Sportress of Blogitude

Zion Williamson one game away from tying Shaquille O’Neal record

Zion Williamson is on a tear of late, and the New Orleans Pelicans superstar’s recent run of 20-point-plus games has placed in some rarefied air and within one game of tying a record held by NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Williamson led the Pelicans to a 115-109 victory over the Boston Celtics Monday night at TD Garden with a solid overall performance. In the win, Williamson posted 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting while adding eight rebounds, three assists and four steals. The scoring output marked the 24th consecutive game in which Williamson has put up 20-plus points while shooting 50% or better from the field.

Should Williamson do it again in Thursday’s game against the Orlando Magic, he will tie Shaq’s remarkable record, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info.

Interestingly enough, Williamson just recently elicited comparisons to O’Neal from Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle. Following New Orleans’ win over the Mavs on Saturday in a game in which Williamson put up 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting and added six rebounds and five assists, Carlisle hailed Williamson’s unique blend of skills, size and talent.

“He’s an unusual force and obviously a great player … it presents huge challenges for the defense and for officials,” Carlisle said of Williamson. “He is just creating collisions out there. This is a Shaquille O’Neal-type force of nature with a point guard skill set.”

Along with coming close to tying Shaq’s record as noted above, Williamson also became the first player since O’Neal in 1995-96 to have four straight games of scoring at least 25 points on over 65% shooting in Saturday’s win.

Williamson obviously is enjoying an outstanding season (26.4 points on 62.4% shooting, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists), but his play in March has taken things to another level. Across 13 games, Williamson is averaging 28.7 points while shooting at torrid 64.5% clip from the field. To say Williamson is realizing his abundant potential would be an understatement.

Possessing a rare combination of size, strength, agility and the ability to do things on the court someone his size should be incapable of accomplishing, the 6-foot-7, 284-pound Williamson is without question a force to be reckoned with as he continues to learn how to play at the NBA level in his second season.