While the Los Angeles Lakers saw the returns of Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo, they were still shorthanded Friday night against the New Orleans Pelicans because JaVale McGee remained out due to flu-like symptoms and an upper respiratory infection.
His absence figured to further test the Lakers down low as they’ve struggled without him and faced the tall order of containing Anthony Davis and Julius Randle. On top of that, LeBron James missed shootaround because he was feeling under the weather.
In the end, James notched his third triple-double of the season, and Ivica Zubac took full advantage of his spot start by registering a double-double in a 112-104 win. James had seven of the Lakers’ first eight assists in the game, often finding Zubac for easy looks.
The third-year center capitalized on that and made his first five baskets. Zubac finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, and punctuated the performance with blocks on Davis and Randle in the fourth quarter.
James had 22 points, 12 rebounds and tied a season high with 14 assists. He was just short of pacing the team in scoring, which went to Kyle Kuzma as he poured in 23 points. All five Lakers starters reached double-figures.
Davis had 30 points and 20 rebounds, both game highs, as he fought off a bout with the flu. Randle turned in 21 points and 8 rebounds in his first time playing against the Lakers since signing with the Pelicans in free agency.
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