Williamson caps 33-point outing with winning layup as Pelicans overcome Spurs
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Zion Williamson had 33 points, including the winning layup over Victor Wembanyama and two other defenders with 3.8 seconds left, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the San Antonio Spurs 114-113 on Friday night.
“I don’t know how he made it,” New Orleans guard Jose Alvarado said. “He’s going down full speed. Three guys at home with him, full speed. Wemby was there. That was one of the guys. Amazing shot blocker and he still gets it off high off the glass.”
Williamson shot 12 for 21 from the field and had four points in the final 29 seconds as New Orleans won its second straight to finish its road trip 2-2.
Wembanyama had blocked Williamson two possessions earlier, but the No. 1 pick in 2019 by New Orleans was not about to let this year’s top selection do it again. Williamson charged at Jeremy Sochan and Devin Vassell and stayed a step ahead of Wembanyama.
“I just trust my game,” Williamson said. “In that situation, transition, I can get downhill really well.”
C.J. McCollum added 21 points and Brandon Ingram had 19 for the Pelicans.
Devin Vassell had 28 points, but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for San Antonio.
“We’d rather throw it the rim and go dunk it, but that’s the shot we got,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Vassell’s missed 3.
San Antonio is 2-4 entering the finale of a seven-game homestand Saturday against Cleveland. The Spurs open their annual three-week road trip Wednesday in Miami as the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo occupies the Frost Bank Center.
San Antonio was unable to overcome 18 turnovers, including three while inbounding.
One highlight for the Spurs came when Wembanyama completed a three-point play after throwing in a runner from behind the backboard in the final seconds of the first half.
“Victor is a very special player,” Williamson said. “We were just talking about it in the locker room. He’s a dude that can get two or three Defensive Player of the Year (awards). I don’t want to put no limit on it, but he can get Defensive Player of Years and MVPs. We haven’t seen nothing like that. We’ve seen things close, but not like that.”
Wembanyama finished 7 for 14 from the field but took only two shots while playing 9:51 in the final quarter. He did not touch the ball on the Spurs’ final possession.
New Orleans had six players score eight or more points in a balanced effort to overcome Wembanyama and an electric game by Sochan.
With his dyed blonde hair and frenetic energy, Sochan brought back memories of former Spurs forward Dennis Rodman. After missing a follow layup, Sochan tore the ball from Murphy’s hands and charged the rim for a reverse layup.
In the third quarter, Sochan followed Wembanyama’s missed scoop layup with a two-handed dunk.
“He's playing great right now," Vassell said. "I love when he's aggressive.”
Pelicans: Host Toronto on Monday.
Spurs: Host Cleveland on Saturday.
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