NEW ORLEANS – After a difficult loss on Monday night to the Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson said he had received a message from his point defender Lonzo Ball.
The ball came out of 3 out of 18 shooting performance in a game that influenced New Orleans to play. It was one of the worst shooting nights in his NBA career.
Williamson said Ball told him: “I̵7;ll be there tomorrow”.
“That’s a big statement,” Williamson said.
Ball responded to his night by tying up his career with 33 points, hitting an 18-foot step-back jumper clutch to put New Orleans forward with 25.3 seconds in. Playing and falling four free throws thereafter to lift the Pelicans for a 108-103 victory over the Warriors on Tuesday night.
It was the second of three games the ball scored the highest of his career. He marked Saturday’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. But during those two 33-point attempts it was during tonight’s shooting, something that troubled him after the final buzzer sounded.
“I just knew I had let the team down and I wouldn’t have done that two nights in a row,” Ball said about a text message to Williamson. “I know the type of player I am and I believe in myself. I know I will never shoot 3 out of 18 any more. I just want to let Z know that I will be there with him tonight.
“I know what I can do in the court and I haven’t stepped up to the last game, I want to be there for them tonight, especially Zion, he goes out every night, basically getting 30 and 10 for us for I have the kind of work I had yesterday, which is quite unacceptable, especially at this time of the year.
The ball had 11 points and fell three of his four times 3 points in the first quarter. He also finished strong with 12 points in the fourth quarter, the third-most he has ever had in the final, according to ESPN’s research, statistics and data.
All 12 points in his 4th quarter came in the final 3:18, he hit a pair of 3 pointers to tie the game – at 95 with 3:18 left and at 98 with 2:13 before hitting the reverse jumper. To lead He added four free throws at the end of the year to improve his season percentage to 80.0%, a big step forward for the man who shot 41.7% from there two seasons ago while at Los Angeles. Slakers
“He went up there with a lot of confidence and fell free throws,” said Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy. “He’s working on that, and when you work on that and do it well, you have a lot of confidence.”
Williamson said he was “very respectful” for the ball that sent the message and came out and backed up his play on Tuesday.
“I’m glad he’s my teammate,” Williamson said. “You love having teammates like that who can say that and come on the next day and show it off, he just wants to win, that’s what I love about Lonzo, he just wants to win and he. Will do whatever it takes to win. “
After Ball put up two rounds of the Pelicans, Williamson came up with one of the biggest dramas of the night, Stephen Curry’s 3-point effort in response to Ball’s shot was off-target and the Warriors defended. Mychal Mulder comes with a rebound. But Williamson brushed it off and stole it around the center-court logo and dribbled into a foul, Draymond Green, which was a clear path as the ball was snapping on the other side of the pitch. field
Williamson knocked out his two free throws and the ball later hit him too to stretch the lead to six with 14.6 seconds remaining.
“The ball was loose, that was basketball winning,” said Van Gundy. “That’s what we talked about today in the last seven games since tonight. We want to focus on basketball. The winning ball, we talked about taking care of the ball tonight, with only 12 turnovers, we talked about the defensive commitment we talked about. A much better comeback tonight. We don’t need to play beautiful basketball, but we played a lot more than last night.
Some of the winning play took place without help from Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram, who suffered a sprained left ankle just before halftime. Ingram played until the 4:39 mark of the third quarter before exiting for good.
Van Gundy said Ingram’s ankle x-rays were negative but no further updates were available.
This win kept the Pelicans alive in the hunt for a play-in tournament in the Western Conference. New Orleans improved to 30-36 and were two games behind the San Antonio Spurs (31-33) .San Antonio owned a tie-break over the Pelicans after winning a 2-1 season series.
Both teams have a difficult path the rest of the way. New Orleans has a five-game road trip starting Friday with the 76ers before facing Charlotte, Memphis, Dallas and Golden State. The Pelicans finished May 16 with the Lakers in the final home game of the season.
San Antonio has the toughest schedule with road games against Utah, Sacramento and Portland ahead of one home game against Milwaukee, followed by two road games against Brooklyn and New York. Spurs ended the season by returning home to the Phoenix Suns, who could still compete for the lead in the West.