Williamson scores 35 again, Pelicans top Suns 129-124 in OT

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket against Phoenix Suns...
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket against Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig (0) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Published: Dec. 11, 2022 at 6:05 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 12, 2022 at 7:15 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Zion Williamson scored 35 points and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the short-handed Phoenix Suns 129-124 in overtime Sunday for their seventh straight victory.

CJ McCollum added 29 for the Pelicans, who beat the Suns — playing without star guard Devin Booker because of tightness in his left hamstring — for the second time in three days and won for the 12th time in their last 14 games as they’ve surged to the Western Conference lead.

Deandre Ayton had 28 points and 12 rebounds for Phoenix, but fouled out on Williamson’s drive with New Orleans clinging to a two-point lead in the final minute of regulation.

Williamson and Naji Marshall each made just one of two free throws in the final 36 seconds of the fourth quarter, allowing Chris Paul to tie it with a pull-up jumper with 2.8 seconds to go.

The game went to overtime after Williamson’s mid-range jumper rimmed out at the horn, but Paul joined Ayton on the bench after fouling out with 2:52 to go in the extra period after he initially appeared to have drawn a foul on a missed 3-pointer. The Pelicans challenged the call, however, and on video review officials decided Paul kicked out his right leg into Williamson.

The Pelicans then scored six straight on McCollum’s step-back jumper, Marshall’s late-shot-clock finger roll and McCollum’s floater off the glass to take the lead for good and send the Suns to a fifth loss in six games.

Marshall finished with 16 points and fellow reserve Larry Nance Jr. had 15 points, four steals and two late blocks for New Orleans. Williamson tied his season high in points after also scoring 35 Friday night in the first of two consecutive home games against Phoenix.

Mikal Bridges scored 27 for Phoenix. Cameron Payne had 17 and Paul assisted on 11 baskets.

New Orleans used a 27-9 run — during which Williamson and McCollum each scored seven — to open a 90-75 lead in the third quarter.

But the Suns cut it to 98-93 by the end of the period, with Payne hitting a 3, a layup and two free throws during an 18-8 spurt.

New Orleans maintained a narrow lead for most of the fourth quarter until Torrey Craig, who scored 14, hit a 3 to tie it at 111 with 2:48 to go.

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