Zion scores 25 points in return, Pelicans rout Nets 130-108

NEW YORK (AP) Zion Williamson returned from a one-year absence with 25 points and 9 rebounds, powering the New Orleans Pelicans to a season-opening 130-108 rout of the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night time.

The No. 1 select in the 2019 draft regarded absolutely recovered and explosive after being sidelined with a damaged proper foot, and his addition to a roster that made the playoffs with out him may just make the Pelicans a emerging workforce in the Western Conference.

Ben Simmons additionally returned to motion after a neglected season however had the misfortune of getting to hide Williamson for a lot of the transient time he used to be in the sport. He fouled out early in the fourth quarter with 4 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists, taking 3 photographs.

Brandon Ingram scored 28 points and CJ McCollum had 21 for the Pelicans, who completed sturdy closing season and opened impressively in this one. Jonas Valanciunas had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Kevin Durant scored 32 points however used to be in large part a one-man display, with out a different Nets participant in double figures till the overall two mins of the 3rd quarter. Patty Mills had 16 points and Kyrie Irving controlled 15 on 6-for-19 capturing, going 0 for six from 3-point vary.

The 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson used to be fast off his toes for rebounds and forceful together with his strikes into the paint, showing his degree of athleticism that is uncommon even in the NBA. His basket-shaking dunk with about 8 1/2 mins closing introduced one of the crucial few cheers from a dejected crowd who watched the house workforce by no means lead and path through as many as 26.

It used to be already 7-0 earlier than Simmons made the primary basket of Brooklyn’s season. The Pelicans raced to a 20-4 lead and Williamson’s layup made it 32-14 after one.

New Orleans led conveniently for lots of the first part, however the Nets in the end were given it again beneath double digits when Nic Claxton blocked Williamson’s spinning dunk strive and Durant got here down and hit a 3-pointer that made it 54-45.

It used to be 58-50 on the part earlier than Ingram scored 12 points and Williamson added 11 on 5-for-6 capturing in a 40-point 3rd because the lead grew to 26 earlier than the Pelicans took a 98-78 result in the fourth.

It used to be a foul strategy to get started the season for a Nets workforce that desperately desires to disregard the closing one. A primary-round go out – when Simmons by no means performed as a result of again issues after being got for James Harden – gave strategy to a tumultuous offseason in which Durant requested to be traded and the Nets refused to offer Irving a freelance extension, forcing him to select up his possibility for this one and making it conceivable it is his closing in Brooklyn.


Pelicans: Coach Willie Green mentioned he may just inform all through the Pelicans’ playoff run closing season that Williamson had moved past the disgruntlement of harm rehab to pleasure for taking part in once more. ”It’s very tricky going thru accidents, particularly if you find yourself truly younger and you’ve gotten been operating your tail off to take a look at and be ready to come back in and lend a hand your workforce and also you undergo a setback,” Green mentioned. ”So he needed to navigate thru all of the ones issues. Now coming again this offseason, he is been in the fitness center all season and that smile is actual.” … C Jaxson Hayes (torn elbow ligament) is ”very shut” to returning,” Green mentioned.

Nets: Brooklyn used to be lacking its two highest out of doors shooters, with Joe Harris (sore left foot) and Seth Curry (left ankle) no longer in a position for the beginning of the season. … Irving addressed the group earlier than the beginning of the sport and made a plea for the go back of WNBA celebrity Brittney Griner from a Russian jail. ”Everybody do your task. Please deliver our sister house,” Irving mentioned.


Pelicans: At Charlotte on Friday night time.

Nets: Host Toronto on Friday night time.

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