Zion Williamson scores 32 as Pelicans manhandle Spurs

Zion Williamson piled up a season-high 32 points and took 11 rebounds to help the visiting New Orleans Pelicans to an easy 129-110 win over the sinking San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

The Pelicans manhandled San Antonio with Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas (22 points, 10 rebounds) dominating the paint and Devonte’ Graham bombing away from outside with six 3-pointers. Williamson’s 28 points in the paint tied for the most in a game in the NBA this season; he was 14 of 18 from the floor and added four free throws.

Graham finished with 21 points, while Brandon Ingram added 17 points, 15 in the third quarter, and 10 assist.

New Orleans, which played without CJ McCollum because of a non-COVID illness, has won five of its past six games.

Devin Vassell led San Antonio with 26 points, with Doug McDermott adding 21, Jeremy Sochan 12 and Keita Bates-Diop 10. Jakob Poeltl pulled down 14 rebounds for the Spurs, who have dropped six straight games and 11 of their past 12.

The Pelicans scored the first nine points of the game and never trailed, leading by as many as 15 points in a bustling first quarter. Valanciunas led the way with 10 points in the period, with Williamson racking up eight as New Orleans settled for a 29-19 going into the second quarter.

San Antonio kept swinging but had no answer for the Pelicans, as the Spurs couldn’t cut into their deficit. Valanciunas had seven of New Orleans’ nine points in a stretch midway through the second quarter in which it built a 47-27 lead at the 6:04 mark.

Williamson hit the Pelicans’ final two baskets to produce a 66-47 lead for the visitors at the break.

Graham led all scorers with 18 points by halftime, with Valanciunas and Williamson scoring 17 each; those three players combined to outscore the entire Spurs team by five points.

Vassell had 14 pace the Spurs and McDermott had 13 at the half for San Antonio.