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Zion Williamson leads charge as Pelicans down Wolves

Dec 28, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) fouls New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) as he goes to the basket during the first half at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson scored 14 of his career-high 43 points in the fourth quarter as the host New Orleans Pelicans came from behind to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-118 on Wednesday night.

The Timberwolves led by five points before Williamson made a 3-pointer and another basket to tie the score with 1:49 left.

Minnesota’s Jaylen Nowell broke the tie with a jumper, but Williamson answered with a layup.

The Wolves’ Jaden McDaniels made two free throws, but Williamson had a layup and a steal and a dunk to give New Orleans a 118-116 lead with 39.1 seconds left.

Anthony Edwards tied it with a dunk before Williamson was fouled and made one of two free throws to give the Pelicans a 119-118 lead with four seconds left. Edwards missed a baseline jumper as time expired.

Williamson made 14 of 21 field goals and 14 of 19 free throws in his return from a three-game absence due to health and safety protocol. Trey Murphy III added 21 points, CJ McCollum scored 20, Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Naji Marshall scored 12 points as New Orleans won its fourth straight.

Edwards and D’Angelo Russell each scored 27 points, McDaniels added 19, Nowell scored 14, Naz Reid had 13 and Rudy Gobert 10 before fouling out as Minnesota lost its fourth straight.

The Pelicans trailed 55-49 at halftime, but closed within one point on Marshall’s three-point play early in the third quarter.

Russell scored 13 points in the third as the Wolves expanded the lead to 81-71.

New Orleans closed within four on Murphy’s 3-pointer before Minnesota twice increased the lead to seven.

Murphy made another 3-pointer to get the Pelicans within 88-86 at the end of the third quarter.

McCollum scored the first five points of the fourth quarter to give New Orleans a 91-88 lead.

The lead changed hands seven times before McDaniels scored on a drive and made a 3-pointer to give the Wolves a 104-100 lead midway through the quarter.

Then Williamson took over.

–Field Level Media