Zion one game away from tying Shaq record
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson drives to the basket while defended by Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap. Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Zion Williamson is on a tear of late, and the New Orleans Pelicans superstar’s recent run of 20-point games has placed in some rarefied air. He is within one game of tying a record held by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Williamson led the Pelicans to a 115-109 victory over the Boston Celtics Monday night at TD Garden with a solid overall performance. In the win, Williamson posted 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting while adding eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. The scoring output marked the 24th consecutive game in which Williamson has put up 20-plus points while shooting 50% or better from the field.

Should Williamson do it again in Thursday’s game against the Orlando Magic, he will tie Shaq’s remarkable record, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info.

Interestingly enough, Williamson just recently elicited comparisons to O’Neal from Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. Following New Orleans’ win over the Mavs on Saturday in a game in which Williamson put up 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting and added six rebounds and five assists, Carlisle hailed Williamson’s unique blend of skills, size and talent.

“He’s an unusual force and obviously a great player … it presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials,” Carlisle said of Williamson. “He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”

Along with coming close to tying Shaq’s record as noted above, Williamson also became the first player since O’Neal in 1995-96 to have four straight games of scoring at least 25 points on over 65% shooting in Saturday’s win.

Williamson obviously is enjoying an outstanding season (26.4 points on 62.4% shooting, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists), but his play in March has taken things to another level. Across 13 games, Williamson is averaging 28.7 points while shooting at torrid 64.5% clip from the field. To say Williamson is realizing his abundant potential would be an understatement.

Possessing a rare combination of size, strength, agility and the ability to do things on the court someone his size should be incapable of accomplishing, the 6-foot-7, 284-pound Williamson is without question a force to be reckoned with as he continues to learn how to play at the NBA level in his second season.

This article first appeared on Sportress of Blogitude and was syndicated with permission.

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