The New Orleans Pelicans bested the Memphis Grizzlies in both teams’ season opener by a final score of 111-104. And as we discussed in our post-game reaction, Zion Williamson had an uneven outing in his first regular season game since January 2, 2023.
The Grizzlies have historically been a tough matchup for Williamson. In his two games against them last season, Williamson was held to 17 PPG on 51.1% True Shooting. This trend continued for the first three quarters of Wednesday’s game, as Williamson was held to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting from the floor.
However, in the fourth quarter, Williamson finally broke through, scoring 12 points on a highly efficient 5-for-7 shooting from the floor. His outburst saved what was shaping up to be a pretty underwhelming 2023-24 debut for the two-time All-Star. But there was something odd about the timing of the 12 points scored.
Williamson scored all 12 of those points after the Pelicans overall total had reached 99. That means that Williamson scored the last 12 points of the game for the Pelicans. That output puts him in pretty rarified air in New Orleans history.
In fact, based on the tweet above, the only players in franchise history to score more of the team’s final points are Jamal Mashburn (13 in 2004) and, of course, Williamson himself (14 in 2022). Crazy enough, he scored the team’s final 14 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 28, 2022 – just five days before he suffered the strained hamstring that would keep him out for the rest of the season.
The only other player in franchise history to score 12 or more of New Orleans’ final points twice is Mashburn. The other names that appeared on this list are Brandon Ingram (Williamson’s current teammate), DeMarcus Cousins, and David West.
The reason we say you probably didn’t know about this statistic is because, when you watch this game, it doesn’t really jump out at you that he scored the team’s final 12 points. This all went down in the last six minutes of the game, and the outcome was largely already decided at that point in the game. It all kind of happened in the background.
Regardless of the circumstance, it was a great way to end the game for the still semi-rusty Williamson. And hopefully, it means that he will be back to his usual domination very, very soon.