Zion Williamson, Pelicans rookies shine in preseason win against Utah Jazz

Amos Morale III
October 11, 2019 - 11:38 pm

The Pelicans are now 3-0 in the preseason after a second-straight come-from-behind victory. Earlier this week, New Orleans erased a 23-point deficit to beat the Bulls in Chicago, 127-125. 

This win came at home against the Utah Jazz as New Orleans picked up a 128-127 victory in front of the announced 17,954 in attendance at the Smoothie King Center. 

Friday night’s crowd got the chance to see the renovated Pelicans roster complete a comeback after trialing by as many as 14 — and they were into it.

“We’d have loved to have crowds like this for any game last year,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “The fact that the fans are coming out and being supportive is really, really good.

“So, we are looking forward to it. I think it’s up to us to give them a reason to come back. I talk to the guys about that all the time. We have to give them a reason to come back.” 

One potential reason fans will likely be returning is the play of the NBA No. 1 overall draft pick, Zion Williamson. The former Duke star scored a game-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting. Williamson was perfect from the floor in the fourth quarter scoring 10 points as the Pelicans opened the final frame with an 18-4 run. The 19-year-old also flashed his range hitting his only attempted 3 early in the game.

“I am a Zion Beleiver,” Pelicans rookie guard Nickel Alexander-Walker, who finished with 22 points. “So anything he does, I will be right behind him 100 percent. So if he wants to shoot wide open 3s and knock them down by all means keep doing that. It’s only going to make him harder to guard and help the team.”

Alexander-Walker scored 13 in the final quarter and was one of seven rookies to put up points in the win. Gentry said he was pleased with the team’s effort. 

“The thing I think I like the most about our guys right now is that we keep playing and plugging away at it,” He said. “It doesn’t matter who we have in, we seem to find a way to keep ourselves at least in touch so that when we do make a run we can put ourselves back in the game.”

Williamson said after the game that he enjoyed the energy of the home crowd.

“All preseason games have been pretty hype,” he said. “I didn’t expect it either. I think it shows the Pelicans are up to something over here.”

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