Seven players finished in double figures as the New Orleans Pelicans bounced back from a couple of losses with a statement victory over the surging Phoenix Suns.
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Zion Williamson, the 20-year-old phenom, provided plenty of highlights as he led all scorers with 28 points.
OMG pic.twitter.com/KDIdvoGgjM- New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 4, 2021
Zion (26 points) is 11-12 early in the 4th Q!- NBA (@NBA) February 4, 2021
📺: ESPN pic.twitter.com/Th9ixZ8fiq
For the Suns, Devin Booker top-scored with 25 but their struggles on both ends of the floor, especially in the second half where they were outscored by 20, proved to be far too much
Zion's best game
"I told Zion at the end of the game, I thought, easily his best game of the year if we are taking both ends of the floor," Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy said postgame.
The numbers agree with the coach. Along with his 28, Williamson also recorded seven rebounds and six assists in 32 minutes of action. Not to mention his incredible efficiency of 12-of-14 from the field.
That box score made him the second 20-year-old or younger since 1983 after Ja Morant to finish with a 25/5/5 game on 85+ FG%. This was his 33rd game of scoring 20 or more through the first 43 career games - second only to Michael Jordan's 37 since the NBA-ABA merger.
He recorded a game-high plus-minus of +37 - that's when the Pelicans' biggest lead of the game was 28.
"That's, by far, the best defence I have seen him play," Van Gundy added. That's a step in the right direction for Williamson, who ranks in the bottom 50 of the league (454 total) in defensive plus-minus.
Coming into this game, the Suns had won three straight and were surging. Including this game, the Phoenix Suns have a defensive rating that ranks in the top 10 in the league and the Pelicans scored 123 on them with shooting splits of .511/.424/.810.
"I don't think there's any doubt this was our best game of the year," Van Gundy said postgame.
The Pelicans scored 17 points off the Suns' 15 turnovers while committing just seven themselves and outscored them 10-0 in fastbreak points.
New Orleans has now won three of their last five on this homestand after they had dropped eight of nine. They next travel to Indiana, who have lost three of their last four.
On the other hand, the Suns travel back to Phoenix for a huge seven-game homestand which starts in a couple of days against the Detroit Pistons but it also includes Eastern Conference heavyweights like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Brooklyn Nets.
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