Six Pelicans scored in double figures as they beat the red-hot Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers by 21 points, their third-biggest win margin of the season.
The team tied a franchise record with 40 assists as they rolled to a season-series clinching win over the Trail Blazers.
"As long as we get the win, I'm happy."@Zionwilliamson recaps the @PelicansNBA win after scoring a career-high 31 PTS! #NBARooks pic.twitter.com/uMWMvcGMm3- NBA (@NBA) February 12, 2020
Zion's career night
In his limited 28 minutes, Zion Williamson finished with team-highs of 31 points (10-17 FG; 11-14 FT), nine rebounds and +25. He also dished out five assists.
Zion Williamson's points by game:- StatMuse (@statmuse) February 12, 2020
He's the first rookie in 33 years to record at least seven 20-point games in the first nine games of his career. Ron Harper was the last rookie to do so in 1986-87. pic.twitter.com/ERP5IaVYqo
He became only the sixth rookie in NBA history to record five consecutive 20+ point games but he is the first to do so in the the first nine games of their career.
He also became the third player in the last 30 seasons alongside Shaquille O'Neal and Grant Hill to score 20 or more seven times in their first 10 games.
Zion is the 5th player in the past 10 seasons to have a 30-point game in his 1st 10 career games.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 12, 2020
Williamson is also the 4th-fastest No. 1 pick in the lottery era to have his 1st 30-point game (9th game). He's the fastest since Allen Iverson (1st game).
(h/t @EliasSports) pic.twitter.com/DrqqbxF7ph
This game was also the second time Williamson scored more points than minutes. In the shot-clock era, starting from the 1954-55 season, Michael Jordan is the only other rookie to do so twice in the first 10 games of his career.
Zion, Pelicans turn it around in the 3rd Q
Late in the first quarter, the Trail Blazers led by 16 (35-19 at 1:12 mark) but Williamson and the Pelicans kept chipping away at the lead before turning it into a blowout with their 41-point third quarter.
The Pelicans shot 18-of-28 (64.3%) from the field and assisted on 13 of those 18 made field goals. Williamson and Josh Hart were among the biggest contributors in this quarter.
While Hart was the game's top scorer for the period with 12 points, Williamson finished with seven points, three rebounds, and two assists.
More importantly, the Pelicans held the Trail Blazers to only 21 points, allowing them to carry an 18-point lead into the fourth quarter.
Off-game for Lillard, but crucial win for the Pelicans
In 29 minutes, Damian Lillard finished with 20 points (6-16 FG; 0-4 3PT; 8-9 FT), six assists, and five rebounds.
For the first time in a month, Lillard scored 20 points or less (since Jan. 9 game vs. Minnesota Timberwolves). It was only the second time in a month that he had shot less than 40 percent from the field and it was the first time since Dec. 23 that he failed to knock down a three-pointer.
In fact, he now has only two games this season with zero 3-pointers and both were against the Pelicans.
Damian Lillard finished 0/4 from 3 tonight.- Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) February 12, 2020
Dating back to last season, he's now missed his last 16 3-pointers against the Pelicans.
With both the Pelicans and Trail Blazers in the race for the last playoff spot in the West, this win, which helps the Pelicans go 3-0 against the Trail Blazers this season, is a crucial one as it gives the New Orleans franchise the head-to-head tie-breaker.
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