NBA regular season

Zion Williamson leads Pelicans’ balanced attack over Giannis, Bucks


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Zion Williamson leads Pelicans’ balanced attack over Giannis, Bucks

ZION RISING. Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) looks to pass the ball against New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) and guard Trey Murphy III (25) during the second half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con

Zion Williamson leads four other New Orleans Pelicans starters in double-digit scoring in a 7-point win over Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks

Zion Williamson scored 28 points, CJ McCollum added 25 and the host New Orleans Pelicans held off the Milwaukee Bucks 107-100 on Thursday night (Friday, March 29, Manila time).

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Trey Murphy III had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Herbert Jones scored 11 for the Pelicans (45-28).

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points and 14 rebounds and Malik Beasley and Damian Lillard scored 20 each to lead the Bucks (46-27).

Beasley made a 3-pointer to pull the Bucks within 66-53 with 8:29 left in the third quarter before Antetokounmpo took over. He scored Milwaukee’s final 20 points of the quarter, but the Bucks reduced the lead by just one point as four different Pelicans combined for 19 points.

Milwaukee got as close as three points late in the third, but Murphy answered with consecutive 3-pointers and Larry Nance Jr. added one of his own. Those two combined for the final five points of the period, leaving New Orleans with an 85-73 lead entering the fourth quarter.

Valanciunas made a field goal for the first points of the fourth quarter, but Jae Crowder answered with a 3-pointer and Milwaukee scored four more points to get within 87-80.

Consecutive baskets by Valanciunas and Williamson gave New Orleans a 91-80 lead midway through the period. The Bucks got within five points, but Williamson made three free throws for an eight-point lead with 1:55 left.

The score was tied five times and the lead changed hands eight times during the first quarter. The final change came on a layup by Nance that gave New Orleans a 26-25 edge at the end of the period.

Valanciunas scored six points and the Pelicans started the second quarter with a 10-2 run that produced a nine-point lead.

Jones had five points during an 8-0 run that increased the Pelicans’ lead to 46-32. Khris Middleton made a field goal to stop the run before McCollum’s three-point play helped New Orleans take a 61-45 halftime lead. –

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