LeBron James had a monster game on Sunday (March 1), posting a triple-double (34 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds) during the Lakers’ win against the New Orleans Pelicans. However, perhaps the biggest story from the day was Zion Williams’ career-high effort.
The 19-year-old rookie scored a career-best 35 points during the Pels 122-114 loss to the Western Conference’s top team.
After the game concluded, James and Williamson met for an embrace. In the locker room, the 17-year NBA veteran expounded on the connection made and said he wanted to make sure to give players their props while he’s still an NBA player.
“Anybody that says that, ‘LeBron, why would he do that while he’s playing? It’s a sign of weakness. … He’s buddy-buddy with the guys he’s going against.’ Tell them to kiss my ass,” James said in wrapping up his postgame locker room session. “All right? With a smile, too. Appreciate it.”
Perhaps the most entertaining moment of the game came with 33.4 seconds left in the second quarter. Williamson pivoted around Kyle Kuzma for an above the rim slam, and as the Pelicans moved into transition, LeBron returned fire with a 35-foot 3-pointer to tie the game at 61.
“Zion had a hell of a move right before that got the crowd into it,” James said. “I looked up at the clock and seen that we had a great opportunity for a 2-for-1. And nine times out of 10, maybe 10 times out of 10, a lot of guys are not going to contest that shot because they think I’m shooting it from too far. So I knew I would have some space. I worked on it before the game and I was able to knock it down.”
Williamson is currently battling with Memphis guard Ja Morant for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year Award. The number one and two pics in last year’s draft haven’t disappointed. However, it will be tough for Williamson to win the award since he hadn’t played until late January due to injury.