The Pelicans have come back to life since their no.1 pick, Zion Williamson joined the lineup. A team once sitting at the bottom of the conference have clawed their way back into playoff contention, currently sitting at the 9-seed 3 games out of that last playoff spot that is currently held by the Memphis Grizzlies. Both teams faced the conference-leading Lakers this weekend and here is a recap of how they performed.
The Grizzlies came into the Staples Center on a 5-game losing streak, looking to break their losing ways against arguably the best team in the league thus far this season. Those losing ways changed Saturday night as the Grizzlies dominated the game 105-88. This was a huge statement win for the Grizzlies and their young roster shining against Lebron and Anthony Davis. Defensively, they played phenomenally holding the Lakers to 88 points, when they average 114.5 points per game. The Grizzlies also forced 14 turnovers, 5 of which were Lebron’s.
Offensively, they were firing on all cylinders, even with Jaren Jackson out of the lineup. They had 3 players finish with 20+ points. Ja Morant was absolutely electric scoring 27 points going 10-16 from the field. He also dished out 14 assists, doing an excellent job of getting his teammates involved. Jonas Valanciunas was also incredibly impressive in this one. He straight up outplayed Anthony Davis, scoring 22 points and snagging 20 rebounds. He was an absolute force and if he can continue that kind of play, Memphis going to be a problem for any team they play against. Dillon Brooks who recently received a contract extension from the Grizzlies, played a large role in the victory by scoring 24 points of his own. This was a much needed, confidence-boosting win for the Grizzlies as this playoff race intensifies between them and the Pelicans.
The Pelicans hosted the Lakers last night in hopes of repeating the Grizzlies performance from the previous night. However, their defensive woes continued as they lost at home 122-114. In a tightly contested game, the Lakers late in the fourth quarter to pull away with the victory on the road. With Anthony Davis taking the night off against his old team, Lebron dominated with a triple-double scoring 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists. He took advantage of his mismatches when isolated on Josh Hart and Jrue Holiday and was as efficient as ever going 14-for-21 from the field. Kyle Kuzma also stepped up with scoring 20 points of his own.
Zion Williamson looked excellent in this match-up and was the primary reason his team was in the game. He had 35 points with 7 rebounds. He controlled the paint in this game and was great at the free-throw line as well going 11-for-13 from the stripe. Lonzo Ball shined against his former team, nearly recording a triple-double scoring 19 points, grabbing 9 rebounds, and dishing out 9 assists. The pelicans leading scorer Brandon ingram struggled in this one going 5-for-23 from the field and hurt their chances of winning with his poor shooting performance.
Luckily for Pelicans fans, and fans around the league is that this battle for the last playoff spot in the West between the teams with the first two picks in this past draft is far from over. The Pelicans rising from the ashes of the Western Conference to be 3 games out of the playoffs with 20+ games to go, should make this next month and a half very entertaining for fans around the league.
Here are the highlights from both of the games via House of Highlights:
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