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Zion Williamson silences critics with season-high 36 points as Pelicans prevail

Posted : 12 December 2023

Zion Williamson responded emphatically to recent criticism by delivering a stellar performance, scoring a season-high 36 points as the New Orleans Pelicans triumphed over the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 121-107 victory in the NBA. The former No. 1 overall pick faced scrutiny following a lackluster showing in the In-Season Tournament semi-final loss to the Los Angeles Lakers, prompting NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal to question his intensity and performance. Williamson, acknowledging the critiques, stated, “If it comes from a great place and a place where they just want to see me do better, thank you. But if it comes from anywhere else, everybody's entitled to their own opinion.”


Reflecting on the Pelicans' subpar performance against the Lakers, Williamson admitted it was a disappointing effort, noting the team lacked focus and effort. Despite challenges and criticisms since his teenage years, Williamson emphasized his commitment to being aggressive and earning the trust of his teammates. Having faced injury setbacks early in his career, the 23-year-old showcased resilience and determination in the recent victory, helping his team hand the Western Conference-leading Timberwolves only their fifth defeat of the season.


In other NBA action, the Los Angeles Clippers secured their fourth consecutive win with a 132-127 triumph over the Portland Trail Blazers. Kawhi Leonard, with 34 points, played a pivotal role in the victory, while teammates Paul George and James Harden contributed 20 points each. Clippers coach Tyronn Lue highlighted the importance of health and rhythm for Leonard, who has accumulated 75 points in the last two games.


Additionally, the Denver Nuggets halted a three-game losing streak by defeating the Atlanta Hawks 129-122. Jamal Murray led the scoring with 29 points, complemented by Nikola Jokic's 25 points. Despite Bogdan Bogdanovic's impressive 40-point effort for the Hawks, Trae Young's ejection in the third quarter added to their challenges in the game. Jokic commented on the win, stating, “A win is a win, and that's the most important thing…we got the stops when we needed it.”


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