Today’s game gave the fans the first taste of how effectively the Pelicans can close out games with the rookie Zion Williamson. His authoritative two-handed dunk as he was fouled by Kemba Walker was the proof of it.
Williamson had 21 points 11 rebounds in 27 minutes and the Pelicans 123-108 against the Celtics. He had the first double-double of his career. He has impressive per 36 min stats of 31 points, 13 rebounds and 2.7 assists on 67% true shooting %. This is their first victory in three since the rookie joined the lineup.
Williamson played his most minutes since completing his rehabilitation from the arthroscopic knee surgery. He had played the first five minutes or so of each quarter in his first two games. The Pelicans adjusted their strategy to allow Zion to be on the court during the final minutes.
The game marked the first time Pelicans permitted Williamson to play the game till the final buzzer. He scored eight points in the final three minutes as Pelicans pulled away in the game.
He was aggressive out of the gate with seven field-goal attempts in the first six minutes as he pounded the offensive glass. The team acquired much neede balance due to his presence. The Pelicans built a 20-point lead by halftime with nobody scoring more than 10 points.
Lonzo Ball had a career game with 15 assists in the game. He said in the post-game interview that Zion is a mobile target which makes it easy to pass him the ball in any situation. Celtics coach Brad Stevens mentions that Zion is indeed special and it is hard for any team to get a matchup for him.
Zion Williamson is the latest star to pay his respects to the late legend and his family. In the post-game interview, he mentioned he grew up watching Kobe as he dominated in the Lakers jersey. Zion has both his jerseys’ No. 8 and 24.
Zion also shared that he studied Bryant’s footwork and thought of him as one of the best players. He was sombre and seemed out of focus throughout the interview. It is obvious to everyone that the Black Mamba had an impact on how he plays the game now.