NBA: Zion Williamson's big night carries Pelicans past 76ers

(REUTERS) – Zion Williamson had 37 points and a career-high 15 rebounds as the hosts New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 101-94 on Friday (April 9) night.

Williamson tied a career high with eight assists and made 15 of a career-high 28 field-goal attempts.

The big night came one game after his record streak of 25 consecutive games with at least 20 points on 50 per cent or better shooting, which he shared with Shaquille O’Neal, ended in a loss at Brooklyn.

Brandon Ingram returned from a five-game absence caused by a foot injury and scored 17, though he made just 5 of 21 shots.

Willy Hernangomez had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Jaxson Hayes scored 12 points.

Tobias Harris led the Sixers with 23 points, Joel Embiid had 14 (less than half of his 29.9 average) on five-of-16 shooting, Furkan Korkmaz scored 12 and Ben Simmons 10.

Simmons also had nine rebounds, six assists and five steals.

The score was tied at half-time and two more times early in the third quarter before Ingram, who was two for 12 from the floor in the first half, made a three-pointer to give New Orleans a 62-59 lead.

Steven Adams added two baskets as the Pelicans increased the lead to 68-61.

New Orleans pushed the lead to as many as nine points before finishing the quarter with a 76-68 lead.

Williamson scored the first six points of the fourth quarter before Korkmaz answered with a three-pointer.

Hernangomez scored off a Williamson assist, and Williamson added two free throws to give the Pelicans an 86-71 lead.

Philadelphia chipped away at the lead and got within 94-87 with four minutes remaining.

Williamson responded with consecutive baskets for a 98-87 lead before the Sixers scored the next five points.

But Williamson split the defence for a dunk and a 100-92 lead with 1:08 left.

Five of the Pelicans’ 10 baskets in the first quarter came on dunks and they had a 23-22 lead at the end of the period.

There were seven lead changes in the second quarter, which ended in the sixth tie of the period at 50-all.

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