New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson continues setting scoring records, takes over late against shorthanded Mavericks

Just about 24 hours after setting a new career-high, Zion Williamson came mighty close to recording another one.

After dropping 39 on the Nuggets on Friday, the 20-year-old finished with 38 points in an unexpectedly tightly-contested game against a Dallas Mavericks squad without Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

At the end of the first 12 minutes, the Pelicans led by their largest-margin of 15 (35-20). However, a 15-0 run by the Mavericks in the second quarter made this a back-and-forth game that witnessed 10 lead changes and 10 ties.

In fact, the shorthanded Dallas squad led 95-94 with 3:59 left to play. Then, Williamson and the Pelicans flipped the game on its head with a huge 18-8 game-sealing run.

Williamson scored or assisted on the Pelicans' final 14 points and was responsible for 16 of the team's 18-8 run.

"It presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials," Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said postgame on Williamson. "He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O'Neal type force of nature with a point guard skillset."

The No. 1 overall pick of the 2019 NBA Draft, Williamson has been setting records that were last achieved by Shaquille O'Neal.

This game was Williamson's fourth consecutive game of scoring at least 25 points on 65% shooting or more and the last NBA player to do so was O'Neal in 1995-96. This was Williamson's 11th career game of scoring at least 30 on 60% efficiency or better - that's the most by an NBA player before turning 21 in NBA history.

Although he's setting records with his scoring, the young superstar has slowly but surely developed consistent playmaking skills that are starting to put the Pelicans opponents in a quandry. In 24 games in his rookie year, he had only three games of five assists or more, whereas, through 43 games in 2020-21, he's had 16.

For more on his improved playmaking, click here.

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