LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Zion Williamson said he felt “alive again” after getting a chance to help his team close out a game.
Brandon Ingram scored 24 points, Williamson added 23 points and matched his career high with five assists in his most extensive playing time since the NBA restart, and the New Orleans Pelicans got a much-needed 109-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.
“My competitive spirit was there and I’m glad Coach and the whole team trusted me to finish the game out,” Williamson said.
After being limited to a combined 29 minutes in his first two games back, Williamson played 25 minutes, although he appeared to get fatigued when he didn’t hustle back on defense and was taken out with 6 minutes to play. But he returned a short time later and helped the Pelicans close on a 12-6 run.
“The medical guys thought that he was able to go back in and play,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. ”... He played really good down the stretch.”
The game also included another Williamson shoe incident.
Williamson drove the lane in the third quarter and landed awkwardly, losing his left shoe. However, the big man quickly put the shoe back on and remained in the game. It brought back memories of when the then-Duke freshman sensation injured his knee in February 2019 when his foot ripped through the side of his shoe as he attempted to plant his foot.
Ingram was solid late, making a pair of jumpers including a transition 3 to help hold off the Grizzlies.