New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for overtime loss vs. Knicks

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

It wasn’t quite the Fight of the Century, but there was a heavyweight clash to remember at Madison Square Garden between Zion Williamson and Julius Randle.

The two all-stars went head-to-head in a memorable matchup that ended with the New York Knicks beating the New Orleans Pelicans 112-122 in overtime. This was the Pelicans’ second overtime in as many games, both ending in defeats. New Orleans is 1-4 this season in games that extend past the fourth quarter.

It seemed like Pelicans fans were in store for another bipolar performance from their team as New Orleans trailed by double digits at the break. But then, the rarely seen occurred. Eric Bledsoe went on a one-man rampage to bring the Pelicans back into the game and the contest was subsequently close until the final whistle.

Related Story. Grades for previous loss vs. Knicks. light

In the end, after an overtime period that felt eternal because of free throws and referee stoppages, the Knicks beat the Pelicans for the second time in four days. This was a tough loss for Stan Van Gundy’s team, as the chance to make a play-in tournament push continues to slip further away.

The Pelicans are now three games behind the 9th- and 10th-placed Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, respectively. New Orleans’ next few games aren’t pick-me-ups either, with clashes against the Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, and a particularly crucial one against the Spurs on the horizon.

Here are the player grades for the Pels’ overtime loss against the Knicks, starting with my personal MVP:

New Orleans Pelicans vs. New York Knicks: Grading the best player

A-. . Big. New Orleans Pelicans. ZION WILLIAMSON

Zion Williamson promptly bounced back after the worst game of his NBA career against the Washington Wizards.

Williamson had a slightly iffy start but quickly looked like he was at his best once again. He was dominant for the Pels all night on offense despite the negative spacing that he often has to operate with.

The Pels’ all-star finished with 34 points, nine rebounds, and five assists in his first game at Madison Square Garden. He probably could’ve had even more points if he went to the free throw line more, but still made sure to leave a highlight or two behind.

Doris Burke on ESPN commented multiple times that Williamson appeared concerned with the officiating, but how long can he contain his frustration? New Orleans’ franchise player gets clobbered time after time in the paint, but has no choice but to play through it because his physicality is just so otherworldly.

I expect to see Williamson drop more memorable games in the future at MSG, but this was a good start. He will hope that the next one is a win, however.