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Williamson scored 33 points, helping the Pelicans beat the Raptors 126-108


NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Zion Williamson had 33 points, four steals and two saves, and Trey Murphy added six more of three and 26 as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Toronto Raptors 126-108 on the night. Wednesday.

The Pelicans shot 52.3% from the floor on shot 45 of 86, had 28 assists and a 31-point lead midway through the third quarter before Toronto recovered, cutting the deficit to 113-102 with 5:30 left.

But Williamson, who also had 10 rebounds, froze the game by burning through 8-0 in the next 1:27. He blocked a layup attempt by Pascal Siakam at one end and finished with a pitch at the other. He then stole Toronto’s next two properties, leading to another quick throw and then a Dyson Daniels save.

Williamson overcame the blitz by recovering a miss and executing a quick return strike as the Pelicans extended the lead to 121-102 with 3:24 remaining.

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Pelicans coach Willie Green said Williamson’s role in the key sequence cannot be underestimated.

“It was a pivotal moment in the game,” Green said. “They cut it down to (11) points, and it was kind of ‘time, score, situation’. Zion just knew, ‘Okay, I need to take over the game’ and he did it on both sides. We know that his athletic ability is impressive. But to go up and get some blocks, to take the rebound and do the full court and get to the basket, to the foul line – that’s what great players usually do.

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“I got the basket, and then had to sprint to defend because they were pushing it,” Williamson said. “I saw his eyes and started teaming up with OG (Anunoby). I was able to steal and play. The whole thought process is ‘making a play.’”

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Siakam says Williamson is the difference. “Tonight he gets whatever he wants,” Siakam said.

Four other Pelicans scored double the numbers: Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 13 rebounds, rookie Dyson Daniels added 14 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, Herb Jones had 12 points and Larry Nance Jr.

Toronto was led by Gary Trent Jr., who scored 35 points, and Siakam with 23 points.

Williamson scored nine of the Pelicans’ first 14 points and was nearly unstoppable in the first half, scoring 17 points and providing four assists as the Pelicans took a 74-47 lead after half-time. TB. It was the Pelicans’ highest-scoring half of the season.

Toronto coach Nick Nurse said: “It’s disappointing that we didn’t play well defensively all night.

At 13-8, the Pelicans have five games above 0.500 for the first time since 2017-18. That success came despite the absence of Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum.

“When people go down, we don’t see it as an obstacle for us,” Green said. “It’s an opportunity to go out and keep growing as a team, keep building. We are not there yet, but we will continue to build towards what we can.”

TIP-IN

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Raptors: G Fred VanVleet started the second technique and entered the locker room 41 seconds into the second half. … The nurse said Siakam’s 10-game absence has kept the Raptors from being “too dependent” on his 24.1 ppg score.

Pelicans: F Brandon Ingram (left toe), G CJ McCollum (recovering) and F Naji Marshall (non-COVID) missed the game. … F Herb Jones sprained his left ankle and dropped out midway through the third round.

NEXT

Raptors: Hosts the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Pelicans: In San Antonio on Friday before heading home to four games in a row.

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APNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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