Sport Pelicans' Zion Williamson goes off for a career-high 39 points in loss to Nuggets

07:05  27 march  2021
07:05  27 march  2021 Source:   cbssports.com

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This season has not gone to plan for the New Orleans Pelicans and neither did their Friday night matchup against the Denver Nuggets. After leading by as many as 14 points, the Pelicans fell apart down the stretch, and were called for a shot clock violation on a potential game-tying possession in the closing seconds. They went on to lose 113-108,blowing a double-digit lead for the 12th time this season.

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There have been some bright spots for the Pelicans this season, however, namely Zion Williamson looking like the real deal in his first full season in the league. It was fitting, then, that as the team dropped another heart breaker on Friday, he put up the best offensive game of his career.

Zion Williamson joins Michael Jordan in elite scoring company

  Zion Williamson joins Michael Jordan in elite scoring company Zion Williamson has dominated throughout his first 60 games of his career. There was a reason why fans of NBA teams wanted to lose a ton of games two years ago. If they did and won the Draft Lottery, they would secure the services of Duke superstar Zion Williamson. While the New Orleans Pelicans did not have the worst record that season, they happened to have the right lottery ball and landed Williamson. Not even two years in, and the pick is already paying dividends. According to ESPN, Williamson has scored 1,457 points in the first 60 games of his career, the second-most by a player since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.

Shooting a ridiculous 16-of-19 from the field, Williamson finished with a career-high 39 points in the loss. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, dished out five assists and added a steal and two blocks for good measure. Single-game plus-minus isn't a stat you want to rely on, but the fact he finished plus-13 in a five-point loss gives you an indication of how important he is to this team.

As he is basically every night, Williamson was unstoppable at the rim. The Pelicans did a good job getting him the ball on the move, and once he's going down hill there's little hope of stopping him. Couple that with the Nuggets' general lack of rim protection -- 25th in the league in blocks per game -- and you have a recipe for a huge night.

His full highlights are worth watching 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 to back in towards the basket and then spins so fast he actually loses his balance. Yet instead of falling down he manages to gather himself and rise up for a slam all in one motion.

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

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