Zion Williamson, Pelicans Hold off Celtics Despite Jayson Tatum's 34 Points

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 30, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, center, drives to the basket against the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, March 29, 2021, in Boston. From left defending Williamson are Celtics' Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III, and Grant Williams. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans won their fourth game in five outings with a 115-109 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday.

Zion Williamson dropped 28 points for the Pelicans, who improved to 21-25. 

For the 23-24 Celtics, Jayson Tatum dropped 34 points but couldn't make up the deficit for a team that was missing his sidekick in Jaylen Brown. 

Notable Performers

  • Jayson Tatum, Celtics: 34 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST
  • Zion Williamson, Pelicans: 28 PTS, 8 REB, 4 STL
  • Brandon Ingram, Pelicans: 25 PTS, 9 AST
  • Kemba Walker, Celtics: 23 PTS, 4 REB, 4 AST

Josh Hart's Start Sets the Tone  

Josh Hart had a good time against the Boston Celtics when the two teams battled to overtime in February. The fourth-year forward, who had averaged 9.0 points through 45 games entering Monday, dropped 17 points in that earlier meeting, which the Pelicans won by five in the extra period. 

He had another strong outing Monday, posting 15 points and seven rebounds by the break as New Orleans led 64-55. 

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

JOSH HART 🔥 10-0 #Pelicans run after back-to-back triples from Josh https://t.co/zUp3I5VIf4


His performance caught the attention of three Boston defenders, who still weren't able to hold him down. 

New Orleans Pelicans @PelicansNBA

Let's keep it going ➡️ #WontBowDown | @Entergy https://t.co/ZoKH1DaBKr


In the second half, his point total remained stable, but he was able to log the double-double by finishing with 15 rebounds. 

Alongside 20 total points from Brandon Ingram, who had an 11-point first half in front of a Pelicans bench that posted 26 points, New Orleans held a semi-comfortable lead heading into the fourth quarter, even with Williamson hanging out on the bench for a stretch. 

Williamson still made his presence known in his time on the hardwood, ending the night with 28 points after a 12-point first half, and Ingram added a total of 25 points to help lead the Pelicans. 

Evan Fournier Falters in Debut 

Evan Fournier, who joined the Celtics from the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline in exchange for a pair of second-round picks, finally made his debut with the team after spending the weekend going through the league's health and safety protocols.

He told reporters Monday that he had a false positive test, which kept him out for the team's weekend wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Oklahoma City Thunder (h/t Tim Bontemps of ESPN). 

Even though All-Star Jaylen Brown dealing with a hip injury, the Celtics had Fournier come off the bench while giving Grant Williams the start. 

But his performance was a non-factor for Boston. Fournier, who averaged 19.7 points per game entering Monday, ended the night by going 0-of-10 from the field with two steals and two blocks. 

Tim Bontemps @TimBontemps

Who knew that the home debut of Luke Kornet (10 points in nine minutes) would overshadow that of Evan Fournier?


Boston's usual stars were hardly enough to make up for the absences of Brown and, apparently, Fournier. 

Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring, and while he had a monstrous start to the game with 16 points in the first nine minutes, he came screeching to a stop until he nearly singlehandedly led a 15-0 run that put Boston back in it at the end.

But it was too little, too late for Boston. 

Kemba Walker also recorded 23 points, while Marcus Smart posted 15 in the loss. 

What's Next?

The Celtics host the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Pelicans are headed home to host the Orlando Magic at 8 p.m. ET.