Zion Williamson had 21 points and 12 rebounds in his return, and the New Orleans Pelicans pulled away in the second half of a 112-91 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
CJ McCollum added 22 points for the Pelicans, who’ve won four of their first six games. Williamson was out the last two games because of a right hip and lower back contusion, one of three starters to have missed the last two games.
Norman Powell had 18 points off the bench for the Clippers. Paul George added 14 points and Marcus Morris Sr. had 12 in his return to play after missing two games because of a death in the family. With Kawhi Leonard sidelined for the fourth consecutive game because of tightness in his surgically repaired right knee, the Clippers dropped their fourth in a row.
Williamson and McCollum combined to score 10 straight to open the third, giving New Orleans a 62-54 lead.
Reggie Jackson scored seven in a row to draw the Clippers within one before the Pelicans got going again. Larry Nance Jr. made a three-pointer and Williamson followed with a dunk. Williamson closed the quarter by completing a three-point play that sent the Pelicans into the fourth leading 78-67.
The Pelicans have been a force in the paint through their first six games, ranking second in the league by averaging 56 per game. They had that many against the Clippers.
The Pelicans were 15-of-36 shooting from three-point range, making five in the fourth. The Clippers were just 11 of 39 from long distance.
Trailing by 11 points, the Pelicans outscored the Clippers 17-9 to close the second quarter and pull into a 52-all tie at halftime.
When: 7:30 p.m. Monday
On the air: TV: Bally Sports SoCal; Radio: 570, 1330