Zion Williamson continues Pelicans' hot streak with dunk of the year candidate

No team in the NBA is hotter than the New Orleans Pelicans right now, and Zion Williamson is the explosive engine propelling them forward.

The Pelicans defeated the Brooklyn Nets 104-91 on Tuesday to notch a seventh win in their past eight games, with Williamson posting a team-high 28 points on 11-of-16 shooting plus seven rebounds and four assists.

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Two of those points came on what would have been a dunk of the year frontrunner had Anthony Edwards not thrown the curve one day prior. Nonetheless, it bears saying: this was one incredible alley-oop.

Pelicans wing Naji Marshall got things started by picking Cam Thomas’ pocket in the fourth quarter, leading to a 2-on-1 fast break with Williamson behind him. Marshall threw back a ball that very few NBA players would have a hope of bringing in. Fortunately, Williamson is one of them.

You can see the result in the video above. You can see where Williamson caught the ball in the screengrab below.

Screengrab of Zion Williamson's wild alley-oop. (NBA)Screengrab of Zion Williamson's wild alley-oop. (NBA)

Zion Williamson dunked this. (NBA)

“It was crazy. Me and [Marshall] had just talked about it,” Williamson said after the game. “He said ‘Hey man, when you go to the paint you need to start dunking.’ So when he got the steal I said ‘Oh he’s throwing it.’ He threw a good pass, I went and got it.”

That performance is the latest in a massive streak for Williamson, which has put the Pelicans on another level. In his last seven games, the 23-year-old is averaging 26.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game with 64.0% shooting.

More importantly, the Pelicans have moved from 3.5 games back to just a half-game back from the Los Angeles Clippers for fourth place in the Western Conference, which carries home-court advantage for the first round of the NBA playoffs. With 14 games remaining and the third-place Minnesota Timberwolves missing Karl-Anthony Towns, it’s not inconceivable New Orleans could climb even further.

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