NBA

Williamson sees 'something special' on the horizon after Pelicans rally to beat Kings

By Sports Desk December 05, 2023

Zion Williamson believes there is great potential in the ranks of the New Orleans Pelicans after they bounced back to defeat the Sacramento Kings in the NBA's in-season tournament.

The Pelicans teed up a semi-final tie with either the Los Angeles Lakers or the Phoenix Suns in Las Vegas, after rallying from a 15-point first-quarter deficit to win 127-117 on Tuesday.

Brandon Ingram finished with 30 points, eight rebounds and six assists in the comeback victory, while Herb Jones added 23 points for the Pelicans, who trailed by a 32-17 score less than eight minutes in before embarking on a 22-4 run to take a three-point lead early in the second quarter.

New Orleans extended the margin to 69-61 at halftime and never trailed in the final two quarters while building a lead as big as 15 points in the third. Ingram had 17 of his points in the second half, while Jonas Valanciunas posted 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting along with 11 rebounds for the Pelicans.

"This team can be so great," Williamson said. "We have a lot of potential, but we have a lot of growth to do.

"But overall, we can do something really special if everybody stays locked in. We can do something really special."

Williamson only had 10 points, but he believes it is crucial that others step up to the plate when he is not at his best.

"With the shooters we've added, it definitely does take pressure off of me," Williamson said.

"I didn't play too well, but we were still up 13, 18, late in the game. This just shows how locked in everybody is. Coach always talks about staying ready. Our guys stayed ready."

For coach Willie Green, the level of trust shown by his players was the most pleasing aspect of the win.

"The biggest thing I saw in that game was trust," Green said.

"Our guys just stuck together. They stuck together in the huddle, and they continued to make the right play over and over and over again.

When you see a team that has 29 assists and only 14 turnovers, that's a team that's continuing to trust. We want to continue to build on that."

The Pelicans' win was marred, however, by news of a fan dying after a medical emergency at Golden 1 Center.

"During the first quarter of the Kings vs. Pelicans game, a guest had a medical emergency," a Kings statement read.

"EMS immediately responded and administered CPR. Tragically, these efforts were unsuccessful and the guest passed away. The organization offers its deepest condolences to the guest's family and loved ones."

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