SAN ANTONIO – – New Orleans forward Zion Williamson is starting to feel like himself again. San Antonio can attest to that.
Williamson had a season-high 32 points and 11 rebounds, and the Pelicans were never behind while giving the Spurs their sixth straight 129-110 loss on Wednesday night.
“Zion was a monster from start to finish,” said New Orleans coach Willie Green. “Driving the ball, kicking it to his teammates. exploiting discrepancies. Defensively I thought he was really solid tonight. Just in the right places, communicating, connecting, all the things we’re working on. Z’s monster game tonight.”
Williamson, who missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured right foot, had two solid games in a row. He was limited to nine points in a 128-83 win over Golden State on Monday night, but his defensive efforts were key.
“Defensively, I’m starting to find my moves and feel the game,” Williamson said. “Really see the game. I was happy with the last game (defensive). This game just shifted to my offense.”
Williamson was 14 to 18 out of the field while scoring 28 points in the paint.
Despite the absence of CJ McCollum through illness, the Pelicans extended their lead to 24 points in the fourth quarter and won for the seventh time in nine games.
San Antonio reserves went on an 11-0 run to reduce New Orleans’ lead to 118-102 with 3-20 remaining, but the game was essentially decided in the opening minutes.
Spurs guard Devin Vassell had 26 points and eight assists and Doug McDermott added 21 points. San Antonio lost 11 of 12.
Jonas Valanciunas finished the tournament with 22 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans.
The Spurs missed their first eight shots of the game as the Pelicans took a 21-6 lead. San Antonio would follow suit by scoring four points in the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second quarter.
Williamson and Valanciunas dominated the color early, scoring 18 points 7-9 shots in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the game.
“Well, obviously we didn’t figure it out,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said of Williamson defensemen. “But there’s a reason he was chosen where he was chosen. He’s pretty good.”
New Orleans held Keldon Johnson, San Antonio’s top scorer, at a season-low five points. Johnson’s three-lowest totals of the season came in his last three games.
Pelicans: McCollum had a late scratch due to illness. “He just wasn’t feeling well,” Green said. “He was struggling with a mild cold or something. He was just tired today. Didn’t feel like it. Hopefully he’ll be better in the next few days.” … Williamson was flexing his right bicep as Jeremy Sochan tumbled onto the pitch, failing to prevent a layup from the Pelicans’ 285-pound forward. San Antonio called for a full time-out after the basket that gave New Orleans a 37-19 lead with 9:31 remaining in the first half. … Trey Murphy missed the game with a bruised right foot.
Spurs: Johnson collected his 1,000. career rebound. He joins Manu Ginobili as the only player in franchise history with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 250 3-pointers in the first four seasons in the league. … San Antonio is 1-11 in November after the season opened 5-2. … Spurs had 47 first-half points, their second-lowest in the first half this season. …G Romeo Langford returned from a five-game absence while following the league’s health and safety protocols.
Pelicans: In Memphis on Friday night.
Spurs: Faces the Los Angeles Lakers in the first of two home games on Friday night.
AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP–Sports