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Zion Williamson's 29 points helps Pelicans beat Bulls

By Alex Butler
Zion Williamson's 29 points helps Pelicans beat Bulls
Former Duke Blue Devils star Zion Williamson had 29 points, four assists and four rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans' win against the Chicago Bulls Wednesday in Chicago. Photo courtesy of NBA Media

Oct. 10 (UPI) -- New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson scored a game-high 29 points in a narrow win against the Chicago Bulls in an NBA preseason clash.

Williamson was 12 of 13 from the floor in the 127-125 victory Wednesday at the United Center in Chicago. His night included a series of high-flying dunks.

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"The adjustment [into the NBA] has been really smooth," Williamson told reporters. "We were down 25, almost 30, and got the win. That's something I've got to get used to, learning to keep that edge throughout the whole game."

Williamson's best dunk came with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter. He received a pass from guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker while standing on the baseline. Williamson bounced the ball once before jumping and turning at the same time. He completing a 360-degree turn while slamming the ball through the rim over several defenders.

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The No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft had eight points in the first quarter, but the Pelicans trailed 26-25. The Bulls increased their lead to 71-58 at halftime. Zach LaVine poured in 16 points in the second quarter for Chicago. The Bulls built their lead to 107-86 in the third quarter, before the Pelicans mounted a comeback.

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New Orleans outscored Chicago 41-18 in the fourth quarter to earn the narrow victory. The Bulls were 5 of 22 from the field down the stretch. Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 13 points for the Pelicans in the fourth frame.

LaVine scored 28 points in the loss. Otto Porter Jr. netted 16 points and had eight assists and seven rebounds for Chicago.

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"It speaks loudly about the depth that we have," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "For those guys to be able to come in [off the bench], I thought they did a good job."

The Pelicans continue preseason play with a game against the Utah Jazz at 8 p.m. EDT Friday at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The Bulls battle the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

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