Zion Williamson Explodes in Fourth Quarter of NBA Debut for Pelicans

Williamson erupted for 17 straight fourth-quarter points for New Orleans

Zion Williamson's NBA Debut
Zion Williamson drives the ball around Trey Lyles. (Chris Graythen/Getty)
By Evan Bleier / January 23, 2020 9:00 am

Though he couldn’t give them the win, Zion Williamson gave the Pelicans and their fans three minutes of heaven on Wednesday night in New Orleans.

Quiet for much of his NBA debut while playing limited stints on the floor, Williamson exploded for 17 straight fourth-quarter points for the Pelicans during a burst that lasted just over three minutes. 

Thanks to the explosion, which saw Williamson drain four 3-pointers even though he’d never made more than three in any game while playing at Duke, the 19-year-old finished with 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with seven rebounds, three assists and five turnovers in 18 minutes of court time.

Unfortunately for New Orleans, Williamson’s outburst wasn’t enough to help them get the win and they fell to the Spurs 121-117 to drop their record to 17-28 on the season.

“I think what you saw there was a taste of what, once we really get settled, he gets settled in, there is a lot of things we can do with him,” said New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry. “There’s a lot of potential there. It was good to see him do that. I just think there’s a really, really high ceiling that he can reach, you know. He can reach it.”

Though the Pelicans still trail the Suns, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies and Spurs for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, New Orleans actually has a good chance of making the postseason.

“So why all the statistical faith in New Orleans? There are a handful of reasons, but two stand out. First, the model believes the Pelicans’ roster at completely full strength has the talent of a 50-win club. And second, the other six teams in the fight for that last playoff seed all have far tougher remaining schedules,” according to FiveThirtyEight. “Another thing that should make New Orleans feel confident: 14 of its remaining games are against those six teams also fighting for the last spot. And the Pelicans have amassed a 6-1 mark against those clubs to this point.”

New Orleans and Williamson will next take on the Nuggets on Friday night and the Celtics on Sunday afternoon.

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