Pelicans’ Zion Williamson reincarnates as Hakeem Olajuwon in loss to Luka Doncic, Mavs
New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson achieved a feat that no other player, aside from Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon, has done in more than 25 seasons. Last year’s no. 1 overall pick had a spotless 14-of-14 night in the paint against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Williamson just came short of one more made field goal in the paint to tie Hakeem the Dream’s 15-of-15 night from back in 1998.
Zion Williamson went 14-14 in the paint tonight.
The only player with more makes without a miss in the paint in a game over the last 25 seasons is Hakeem Olajuwon (15) in 1998. pic.twitter.com/PNXI8t6Np8
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 13, 2021
Hakeem Olajuwon accomplished the feat on March 19, 1998 in a 105-96 win over the Boston Celtics. He finished that game with 33 points on 15-of-20 shooting, with his five misses coming from the mid-range just outside the paint.
Williamson has been a beast inside the paint this season, with nearly 72 percent of his shots coming from within three feet, per Basketball Reference. The former Duke star is also making his inside looks count for the Pelicans, converting at 68.2 percent on the season so far.
Zion had a monster evening on Friday, dropping 36 points in the Pelicans’ 143-130 loss to the Mavericks. Overall, he went 14-of-15 from the field, with his lone miss coming from beyond the 3-point arc. He also made 8-of-11 from the charity stripe to go along with two rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
Meanwhile, Williamson’s strong evening did not get much of the headlines with Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic erupting for 46 points, to go along with eight rebounds and 12 assists to lead Dallas to the win in the high-scoring affair. Doncic torched the Pelicans, going 17-of-30 from the field, making five 3-pointers, while converting 7-of-9 from the foul line. The Mavs also had a stellar outing from Kristaps Porzingis, who finished with 36 points himself.
Zion Williamson and the Pelicans will look to get back in the win column when they take on the Detroit Piston on the road on Feb. 15.