Lakers beat Pelicans, progress to Nuggets game. 

LeBron James had 23 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 110-106 in the Western Conference play-in round on Tuesday night to advance.  

Zion Williamson debuted in the NBA playoffs with 40 points and 11 rebounds. After tying the game at 95 on a driving layup with 3:19 left,   

Williamson headed to the locker room and threw a towel to the court in disgust as he entered the tunnel with an apparent injury.  

After the game, Pelicans coach Willie Green revealed Williamson experienced "left leg soreness."  

"He's going to have some imaging on it tomorrow, and we'll figure out more," he said.  

After Williamson left, James scored a jumper, Anthony Davis slammed Austin Reaves' alley-oop pass,   

D'Angelo Russell sank a 3, and Davis grabbed a vital offensive rebound and hit two free throws to help the Lakers beat New Orleans.  

Davis had 15 rebounds and 20 points. Russell scored 21 with five deep shots.  

After losing the Western Conference finals to the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets last season, the Lakers play them in the first round. Game 1 is Saturday night.  

"Tonight we showcased what we were able to do both offensively and defensively," said James, whose team has won 12 of 15 before the playoffs. "We've got a good group going right now, good rotation, good plan and guys are coming in ready to go."  

The Pelicans will play the winner of Tuesday's other West play-in game between the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings on Friday.  

Lakers shot 14-of-35 from 3-point range.  

The Pelicans shot 9-of-29 from beyond, and Williamson didn't get any support from their leading scorers. The 11-point Brandon Ingram missed 8 of 12 shots. Nine goals from CJ McCollum on 11 misses.  

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