CLEVELAND (AP) — Zion Williamson scored 38 points and Brandon Ingram had 27 points and eight assists in rallying the New Orleans Pelicans to a 116-109 victory over the injury-plagued Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night.
Williamson, who scored 25 points in the first half, fell one shy of his career best of 39 set March 26 against Denver. He made 16 of 22 field goal attempts and grabbed a game-high nine rebounds as New Orleans pulled within one game of the final play-in tournament spot in the West.
The Pelicans, who trailed by 13 points in the second quarter, went ahead for good at 108-107 on Ingram’s jumper with 2:33 remaining. Williamson followed with consecutive layups to extend the lead to five before Ingram iced the game from the line.
Dean Wade scored a career-high 21 points and Kevin Love and Isaac Okoro each had 19 for Cleveland, which was without starters Collin Sexton (left groin strain), Darius Garland (right ankle sprain), Jarrett Allen (concussion) and Larry Nance Jr. (illness).
One night earlier, the Cavaliers allowed a franchise-record 87 points in the first half and were routed 135-115 by Toronto at home. The Raptors didn’t play their top three scorers in Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Kyle Lowry.
Naji Marshall had 15 points and Eric Bledsoe added seven points and five assists for New Orleans, which won its second in a row. There were five lead changes in the final eight minutes with Cleveland taking its final advantage at 107-106 on Cedi Osman’s hoop.
Osman scored 15 points off the bench for the Cavaliers, while Matthew Dellavedova had seven points and 10 assists in his initial start of the season. Cleveland fell four games behind the last play-in position in the East.
Cleveland carried a 68-62 edge into intermission. Wade scored 16 points and Isaiah Hartenstein had 10 for the hosts, while Jaxson Hayes banked in a 60-footer at the buzzer to pull the Pelicans within six.
Love scored nine points on three 3-pointers and Dellavedova had five assists in the first, helping the Cavaliers jump in front 39-29. Ingram had 11 points for New Orleans.