Zion Williamson had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans held off NBA leader Utah Jazz, 129-124.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Zion Williamson had 26 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and the New Orleans Pelicans withstood a late attack from Utah to beat NBA leader Jazz 129-124 Monday evening.
Brandon Ingram scored 26 points, Lonzo Ball added 23 and JJ Redick had 17, highlighted by a pair of 4-point 3-point games for foul play.
Bojan Bogdanovic hit seven 3s and finished with 31 points for Utah (27-8), which lost for the eighth time this season, but the second time in three games.
New Orleans led by a whopping 17 points in the second half and was still up 14 when Ball’s 3 scored 122-108 with 3:54 to go.
But Utah weakened steadily over the next three minutes, closing in to 125-124 on a 3-pointer by Royce O’Neale with 46.7 seconds left. Donovan Mitchell, who scored eight of his 21 points in the dying minutes to give the Jazz a chance, missed a float with a chance to put Utah back in the lead.
Rudy Gobert, who had 22 points, nine rebounds and five blocks, was penalized for a fumble trying to get the rebound and Williamson made two free throws to put New Orleans ahead of three.
Utah’s last chance to equalize went awry when New Orleans passed the perimeter shooters and Mike Conley was forced to attempt a double-clutch triple incline from the corner that missed the rim. Williamson led the rebound at Ball, who threw his final field assist to Josh Hart for a game-sealing dunk and blew up the socially distant crowd of just under 3,000 from their seat in all their voice.
The Pelicans entered the fourth quarter with an 11-point lead after beating Utah 40-24 in the third period. Williamson scored 15 points and added a pair of assists in the fourth.
His streak was marked by his conversion of the ball to three quarters of Ball, Williamson losing his balance to the left of the rim and placing it just before crashing to the baseline. Williamson also turned a three-point play into a strong push to the basket when he was fouled, and one of his assists came after he drew three defenders with an inside turn and threw the ball. to Redick for a 3.
Utah led most of the first half, and up to nine points, thanks in large part to their 11 3-pointers in the first 24 minutes.
Bogdanovic had five of his first seven shots from depth and had 19 points at halftime.
Ball scored 10 of his points in the second period, and his second 3 of the game reduced Utah’s lead to 64-59 at halftime.
Jazz: Jordan Clarkson scored 20 points in 27 minutes from the bench. … Conley finished with 10 points. … Utah had their second best quarterback of the season with 41 points … Utah shot 45.5% (46 of 101), including 17 of 43 at 3 points.
Pelicans: Hart scored 13 points to go with seven rebounds. … Eric Bledsoe scored 11 points. … New Orleans shot 56.5% (52 of 92), with 7 of 11 in the 3-point range. … The Pelicans dominated Utah 74-56 in painting.
SEE YOU NEXT TIME
Jazz: Visit Philadelphia Wednesday night to close a four-game tour.
Pelicans: Host Chicago on Wednesday in the second of three straight home games before the All-Star break.