The New Orleans Pelicans cruised to a 116-104 win over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. The Pelicans never led by fewer than 12 points after outscoring the Cavs 43-25 in the first. Three Pelicans scored 22 or more points, led by Brandon Ingram‘s 29 on 11-of-19 shooting. Zion Williamson dropped 24 points at an 11-of-16 shooting. Jrue Holiday contributed 22 points thanks to a 10-of-16 shooting night.
After the game against the Warriors, Williamson became the first player since Michael Jordan to have four consecutive games of at least 25 points while shooting at least 57% from the field as a rookie.
Williamson’s 25-point streak came to an end Friday night, but he extended another one in the process. He posted his 10th straight game with at least 20 points. Williamson, 19, becomes the first teenager in NBA history to pull off that feat. He broke a tie with another scoring great in Carmelo Anthony, who scored 20 points or more in nine consecutive games as a 19-year-old.
The team success has come for the Pelicans lately. They were 5.5 games out of the West’s eighth playoff spot after the All-Star break. Friday nights win has the Pelicans sitting just two games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth seed.
Memphis is in a free-fall due to of a five-game losing streak, and New Orleans has put itself in a position where it can fight for the position of the eighth seed. Sneaking into the No. 8 seed would likely result in a date with LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.
That would be an epic series between the player who carried the league’s torch for a decade-and-a-half and the one who may be the recipient when James retires.