The New Orleans Pelicans No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson made an impact in his NBA regular season debut, but it was the San Antonio Spurs that won the night. They went into the Smoothie King Center and won 121-117 to spoil Williamson’s debut.
How It Happened:
It was a slow start for New Orleans in Williamson’s regular season debut.
Williamson played the first 3:51 of the first quarter, recording just one assist, one turnover and missing one field goal in that time. The Pelicans trailed 31-24 after the first.
New Orleans shot 0-of-7 from the 3-point line in the first, but their offense picked up in the second quarter. San Antonio still outscored the Pelicans 29-27 in the second.
Williamson’s first NBA regular season basket came at the start of the second. He scored on a putback layup following his offensive rebound.
But there wasn’t much of an answer for LaMarcus Aldridge and the rest of the Spurs in the first half. The Spurs starting forward had a double-double after the first two quarters. He scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
San Antonio shot 50 percent from the field, while New Orleans shot 38.6 percent.
The Pelicans trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half before cutting it down to five. The Spurs led 60-51 at the halftime break.
The Spurs maintained their control of the game after halftime. They outscored the Pelicans 34-31 behind Aldridge’s 10 third quarter points.
Brandon Ingram ended the third with 19 points on 5-of-18 shooting and Williamson climbed to five points and four rebounds.
San Antonio led 94-82 entering the final quarter.
Williamson exploded in the fourth quarter to give the Pelicans a 107-106 lead after scoring 17 straight points. He hit four 3-pointers and also accounted for four other points with two assists. Williamson’s 17 points were scored in the span of three minutes and eight seconds.
His night was over after that burst. Williamson finished with 22 points, seven rebounds, three assists and five turnovers in 18 minutes. His 22 points were the most by a Pelicans’ rookie in their debut. Meanwhile, Ingram also finished with 22 points but shot 6-of-22 from the field.
The Spurs used a late run to secure the road win. San Antonio improved to 20-23 while the Pelicans dropped to 17-28 on the season.
Player of the Game: LaMarcus Aldridge
The Pelicans had no answer for Aldridge. He scored 32 points and totaled 14 rebounds in the win.
Big Number: 50.6
The Spurs shot 50.6 percent from the field and made 11 3-pointers to take the first of the season series between San Antonio and New Orleans.
Up Next: At home vs the Denver Nuggets, Friday Jan. 24; Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.