Atlanta Hawks

Zion Williamson and surging Hawks trade NBA records in Isaiah Thomas' return to action

The Hawks and Pelicans had plenty of stake in this one.

While the former looked to maintain momentum and remain higher-up on the logjam in the middle of the East standings, the latter is looking to establish some consistency having never won or lost more than four games and rise higher up the West standings to feature in the Play-in spots.

While the back-and-forth first-half didn't disappoint, Atlanta ran away with it in the third, before winning it comfortably 123-107.

That said, here are the biggest storylines from this one:

Zion ties Shaq's all-time streak

With no Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson was the focus of the Pelicans offence.

Returning from a three-game absence, due to a sprained thumb, Williamson finished with a game-high 34 points on a super-efficient 12-of-18 shooting from the field in 35 minutes.

His performance tied Shaquille O'Neal's record for 25 straight games scoring 20+ points on 50 percent shooting.

He was one of five players who finished in double figures in scoring but the Pelicans simply had no answer for the Hawks in the second half. Lonzo Ball was the other key contributor, finishing with 12 points, 11 assists, eight rebounds, and three steals.

In 45 games this season, Williamson has been remarkably healthy and is averaging a career-high 26.5 points, seven rebounds and 3.5 assists on 62.5 percent shooting from the field.

Hawks open up game with NBA record

Nearly all of the game's 13 lead changes and eight ties came in the first half, including the Pelicans' largest lead of 13.

However, the hosts caught fire from deep in the third quarter and separated themselves from the visitors. En route to a 46-point quarter, where they outscored the Pelicans by 17, Atlanta were a perfect 11-of-11 from 3-point land - an NBA record.

The Hawks finished with 20 3-pointers on a remarkable 64.5 percent efficiency with four players accounting for at least three.

Point guard Trae Young led from the front as he finished with 30 points (six 3-pointers) and 12 assists. He was one of six players to finish in double-figure scoring including a combined 38 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the field from Bogdan Bogdanovic and Kevin Huerter.

With this win, Atlanta has gone 13-4 under interim head coach Nate McMillan and now improves to 27-24, good for fourth in the East.

Isaiah Thomas returns, felt 'like a rookie again'

Over 14 months since his last NBA action, Isaiah Thomas returned to the league by signing with the Pelicans on a 10-day contract.

In 10 first-half minutes, he didn't disappoint and looked like he had never left with eight points, one rebound, and one assist.

With the game out of hand in the second half, he only added two more points from there, but the 5'9" guard certainly proved that he still belongs on an NBA team.

"I don't think I've got to prove anything," Thomas said postgame indicating he intends to play against the Nets in Brooklyn on the second night of a back-to-back. "I'm healthy now. I didn't even ice my hip (postgame)."

"I feel like a rookie all over again," talking about his debut.

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