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Postgame wrap: Pelicans 123, Celtics 108

In just the third game of his NBA career, Zion Williamson’s minutes continued to climb, but it was how the Pelicans performed when he wasn’t on the court that contributed greatly to making him a winner for the first time.

In two previous losses to San Antonio and Denver, New Orleans did just fine when Williamson was on the court, but the Pelicans were outscored by a combined 30 points as the No. 1 draft pick rested. On Sunday, New Orleans was plus-13 in non-Williamson minutes, giving the hosts enough of a cushion to win comfortably over a Boston club that had won three straight games.

Williamson’s minutes have been watched closely – not just by the Pelicans, but by pretty much everyone – so Sunday was another positive step forward, with the Duke standout logging 27 minutes. The bump from 21 in the previous game also allowed New Orleans to put Williamson back in the game during the final few minutes, when the Pelicans sealed a much-needed victory to cap a difficult three-game homestand.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…

Lonzo Ball grabbed a defensive rebound and adeptly saved it back inbounds, giving New Orleans possession with two-plus minutes remaining and an 11-point lead at 117-106. Williamson iced it with a dunk along the baseline for an and-one opportunity at 1:54. Brad Stevens subbed in his deep reserves soon after Williamson’s resounding slam.

PELICANS PLAYER OF THE GAME

Jrue Holiday had rough shooting games vs. the Spurs and Nuggets to begin this homestand, but before and after that, he notched big scoring performances against the Grizzlies and Celtics. Holiday’s three-point basket with roughly four minutes left Sunday put New Orleans in optimum position to prevail with a 14-point lead, part of his 25-point game. In addition to Holiday’s quality night, fellow backcourt starter Ball was stellar in directing the attack, handing out 15 assists, to go with eight points and six rebounds.

#WEEKLYREVIEW

Zion Williamson became the fifth different player to be voted Pelicans Player of the Week by fans on Twitter this season, as well as the fourth in just the past five weeks. The rookie’s minute allotment was kept modest as he methodically gets closer to normal usage, but that didn’t stop the No. 1 overall draft pick from impressive production, averaging 18.7 points and 8.0 rebounds, on 67 percent shooting from the field. He earned roughly two-thirds of votes for Week 14, at 66 percent. Lonzo Ball was next at 18 percent.

Previous winners

Week 1-3: Brandon Ingram

Week 4: Jrue Holiday

Week 5-9: Brandon Ingram

Week 10: Derrick Favors

Week 11-12: Lonzo Ball

Week 13: Brandon Ingram