NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 14 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter and the New Orleans Pelicans held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-94 on Friday night.
Williamson scored the first six points of the fourth quarter and eight of the Pelicans’ first 10, extending an eight-point lead to 86-71. He scored three more times after the 76ers pulled to 94-87 with 4:03 left.
Williamson was 15 of 28 from the field and added 15 rebounds and eight assists. Brandon Ingram added 17 points, but shot 5 of 21 in his first game back after missing five with a right foot injury.
“My teammates were giving me confidence and saying we trust you and every move you make,” Williamson said. “All that stuff plays a part.”
Philadelphia, which missed an opportunity to tie Brooklyn for the best record in the Eastern Conference, tied a season low with 94 points.
Joel Embiid, who had scored 59 points in two games since returning from injury, had 14 points on 5-of-16 shooting.
His teammates struggled just as much as he did against the Pelicans, who had given up 123 points to Atlanta and 139 to Brooklyn in their last two games. Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 23 points, but no one other than him or Embiid had more than four field goals.
“It was just a bad loss for us,” Harris said. “We never brought the physicality to the game. They got all the 50-50 basketballs and all the hustle plays. We came into the game just thinking we were going to outscore them.”
They had no answer for Williamson, who showcased his unique skills by playing point guard in the half-court offense all the way.
“He’s as physically gifted as they come,” Harris said. “He’s the real deal. He has the size and the speed and the agility to make plays downhill.”