New Orleans Pelicans rising power forward Zion Williamson got his first shot at Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James. He also faced Anthony Davis, who was the face of Zion’s New Orleans Pelicans in the years preceding his arrival as the No. 1 pick of the 2019 NBA draft.
The Los Angeles Lakers prevailed in Round 1, 118-109. This was all thanks in large part to LeBron James’ season-high 40 points on 17-of-27 shooting.
But Zion’s 29 points, six rebounds, three assists, many bully-ball drives and constant leap-off-the-screen athleticism served as further reminders that he has next.
Zion attacked Lakers defenders, be it Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard or JaVale McGee, without a hint of fear.
Williamson made 8 of 18 shots from the field and notched his fifth straight 25-point game, tied with Doncic (2018-19) and Carmelo Anthony (2003-04) for the longest streak by a teenager in NBA history, according research by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Entering Tuesday’s game, 74.6 percent of Zion’s shots had come in the range of zero-to-three feet from the rim. He was shooting 68.9 percent on those shots.
He also made a career-high 13 free throws on 19 attempts from the line.
King James had plenty of praise for the 19-year-old Williamson, the top pick in the 2019 draft whom James called “very explosive” and “very quick for his size.”
“He’s playing exceptional basketball,” James added. “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.”
“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 8 seconds,” James said. “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 was fun, he’s a great player, he’s got a quick first step, very explosive,” said Lakers star Anthony Davis, who had 21 points and 14 rebounds. “Second jump is unbelievable. There was some times we tried to foul him when he got by us and had an easy layup or dunk and he made free throws, so he’s going to continue to get better and better, obviously, this is his first year, they’re fighting for a spot, but as time goes on, he gets more experience with the game, he’ll be
Williamson shows raw athleticism at random moments throughout games. It is every bit as impressive and will surely take him places.