Ivica Zubac
December 21, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) shoots against Los Angeles Lakers center Ivica Zubac (40) during the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a disappointing road trip that saw the Los Angeles Lakers go 1-3, the purple and gold got a big win on Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans. Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo returned to the team after lengthy absences and the Lakers led the entire second half en route to a 112-104 win.

Ingram and Rondo both had solid games in their returns to the court. But they overshadowed by a different duo who left the biggest imprint on the game.

LeBron James, who was questionable to play due to illness, notched his third triple-double of the season in the Lakers’ win. After tallying seven dimes in the first quarter alone, James finished the night with 22 points, 12 rebounds and 14 assists.

LeBron wasn’t the only big contributor, however. Ivica Zubac started the game at the center position in place of JaVale McGee (who missed his third straight game) to allow Tyson Chandler to return to his regular backup minutes. The third-year center did not disappoint, playing perhaps the best game of his career. The Croatian finished the game with 16 points (shooting 8-of-10 from the field) and 11 rebounds. He also tallied two steals and two blocks, including a dagger one on former Laker Julius Randle to close out the game.

Zubac has struggled in his limited playing time this season. But to his credit, he has remained ready for the opportunity to play a big role and did so against the formidable frontcourt pairing of Randle and Anthony Davis. Of course, playing alongside James (who assisted on Zubac’s first four baskets) helped plenty.

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