I can’t say I’m a big fan of the NBA. If I were to guess the last time I’ve watched an entire NBA game it probably starred the incomparable Michael Jordan. If I mention it on Twitter I’m most likely making a joke about it. However, things change and I’ve watched at least a bit of the last three New Orleans Pelicans games because of, you guessed it, Zion Williamson. New Orleans has had to wait for their new superstar’s first game but, from the early reviews, it looks like they’ll have a great show to watch.
Williamson made his career debut 45 games into the season in a 121-117 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. After having waited over a half-season for “Zion Time” the fans would have to wait over half the game for their Zion highlights. Coach Alvin Gentry was only playing Zion in four minute bursts and it wasn’t until the second half before Zion’s game got going. In a three-minute flurry Zion dazzled the Smoothie King Center crowd and the entire league alike.
Zion drained four three-pointers and had a couple of put backs on a night that saw him go for 22 points and seven rebounds. His one-man show brought the Pelicans back from a double-digit deficit to a brief lead.
In his next game, a 113-106 loss to the Denver Nuggets (funny name), Williamson was once again limited in playing time but, when he was in the game, delivered maximum dividends. In 21 minutes, he scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds.
It was a great first week for Zion and the Pelicans but one with more losses than wins. There’s still a lot of work to be done. Adding a potential superstar doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll add wins. The team seems to be out of whack on offense. Ever since Zion’s debut, Brandon Ingram’s game has been missing which is brutal considering he’s a 25-points-a-game player. Against Denver, Jrue Holiday couldn’t hit the side of a barn and the team would only go 18-of-30 from the free throw line. Turnovers, which have been a problem all season, continue to haunt.
On the flip side, this team seems to be just that — a team. Whereas it seemed like the previous version of the Pelicans was just Anthony Davis and then everybody else, this team seems to be a unit. I always felt that Davis was a lukewarm leader and just possibly his exit helped the Pelicans left behind to bond and welcome the castaway Lakers.
The team is 4.5 games out of the eighth spot in the Western conference with 34 games to go. They need to start stringing together some victories if they want to have a shot at the playoffs. If they can get there, with Zion at full strength and getting max playing time, things could get really interesting really quick. Should be a good show.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every game should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Dixie Brewery – FINALLY being brewed in Louisiana again.
Playlist Recommendation: Prince – “Joy In Repetition”
Around the Way
It’s all about baby steps when it comes to Tulane men’s basketball. After a big upset victory over Cincinnati the team has gone 1-4 and hasn’t been close in their last three games. With that said, the team is 10-9 on the year and Coach Ron Hunter has injected the program with some real spice. There is still a lot of work to be done but it has been a nice turnaround so far. Tulane returns to Devlin this Wednesday to take on South Florida.