Ingram, Williamson pace Pelicans in 128-111 win over Lakers

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New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers center Montrezl Harrell (15) during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS – Brandon Ingram looked invigorated by the sight of some old teammates on the Lakers' bench, while Zion Williamson resembled the reliable 20-point machine he's become in his second pro season.

That spelled trouble for a Los Angles squad that has been struggling without injured stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Ingram scored a season-high 36 points, Williamson had 27 points and nine rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Lakers 128-111 on Tuesday night.

The 20-year-old Williamson became the first NBA player younger than 21 to score at least 20 points in 21 straight games, and he did so with his usual crowd-pleasing array of alley-oop dunks and quick, powerful drives to the hoop.

“We see it every night. You almost just get used to it," Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy said. "I didn’t even think tonight was like one of his better nights. ... He’s so good now, the standard’s so high on the offensive end of the floor that you start to take it for granted.”

Ingram helped keep the Pelicans comfortably in front with 17 points in the third quarter, showcasing his mid-range repertoire of pull-ups, fades and turnaround jumpers — often against former Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma.

“Going against those guys again is always fun because we kind of got drafted around the same time and we were all coming up trying to battle against each other, just trying to be better than each other,” said Ingram, who has scored 30 points 10 times this season, including in his past two games.

“Of course, I'm a competitor. So, I wanted to go back to some of those old days of just us going at it in practice,” Ingram continued. “I just tried to get the best of him.”