NBA: Zion Williamson carries New Orleans Pelicans to greatest game against Boston Celtics 2
Williamson is a force of nature and he embodies the strength and spirit of the team. Photo by Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY Sports/Reuters.

NBA: Zion Williamson carries New Orleans Pelicans to greatest game against Boston Celtics

Williamson spearheads last-quarter resurgence   
Gerald P. Grana | Feb 22 2021

Zion Wiliamson is the man of the hour after New Orleans unleashed the biggest comeback in the team’s history against the Boston Celtics. 

It was looking to be a Celtics blowout with a giant 24-point lead, with a masterful gameplay after three quarters. But the game ain’t over until the final buzzer sounded, and come fourth quarter, the New Orleans Pelicans went to work, slowly and methodically chipping away at the big lead. The effort was spearheaded by their main man, Williamson, along with stellar performances by Brandon Ingram and the rest of the Pelican bench. 

The result? The game went into overtime.

Even at overtime, the Celtics team seemed to always gain back its bearings and was able to fix everything—but it was too late. The Pelicans regained their confidence and made the needed defensive stops to win 120-115 in overtime.

Williamson singlehandedly led the New Orleans Pelicans to conquer that gigantic and seemingly insurmountable 24-point third quarter lead by the Celtics. The result was the biggest come-from-behind victory in New Orleans Pelicans franchise history, with Williamson working hard to make it happen, shooting 50% or better in 11 straight games. This was also the first time Williamson played 40 minutes.

You cannot deny the impact the guy has made for the team. He is currently averaging 30.4 points per game over his last 5 games. He hit 11-of-21 shots, 6-of-10 free throws, four assists, 10 rebounds, and a block in their win over the Boston Celtics.

He was playing quite poorly in the first three quarters with a great Boston Celtics defense covering him well and allowing him only 8 points in three quarters. But Williamson is such a great athlete he erupted in the final quarter with all guns blazing. He also took advantage of the obvious mismatches underneath the rim and got hist first double-double since third week of January this year.

Williamson had very strong support from his teammates, led by scrappy Ingram who is averaging 23.4 points over his last five games. Brandon hit 11-of-22 shots including 6-of-6 free throws for 33 points, three assists, six rebounds against the Celtics. Ingrams played a big role in the 24-point comeback; shot five 3-point shots and made all of his free throws which immensely contributed to the win.

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Another player from New Orleans that played very well was Lonzo Ball. He hit 5-of-11 shots, 3-of-6 3-pointers and 3-of-4 free throws for 16 points, four assists, six rebounds, and two steals over the Celtics.

Other Pelican players stepped up, too: Josh Hart, Eric Bledsoe, JJ Redick, Jaxson Hayes, just to name a few.

Boston Celtics had a great game, especially during the first three quarters, and a big portion of the fourth quarter. Forward Jayson Tatum scored 32 points and 9 rebounds while Jaylen Brown scored 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists. Kemba Walker scored 14 points and 4 assists, center Robert Williams had 8 points and chipped in 13 rebounds. So overall not bad, but during the critical moments in the fourth quarter, there was a series of miscommunications and defensive lapses that contributed to their loss. 

The Celtics even went to the zone defense in the last three minutes in an effort to clog the lanes on overtime. It almost worked, but the Pelicans played basketball with just too much heart they got the win.

With the Celtics leading 106-105, Williamson clearly wanting to win more, even making a move in regulation with 10.5 seconds left with a basket and one against the Celtic's Thompson. The Celtics' Tatum went for a high arc floater beyond anyone’s outstretched arms and it hit its mark right with just 0.2 seconds left that ultimately went into overtime.

Overall, Williamson is a force of nature and he embodies the strength and spirit of the team. Meanwhile, the Pelicans proved to all of us that nothing in sports is impossible. That at any given day, any NBA team can win over another if they work hard, and play their hearts out—apparently even against a great dynasty team like the Boston Celtics.