Zion, Pelicans Save Their Best For Last and Beat Magic 104-92

Zion Williamson dunks vs Orlando Magic

Zion Williamson set the tone early and the reserves finished the job as the New Orleans Pelicans got their first win of the preseason in their final game, defeating the Orlando Magic 104-92 in the Amway Center.

Williamson, playing a lot of his 16 minutes at the center position, scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting while grabbing three rebounds, handing out three assists, blocking a couple of shots, and snatching five steals.

The Starting Five Shows Up

The Pelicans starting unit of Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jonas Valanciunas, CJ McCollum, and Herbert Jones combined to score 62 points on 55 percent shooting. They also grabbed 21 boards and shared the basketball very well, totalling 15 assists.

The only negatives were their 10 turnovers and continued struggles from three-point range (2-8).

Ingram finished with 18 points, six assists, and four rebounds. CJ McCollum filled the box score with 11 points, five rebounds, and five dimes. Valanciunas reached double figures with 10 points and Herb Jones was steady as ever, with seven points (3-4 FG, 1-2 3P) and three rebounds.

Zion Sets The Tone

Zion came out of the gate strong, setting the tone for the Pelicans in the first quarter with 10 pts, four steals, two assists, and a rebound.

New Orleans was as active as it had been on the defensive end all preseason. The starters in particular showed multiple efforts, reached out for deflections, communicated, and once they created a turnover they were able to get out in transition and convert Orlando mistakes into points.

The Pelicans still trailed by two points at the half because of those turnovers and a big deficit on triples (-24).

Second Half Surge

With the starters largely done midway through the third quarter, the task of pulling out a win fell to the reserves.

Willie Green went deep into his bench on Tuesday night, with 14 players touching the court and 12 of those playing 10 minutes or more.

Rookie center Trey Jemison showed up big with 10 points and nine rebounds, scoring eight in the final 5:09. His first bucket of the fourth quarter gave the Pelicans an 88-87 lead. His second extended New Orleans’ advantage to three points, and his tip-in with 2:45 put the Pels up 97-90.

Jemison could earn a roster spot with a depleted and undersized Pelicans front court about to enter the season.

Jalen Crutcher, who also scored eight in the fourth, buried a three-pointer on the next possession to push the lead to double-digits and seal the victory.

By the Numbers

New Orleans shot well enough from two-point range (61%) to overcome another rough night from beyond the arc (7-of-28).

The Pelicans won the battle of the boards 47-39, and grabbed 13 offensive rebounds.

Both teams had 11 steals and 19 turnovers, though the Pelicans were outscored 24-14 in that area.

New Orleans did however outscore the Magic on the break (22-16) and in the paint (50-40).

The Wagner Brothers (Mo and Franz) accounted for 35 of Orlando’s points. The pair shot a combined 15-21 from the floor, including 5-10 3PA.

Up Next

Season Opener: Wednesday, Oct. 25

Who: New Orleans Pelicans (0-0) at Memphis Grizzlies (0-0)


2 thoughts on “Zion, Pelicans Save Their Best For Last and Beat Magic 104-92

  1. Let’s be real. When it was our starters against their starters, we were getting beat. The Pels didn’t pull this game out until scrub time. To say that the Pels have got something figured out, is ridiculous.

    I attended the game in the blender. They looked like crap.

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