Zion Williamson is in the prime of his still short career. Physical issues forgotten, the New Orleans star is proving that if he’s in shape he’s basically unstoppable. He last night, hosting Phoenix, 35 points to take his to victory in overtime by 129-124 and settle them in first place in the Western Conference with a record of 18-8.
As expected, the game against the Suns was really tough. Both teams are in the elite of the NBA and they showed it despite having important casualties (Brandon Ingram in the locals and Devin Booker in the visitors). In the first half, those from Arizona were better and enjoyed advantages that were close to ten points; However, their joy was short-lived, as their rival quickly closed the difference and in the third quarter they pressed to go up 15 points. It seemed like the Pelicans, with Zion at the helm, controlled the game, but you can never trust a team like Phoenix. Thus, thanks to a 13-2 run, they went from losing by 11 points with eight minutes to go to being only one down with less than four minutes left. Despite such backlash, it looked as if victory would go to New Orleans until Chris Paul (constantly booed by the crowd) forced overtime.
An exciting extra time was expected, but it was not so much. Phoenix lost DeAndre Ayton to six fouls just before the final five minutes, and shortly after starting it was Chris Paul who had to leave the floor for the same reason. The referees pointed out Zion’s foul on a triple attempted by the veteran point guard, but the Louisiana bench asked for challenge and the referees changed their decision. There the battle ended. The Pelicans left on the scoreboard and added their seventh consecutive victory with a Williamson paid to give a show. Come and see.
«The Suns have earned their resume; they are a great team. Therefore, it is very important for us to get two consecutive victories against them; it’s something that builds our confidence,” says Willie Green, head coach from New Orleans.
Zion Williamson shone with 35 points (including two triples in three attempts) to which he added eight rebounds and three assists, but he was not the only one who pulled the bandwagon. CJ McCollum went up to 29 points and, already from the bench, Naji Marshall contributed 16 points and Larry Nance Jr. another 15. Everything seems to work for Louisiana.
28 for DeAndre Ayton
DeAndre Ayton ended up ejected, but while he was on the track he did the most damage to the Pelicans; so much so that he concluded his performance with 28 points, 12 rebounds (six offensive) and 5 assists. His great performance was accompanied by 27 points from Mikal Bridge and another 17 from Cameron Payne. It was not enough for the Suns to avoid what was their fifth loss in the last six games. Chris Paul, who stayed at 6 points and 11 assists, understands that this is not the time to panic.
“Let it just happen. Realize that it is a very long season. We definitely know we have to improve and fix some things, but it’s not do or die yet,” she says.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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New Orleans: seventh win in a row with an unstoppable Zion Williamson