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Home / Sport / The Pelicans withstood Zion Williamson’s momentary limit during the crunch, and it cost them a win

The Pelicans withstood Zion Williamson’s momentary limit during the crunch, and it cost them a win



Let’s not exaggerate. There is no offensive crime, grotesque coaching incompetence or glaring bout, a worthy argument for the New Orleans Pelicans coughing up their NBA restarts against the Utah Jazz.

But giving up playing in Zion Williamson for most of the fourth quarter, which turned into a 106-104 loss, was still a crucial mistake. Minutes are penalized. If you introduce an octagonal bubble, which is double for New Orleans, as a kind of postseason, and then justify your chance to win even in one of these games, it’s not.

If you’re going to risk the health of the players and the potential infection of the virus that closed most of 2020 ̵

1; which is the reality behind the beauty of basketball’s return – you’re playing to win.

You do not sit in Zion. Not in the fourth quarter. Not as a four-point turn turns into a fight with a dog and, ultimately, a heartbeat.

Sitting Zion Williamson on Thursday night was wrong, potentially expensive and could not be repeated in the remaining seven games.

You know the details. Zion was sharp and impressive in its limited action in Orlando, scoring 13 points and a great back run, in just 15 minutes of action. But pelicans have always been more than just Zionist statistics.

When he is on the floor, there is a sense of blur and confidence, as Zion’s presence brings this organization noticeably closer to what they can just stand down.

Brandon Ingram, who has become a “Star” in “Big Lung”, has a chance to be really great.

Lonzo Ball, released from the game playing with LeBron James and the glamor and pressure of Los Angeles and the Lakers, has become a veritable general word. JJ Reddick remains a key veteran and shooter. Josh Hart flipped over. Jrue Holiday can be the third best player in a great team.

But this team is made for Zion and around him, and in close games that matter – for example, on Thursday night – he needs to play. In organizations that face great opportunities and chances of success, no matter how unlikely or limited, there is a choice to sit with a star.

Caution is wonderful. Surrender or disapproval of success – no.

The stakes may not be the same, but the states of Washington did the same in 2012, when they refused to play Stephen Strasbourg this season. Yes, he missed 2011 after Tommy John’s surgery. He also went 15-6 before reaching the playoffs for a 3.16 ERA and 197 shots in 159 innings.

Citizens lost to the NLDS, but the real setback was that it told a promising team the message that a guy who could help and become a key would not get that chance. This is self-evident. This is excessive. And this is wrong.

The consequences were certainly less significant on Thursday night, but the effect was felt. No, if New Orleans are somehow vying for a G9 spot, beating the Grizzlies twice, they’re not going to beat the Lakers in seven games and go to championship glory.

But this is not the goal. Through the games and critical experience of the last four months, the growth of a promising young team and the lessons at work, Zion can learn about the post-season by actually playing them – these are the goals. And they are priceless.

Achieving this ninth place and tasting this sense of success is an integral element. Playing – and just beating – Memphis twice to earn a place in seven game series is a stepping stone climb to eventually become a champion. Even if you are owned by the Lakers, sweeping or otherwise, you teach the lessons and leave the feeling of failure and hunger that you want the young team to know about.

But you have to win games to get there. Especially when there are only eight of them, and a perfectly healthy team from Portland – plus Phoenix and Sacramento – compete for the same thing.

So do your best to protect Zion Williamson from playing 38 minutes after this return. But also protect him from overwhelming stupidity by not letting him finish this game, even if for the last four to five minutes.

If he could play – and he could – he would have to be there until the end. Everything else is a waste of time and talent, and those who decided to enter the bubble, despite the associated risks and difficulties.

They came to win. Next time, let.




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