New Orleans 123, Boston Celtics 108
When: 6:00 PM ET, Sunday, January 26, 2020
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Recap for Digital Sports Desk by Field Level Media
NEW ORLEANS – Zion Williamson had his first double-double as an NBA player, and the New Orleans Pelicans won for the first time with him in the lineup, 123-108 over the visiting Boston Celtics on Sunday.
Williams, the top pick in the 2019 NBA draft, had 21 points and 11 rebounds in his third game after preseason knee surgery. Jrue Holiday scored a team-high 25 points, and Derrick Favors added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Lonzo Ball added a career-high 15 assists to go with eight points, while JJ Redick had 17 points and Brandon Ingram 16.
All-Star guard Kemba Walker led the Celtics with 35 points, Gordon Hayward scored 23 points, and Jaylen Brown, returning from a two-game absence due to an ankle injury, added 20. Danny Theis had 15 points.
Before the singing of the national anthem, the Pelicans held a 24-second moment of silence in honor of former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who died along with one of his daughters, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles on Sunday morning.
When the game began, the teams followed the lead of the Spurs and Raptors earlier in the day by dribbling out the shot clock in Bryant’s honor on their first possessions.
The Pelicans led by 20 at halftime and pushed the edge to 23 at 69-46 before the Celtics picked up their scoring pace. Walker scored 16 points and Brown eight in the period as Boston pulled to 91-81 by period’s end.
Redick made a jumper to start the fourth-quarter scoring, but Boston quickly cut its deficit to 95-89 with 9:51 to play.
Again ahead by six with nine minutes left, the Pelicans then got a 3-pointer by Redick, a layup by Williamson and a 3-pointer by Ingram to stretch their lead to 14 at 105-91 with 7:35 left.
The Celtics got within nine before Josh Hart made a 3-pointer for the Pelicans with about six minutes to go. Holiday’s 3-pointer gave New Orleans a 115-101 lead with 4:06 remaining.
Walker scored five straight points to get Boston within nine, but Williamson scored eight straight New Orleans points to seal the win.
The Pelicans made 5 of 10 3-point attempts while the Celtics were just 1 of 9 as New Orleans took a 32-20 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The pattern continued in the second quarter as the Pelicans made 5 of 11 3-pointers to the Celtics’ 2-of-8 as New Orleans increased its lead to 62-42 at halftime.
–Field Level Media