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Williamson scores 33, powers Pelicans past Raptors 126-108

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Zion Williamson had 33 points, four steals and two blocks, and Trey Murphy added six 3-pointers and 26 points as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Toronto Raptors 126-108 on Wednesday night.

The Pelicans shot 52.3% from the floor on 45-of-86 shooting, had 28 assists and led by as many as 31 points midway through the third quarter before Toronto rallied, cutting the deficit to 113-102 with 5:30 left.

But Williamson, who also had 10 rebounds, iced the game by igniting a 6-0 run. He blocked a Pascal Siakam layup attempt at one end and finished with a dunk at the other. He then had steals on Toronto’s next two possessions, helping push New Orleans’ lead to 121-102 with 3:24 left.

Four other Pelicans scored in double figures: Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and 13 rebounds, rookie Dyson Daniels added 14 points and nine assists, Herb Jones had 12 points and Larry Nance Jr. 10.

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Toronto was led by Gary Trent Jr., who scored 35 points, and Pascal Siakam with 23.

Williamson scored nine of the Pelicans’ first 14 points and was nearly unstoppable in the first half, scoring 17 points and dishing out four assists as the Pelicans raced to a 74-47 halftime lead. It was the Pelicans’ highest-scoring half of the season.

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In shooting 63% in the first half, the Pelicans had 19 assists on 28 made field goals. Rookie Dyson Daniels contributed eight points and five assists in 11 minutes.

Siakam scored the first nine points for Toronto, but the Raptors hurt themselves with 10 turnovers in the first half.

TIP-INS

Raptors: G Fred VanVleet picked up his second technical foul and went to the locker room just 41 seconds into the second half. … Coach Nick Nurse said Pascal Siakam’s 10-game absence, during which Toronto went 5-5, helped the Raptors not be “so heavily reliant” on his 24.1 ppg scoring. “He’s obviously our go-to guy and best decision-maker, but it still doesn’t mean that we can’t work in some of the other things. … I’m just hoping we can stay healthy here for a little while.”

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Pelicans: F Brandon Ingram (left toe), G CJ McCollum (reconditioning) and F Naji Marshall (non-COVID illness) missed the game. … F Herb Jones twisted his left ankle and left midway through the third quarter. … F Larry Nance Jr. returned from a sore right shoulder. … Coach Willie Green likes to break down the season into 10-game increments. The Pels went 5-5 in the first 10 and 7-3 in the second 10. “It’s our way of not trying to get too far ahead of ourselves and just focus on what maybe one or two things we can do offensively and defensively to improve.”

UP NEXT

Raptors: Host San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

Pelicans: At San Antonio on Friday before returning for four straight at home.

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AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports