Zion Williamson’s spectacular 33-point performance, highlighted by a decisive layup against Victor Wembanyama and two other defenders with just 3.8 seconds left, propelled the New Orleans Pelicans to a nail-biting 114-113 victory over the San Antonio Spurs during Friday’s NBA action.
The game-winning move, executed with remarkable agility and skill, left spectators and teammates in awe, especially considering the defensive prowess of Wembanyama, known for his shot-blocking abilities.
“I don’t know how he made it,” Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado said. “He’s going down full speed. Three guys at home with him, full speed. Wemby was there. That was one of the guys. Amazing shot blocker, and he still gets it off high off the glass.”
Williamson’s efficiency from the field was on full display as he made 12 of 21 attempts, including crucial points in the game’s dying moments, ensuring the Pelicans capped off their road trip with a win to balance their record at 2-2.
“I just trust my game,” Williamson said. “In that situation, transition, I can get downhill really well.”
Despite Wembanyama’s earlier block against Williamson, the 2019 No. 1 pick’s confidence and skill allowed him to navigate past the Spurs’ defense, including Jeremy Sochan and Devin Vassell, to secure the victory.
Supporting Williamson, C.J. McCollum contributed 21 points, and Brandon Ingram added 19, showcasing the Pelicans’ offensive depth. Devin Vassell led with 28 points on the Spurs’ side, though his attempt at a game-winning three-pointer as time expired was unsuccessful.
“We’d rather throw it the rim and go dunk it, but that’s the shot we got,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of Vassell’s missed 3.
The Spurs, grappling with consistency, saw impressive performances from their roster, including Sochan’s double-double and Wembanyama’s significant defensive impact. However, their efforts were marred by 18 turnovers, a critical factor in their defeat.
Wembanyama’s unique talent drew high praise, with Williamson acknowledging his potential to achieve numerous Defensive Player of the Year awards and even MVP honors, highlighting his unprecedented skill set.
“Victor is a very special player,” Williamson said. “We were just talking about it in the locker room. He’s a dude that can get two or three Defensive Player of the Year (awards). I don’t want to put no limit on it, but he can get Defensive Player of Years and MVPs. We haven’t seen nothing like that. We’ve seen things close, but not like that.”
The game also featured a memorable moment from Wembanyama, who scored a remarkable three-point play from behind the backboard, showcasing the rookie’s exceptional abilities despite the Spurs’ limited use of him in the crucial final quarter.
The Pelicans’ balanced scoring effort and the Spurs’ energetic play, reminiscent of past Spurs legends, set the stage for their upcoming challenges, with New Orleans hosting the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio welcoming the Cleveland Cavaliers in their next matchups.