Pelicans' flop brings more questions about Zion Williamson's viability as a franchise player

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Coaches and players for the New Orleans Pelicans walked off the garish blue-and-red court inside T-Mobile Arena 

with their chins tucked to their chests. Only a stoic high-five from executive vice president David Griffin

kept some eyes off the tunnel floor as New Orleans staffers retreated to the locker room after a lifeless 133-89 loss to LeBron James and the Lakers in Thursday's in-season tournament semifinal.

"That's not representative of who we've been or who we are," said head coach Willie Green. "Tonight we took a step in the wrong direction."

The Pelicans had recovered from a 4-6 start marred by injuries by winning five of six games, three of which were in-season wins that helped propel New Orleans into

the tournament's inaugural knockout round. The Pelicans then traveled to Sacramento, where they denied the Kings another emphatic beam on Monday night.

They flew directly from Northern California to Las Vegas before the Lakers' quarterfinal matchup against the Suns at Arena on Tuesday night. 

Perhaps it was the long time between games, but New Orleans lacked the same fervor as James and the Lakers. Before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft

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