Home Sports Zion Williamson, Pelicans send Pistons to 6th straight loss

Zion Williamson, Pelicans send Pistons to 6th straight loss


Zion Williamson Pelicans beat Pistons NBA

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) drives on Detroit Pistons guard Malachi Flynn (14) in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Sunday, March 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DETROIT — Zion Williamson scored 36 points and led the New Orleans Pelicans to a 114-101 victory over the short-handed Detroit Pistons on Sunday.

Williamson shot 13 for 14 from the floor and 10 for 14 from the line in 36 minutes. He added seven rebounds and six assists and received applause from the crowd at Little Caesars Arena when he left the game with 1:20 remaining.

“He got it going about halfway through the first quarter, and we were just going to ride it,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said. “That’s why I didn’t take him out until the second.”

Williamson became the third player in the last 20 years to score 35 points without a 3-pointer and with fewer than 15 field goal attempts. Dwyane Wade did it in 2005 and 2006, and Dwight Howard accomplished the feat in 2013.

“I know my teammates and my coaches trust me,” said Williamson, who had four points against Miami on Friday. “I wasn’t tripping over that game. Coming into this game, I just wanted to get the win and that’s what we did.”

CJ McCollum scored 23 points for the Pelicans (44-27), who have won five of six.

The Pistons played without four of their five starters. Cade Cunningham (knee), Jalen Duren (back), Isaiah Stewart (hamstring) and Ausar Thompson (illness) missed the game, and sixth man Simone Fontecchio (toe) was also sidelined. Jaden Ivey was the only available player to have scored more than 500 points this season.

Chimezu Metu and Malachi Flynn each scored 17 points for Detroit (12-59), which lost its sixth straight. Ivey added 16 points and Buddy Boeheim had a career-high 13. The Pistons need four wins in their last 11 games to avoid exceeding the franchise record of 66 losses.

“Our guys believed they could play with the Pelicans,” Pistons coach Monty Williams said. “They went out there and gave us a chance to compete. Zion’s just a load when he’s playing downhill.”

New Orleans led 57-41 after two periods and did just enough to keep the Pistons from mounting a significant rally in the second half.

The Pistons’ patchwork offense has struggled to score. In the first quarter, Detroit shot 21.1% (4 for 19) from the floor, including 0 for 10 from 3-point range, on the way to a season-low 10 points. New Orleans managed more points off turnovers (11) and led by 19 points heading into the second quarter.

“We just turned it over,” Williams said. “We had eight or nine in the first quarter. The ball wasn’t sticking and we were playing in the crowd.”

Boeheim matched his career high with eight points in the second quarter and the Pistons trailed by 16 points at the break.

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Pelicans: Host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

Pistons: At the New York Knicks on Monday.

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