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NBA -- Zion sizzles at the United Center


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- Rookie sensation Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans told reporters that he was in awe playing in the house Michael Jordan built.

"I wondered what it was like when Jordan was playing here. Six Finals, 6-0, That had to be special," said the 6-foot-7, 284-pound power forward who has taken the NBA by storm since leaving Duke University for the NBA last summer.

The jury is still out whether Williamson can match Jordan's number of championships won, but there is no doubt about his star power.

In a season where attendance has dropped at the United Center, the arena drew a crowd of 20,917 for the Pelicans' lone annual visit, just 13 percent short of capacity. And there was visceral excitement when the 19-year old kid was on the floor.

As the spotlight shined brightly, Williamson, like the great always ones do, came through. He shot 9-of-11 from the field and scored 21 points to lead the Pelicans over the Bulls, 125-119, on Thursday night (Friday morning RP time). He also had four rebounds and played only 25 minutes as he continues to be under a minutes restriction following arthroscopic knee surgery that sidelined him for an extended period of time.

The Pelicans converted a high 56.3 percent of their shots (49-of-87) while drilling 16 of 38 from beyond the 3-point arc (42.1 percent).

With a 21-31 won-lost record New Orleans still has a puncher's chance of making the playoffs in the Western Conference. They trail the eighth place Memphis Grizzlies (26-25) by 5.5 games with still 30 games to go in their 82-game schedule.

The Bulls, got 22 points from Zach LaVine, but it wasn't enough to extend their losing streak to four.

"What we're lacking is kind of an energy and spirit about our team, and we need to get that back," head coach Jim Boylen said after his team dropped to a 19-34 slate.



Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ricardo Carbajal.


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