Pelicans-Grizzlies to feature rare matchup of Williamson, Morant

By | November 25, 2022

Zion Williamson and Ja Morant had been the primary two gamers chosen within the 2019 NBA Draft. The New Orleans Pelicans eliminated Williamson from Duke, then the Memphis Grizzlies chosen Morant from Murray State.

The dynamic younger stars have solely performed 4 occasions in the identical NBA sport due to accidents, however each are anticipated to play when the surging Pelicans go to the plummeting Grizzlies on Friday evening.

Williamson, who missed a 113-102 house win over the Grizzlies on Nov. 15, returned with a bruised foot to play within the closing two video games. He had a season-high 32 factors with 11 rebounds in a 129-110 win at San Antonio on Wednesday.

“Zion was a monster from begin to end,” New Orleans coach Willie Inexperienced mentioned. “Driving the ball, giving it to teammates, benefiting from the gaps.”

The win, the Pelicans’ fifth in six video games, got here two nights after a 45-point loss to the shorthanded Golden State Warriors.

“It is laborious to win within the NBA, particularly coming into this constructing,” Inexperienced mentioned in San Antonio. “We have now to proceed to set the usual of who we wish to be and what we wish to obtain.”

New Orleans performed with out beginning guard CJ McCollum (non-COVID sickness) towards San Antonio, however Devonte’ Graham got here off the bench to attain 21 factors, making six 3-pointers, and heart Jonas Valanciunas added 22 factors and 10 rebounds .

“Our protection actually clicked,” Williamson mentioned.

Morant, who had 36 factors however solely 20 after the primary quarter loss to New Orleans, returned from a one-game absence with a sprained ankle when the Grizzlies misplaced to Sacramento 113-109 Tuesday night.

Morant scored 20 factors within the fourth quarter, together with a three-point play that introduced Memphis to 1 level with 5.3 seconds left.

After two Kings free throws, Morant had an opportunity to even the rating when he was fouled taking pictures a 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left. However he missed two of three free throws and the Grizzlies misplaced for the fourth time in 5 video games.

“I missed. Recreation over,” Morant mentioned. “It builds character. I have been there earlier than.

“We had open and missed seems, and so they turned them into factors. They turned our turnovers into factors. It created a gap, and we needed to struggle again late within the sport,” he added.

Desmond Bane stays sidelined with a sprained huge toe, however Jaren Jackson Jr. made his season debut in Recreation 1 towards the Pelicans after present process foot surgical procedure within the offseason.

The Pelicans have gained all 4 video games Williamson and Morant have each performed, the final being a 144-113 victory over New Orleans in Memphis on Feb. 16, 2021.

In video games the 2 performed, Williamson averaged 26.8 factors and 6 rebounds, and Morant averaged 17.8 factors and seven.0 assists.

In Williamson’s absence final sport, McCollum scored 30 factors to guide six Pelicans in double digits, and New Orleans made 18 3-pointers on 38 makes an attempt.

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