Zion Remains Sizzling To Start NBA Preseason

Utah Jazz v New Orleans Pelicans

Preseason numbers often mean almost nothing. Rotations are unusual, starters rarely play much, and few if any teams are putting a premium on winning games.

As such, it's tough to glean much from exhibition stats.

But what the Boston Celtics and New Orleans rookie Zion Williamson - the No. 1 pick in this year's draft - have been doing so far in the preseason certainly stands out.

The Celtics are 3-0 after beating Cleveland on Sunday - and have put together a huge run in all three of those games. The latest was a 50-17 spurt against the Cavaliers, a game that was close for most of the first quarter before Boston built what eventually became a 54-point lead.

Boston's other big runs of note in this preseason were a 41-17 stretch last Sunday against Charlotte, and opening the game with a 29-4 burst at Orlando on Friday. On top of the 50-17 run against the Cavs, they added a 26-8 run in the fourth quarter as well.

No matter who the Celtics have on the court, defense has been the constant. Boston is holding opponents to 36.5% shooting through the first three exhibitions, 25.7% from 3-point range.

''That's a tied-together group on that end of the court,'' Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

And while 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall has quickly become a fan favorite in Boston - yes, Stevens is aware of the chants where fans are clamoring for him to play more - the numbers are worth noting as well.

''Everyone is flying under the radar,'' Stevens said Sunday. ''Except Tacko.''

When it comes to New Orleans, Williamson isn't flying under anything.

Flying over things is more like it.

The Pelicans are 4-0 in the preseason after winning in San Antonio on Sunday, with Williamson finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds. He's shot 29 for 36 from the floor in his last three games, and is averaging 23.3 points and 6.5 rebounds on 71% shooting - all in about 27 minutes per game.

PELICANS 123, SPURS 114

Williamson's 22 points led seven New Orleans players in double figures on the way to beating San Antonio.

Jrue Holiday scored 16 for the Pelicans, who overcame a 17-point deficit.

Bryn Forbes scored 18 and DeMar DeRozan added 16 for the Spurs, who held out LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Gay. The Pelicans gave J.J. Redick the day off for rest.

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