Zion Williamson has high-flying slam, leads Pelicans past Nets 104-91

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

NEW YORK -- - Zion Williamson scored 28 points and wowed the Barclays Center crowd with a high-flying alley-oop dunk, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Brooklyn Nets 104-91 on Tuesday night.

CJ McCollum added 16 points, Larry Nance Jr. had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones each finished with 11 points for the Pelicans, who opened a four-game road swing with their third straight win and seventh in eight games. New Orleans is fifth in the Western Conference.

"I think it says we're watching film and adjusting as we get further in the season," Nance said.

New Orleans (42-26) clinched its second consecutive winning season, something the franchise hadn't done since 2009, when it was still known as the Hornets.

"We're trying to build starting with our foundation," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. "It starts with the people we bring in our building that contribute to having a healthy program, high character people that bring a ton of energy, hard workers, top to bottom. That's the program that we're trying to build - it's a sustainable winning culture and it feels like we're trending in a good way right now."

Cam Thomas had 25 points and Mikal Bridges added 15 for the Nets, who have lost four straight.

The Pelicans shot 50.6% from the field while limiting Brooklyn to 36.9% shooting.

New Orleans pulled away with a 20-4 run in the second quarter to take a 47-25 lead.

"They were making shots," Nets interim coach Kevin Ollie said. "Guys we wanted taking shots, they (were) making 3s. Zion getting out in transition, and we fronted him in transition and he's getting a couple of lobs over the top."

New Orleans led by 24 points in the second quarter and by 19 at halftime. Brooklyn opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run, capped by Thomas' 3-pointer that made it 68-57 with 8:56 remaining in the period.

The Pelicans rebuilt their advantage to 85-69 heading into the fourth.

Cam Johnson cut the Brooklyn deficit to 13 with a layup before Williamson scored four consecutive points, including his highlight-reel two-handed slam with 10:21 left.

Naji Marshall, who had urged Williamson to dunk more often in the paint, picked off a pass from Thomas and found his open teammate for the alley-oop.

"When he got the steal, I said, 'Oh he is throwing it,'" Williamson said. "He threw a good pass, went and got it."

UP NEXT

Pelicans: At Orlando on Thursday night.

Nets: Start a four-game trip at Milwaukee on Thursday night.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

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