBA history. He also made a career-high 13 free throws on 19 attempts.
James later commented on Williamson’s style of play, “They try to get it up the court, and it reminds me of the Phoenix Suns back when Steve Nash was running it in that first eight seconds. So it works perfectly. And our game is such, so many possessions now and there’s so much space, that it’s perfect for our game. So he’s doing exceptionally well with that.”
It’s hard to tell which is more impressive, Williamson bullying Anthony Davis on the way to the rim or James scoring 40 at the age of 35? The fact is when James scores at least 30 points the Lakers are 18-0 and fans can’t wait to see what both players have in store for their second showdown on March 1.