Zion Williamson’s virtuoso performance last night propelled the New Orleans Pelicans over the Toronto Raptors. Williamson finished with a season-high 33 points, 10 boards, five assists, four steals, and two blocks on 80 percent shooting from the field in the 126-108 win.
“I told him tonight in the locker room that he was a monster. He carried us. He continued to make the right plays over and over again,” Pelicans head coach Willie Green said, via The Athletic. “He was flying around on both ends of the floor … It’s just impressive. Impressive to see.”The Pelicans were without Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum, the second and third leading scorer on the team. Williamson was expected to perform and he did just that, showing not only a return to form but a new peak of sustained excellence since he’s returned from his nagging knee injuries.
“When you have players like BI and CJ out, you’ve got to pick up where they affect the game,” Williamson said. “I just want to thank Coach [Green] for trusting me to be myself, and the rest of the coaching staff and my teammates. If they don’t trust me, it may look a little different for me.”
His teammates showed that same level of trust in Williamson’s game.
“He was a monster today. It was probably one of his best all-around games that I’ve seen,” said Pelicans forward Trey Murphy. “I’m super proud of him and the work that he’s put in. I know you guys criticize him a lot on his defense. Hopefully, he got more than a B+ today.”
Williamson’s defensive effort and conditioning have been called into question throughout his career but he exhibited the full repertoire on both ends last night, he was everywhere. He even had a key steal and bucket after a Toronto run that cut their lead from 31 to 11, to officially put the game away.
Zion Williamson is a player always on the verge of improvement, it would be no surprise at all if he tops this showing the next time out.