NEW ORLEANS – Zion Williamson punctuated a 28-point performance with a soaring, one-handed alley-oop jam during a decisive fourth-quarter surge, and the New Orleans Pelicans soundly defeated the Phoenix Suns 123-101 on Wednesday night.
Brandon Ingram scored 23 and Lonzo Ball added 18 points for New Orleans, which led by as many as 28 in the fourth quarter en route to ending a two-game slide while also stopping the Suns’ winning streak at three.
Steven Adams, who returned from a sore left calf that had sidelined him a game-and-a-half, scored 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.
Devin Booker scored 25 for the Suns, who never led in the second half. Deandre Ayton had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Chris Paul had 10 points.
The Pelicans outscored the Suns by 37 when their lineup included Williamson, who also had seven rebounds and six assists. He made 12 of 14 shots from the field, including the only 3-pointer he attempted.
He also had a couple alley-oop dunks, the last of which put the Pelicans up 108-82. After that, Suns coach Monty Williams subbed out his entire lineup with half the fourth quarter still remaining.
The Pelicans took their first double-digit lead when Ball’s 3 made it 72-61 halfway through the third. It was the 14th game this season in which New Orleans had taken a lead of 10 or more.
The Pelicans had blown six of their previous 13 double-digit leads coming in, but not this time.
Josh Hart’s 3, Williamson’s dunk of Nickeil Alexander-Walker’s alley-oop lob and JJ Redick’s 3 helped the Pelicans finish the third period with an 88-74 lead.
New Orleans then opened the fourth with seven straight points on Williamson’s driving leaner, Hart’s corner 3 that Williamson set up with a pass from the paint and Hart’s fast-break layup to make it 95-74 with 10:31 left.
The Suns had no response down the stretch.
Suns: Ayton’s streak of games with at least 13 rebounds ended at eight. … Paul was called for a technical foul for apparently saying something officials didn’t like after a driving layup by Ball. … Abdel Nader scored 11 points. … The Suns missed 27 of 35 3-point attempts (22.9%).
Pelicans: Redick received 18 minutes of playing time after seeing none the previous two games. He hit two 3s in the second half and finished with 10 points. … Eric Bledsoe hit three 3s and scored 11 points. Hart had 10 points. … Redick made both of his free throws to improve to 27 for 27 this season. … New Orleans outrebounded Phoenix 44-39. … The Pelicans hit 14 3s, with Ball making four.
Suns: Host Detroit on Friday in the first of seven straight scheduled home games.
Pelicans: Visit Indiana on Friday night.