Pelicans’ Zion Williamson scores 39 points in loss to Nuggets

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This season has not gone as planned for the New Orleans Pelicans and neither has their Friday night matchup against the Denver Nuggets. After leading by up to 14 points, the Pelicans collapsed down the stretch and were penalized for a shot clock violation on a game-tying potential possession in the final seconds. They continued to lose 113-108, losing a double-digit lead for the twelfth time this season.

However, there have been some bright spots for the Pelicans this season, namely, Zion Williamson looks like the real deal in his first full season in the league. It was fitting, then, that when the team released another heartthrob on Friday, he played the best offensive game of his career.

With a ridiculous 16 of 19 shooting from the field, Williamson finished with 39 points in defeat, the most of his career. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists, and added a steal and two blocks for good measure. Plus-minus in a single game isn’t a stat you want to trust, but the fact that he finished with plus-13 in a five-point loss gives you an indication of just how important he is to this team.

As is basically every night, Williamson was unstoppable at the rim. The Pelicans did a good job of getting it moving, and once it goes downhill there is little hope of stopping it. Combine that with the Nuggets’ overall lack of rim protection (25th in the league in blocks per game) and you have a recipe for a great night.

All of his highlights are worth seeing as always, but this play in the second quarter stood out as a statement about his different level of athleticism. He catches the ball in the corner, starts backing toward the basket, and then spins so fast that he loses his balance. However, instead of falling, he manages to bounce back and get up for a hit, all in one move.

No one his size should be able to move and jump like this, but he does it every night and is apparently only getting better. It would be a real shame if we missed Williamson in the playoffs this season (the Pels are now 19-25 and 2.5 games out of last inning), but if so, it certainly won’t be his fault.

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