Zion Williamson takes over, has team's final 14 in win

Zion Williamson 14 points at Memphis Grizzlies

Highlights from New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Feb. 12 during the 2023–24 NBA season. Pelicans’ Zion Williamson takes over, has team’s final 14 in win As the fourth quarter drew to an end and the Pelicans were…

Highlights from New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson 14 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, and 1 steal against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, Feb. 12 during the 2023–24 NBA season.

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson takes over, has team’s final 14 in win

As the fourth quarter drew to an end and the Pelicans were behind the Minnesota Timberwolves, CJ McCollum made a joke about how easy the Pelicans’ strategy had become.

“Get the ball to Z and get the f— out the way,” he said.

With 14 points in the last quarter, Zion Williamson scored a career-high 43 points to help the Pelicans rally for a 119-118 victory.

With 39.1 seconds remaining, Williamson gave New Orleans the lead by deflecting a D’Angelo Russell pass that was meant for Jaden McDaniels, collecting the rebound, and dribbling in for a dunk to put New Orleans ahead by two.

Zion Williamson takes over, has team's final 14 in win
Zion Williamson takes over, scoring the team’s final 14 in a win

Following a dunk by Anthony Edwards to equalize the game, Williamson drew Rudy Gobert’s sixth and final foul and converted both of his free throw attempts to put the Pelicans ahead once more. Edwards tried a fadeaway shot at the buzzer, but his attempt was off, and New Orleans won.

Based on research from ESPN Stats & Information, the 14 straight points were the most by a Pelicans player to conclude a game in franchise history.

“I attempted to understand the attitudes of many old-school players by watching them, and I found that all of them had the same thinking. Winners stick in people’s memories,” Williamson remarked. “I want people to think that he was a champion when the time comes for me to stop playing basketball. And CJ gave me a look and told me, “Now is the time to step up if you want to be great.” And that gave me all the drive I required.”

While downplaying his influence in inspiring Williamson, McCollum—who played with Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge in Portland—emphasized how unique it was to witness Williamson’s skills up close.

McCollum stated, “Like, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that.” “We may never see someone with that kind of strength, power, and speed who can still jump straight up, east, and west. His ability to jump both east and west and finish makes him difficult for defenses to contain.”

Williamson led the game with 19 points in the third quarter before his game-winning run. He had 10 points at the half. His 33 points in the second half are tied with Anthony Davis’ two records for the most points in a half in Pelicans history.

Williamson set a new career record for made free throws and tied his career high for attempts, going 14 of 21 from the field and 14 of 19 from the line. Out of his 14 field goals, 13 were made within the paint. His final 3-pointer, which he made with 2:17 remaining, reduced Minnesota’s advantage to two.

Trey Murphy drove the lane on that shot and sent it over to Williamson. He joked about how Williamson usually gets the assist on his three, so he owed Williamson one. Williamson helped on four of Murphy’s five triples on Wednesday.

Murphy declared, “I believe he’s our league’s MVP.” We are among the top teams in the West, as you can see. He is guiding us. He scored 43 on 21 attempts. He finished with 14 points, if my memory serves me well. He’s unusual, that’s for sure. I have never seen this, and I’m happy to be on the same squad as him.”

Following a four-game losing run, it was New Orleans’ fourth straight win. Despite being without Brandon Ingram since November 25, the Pelicans’ victory and Denver’s defeat moved them back into a share of first place in the Western Conference.

As per Pelicans coach Willie Green, the way Williamson performed on Wednesday to win even though he was behind the whole game demonstrated “that’s what great players do.”

“It’s amazing,” said Green. “His touch, where he finds the glass even though two or three guys are chasing him down the lane.” Furthermore, he does an excellent job of locating his teammates. Having a player like Z is a luxury for us, and he performed brilliantly tonight.”

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