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Home / Sport / The Pelicans objected to Zion Williamson’s minute limit during the kick-off and it cost them a win

The Pelicans objected to Zion Williamson’s minute limit during the kick-off and it cost them a win



Let’s not overdo it. There is no ardent offense, grotesque incompetence of coaching or worthy argument to justify why the New Orleans Pelicans spurred its NBA resumption show against the Utah Jazz.

But refusing to play Zion Williamson for most of the fourth quarter of what turned into a 106-104 loss was still a fundamental mistake. Minute limits are OK. Going into an eight-game bubble that doubles for New Orleans as a kind of next season, and then your chances of winning even one of those games, is not.

If you are going to risk the health of the players and the potential infection of a virus that has closed most of 2020 ̵

1; which is exactly the reality behind the beauty of basketball returns – you play to win.

You do not sit down Zion. Not in the fourth quarter. Not like a four-point lead turns into a dogfight and, ultimately, a heartbreaking loss.

Zion Williamson’s landing on Thursday night was a mistake, potentially costly and could not happen again in the remaining seven games.

You know the details. Zion was sharp and impressive in his limited action in Orlando, setting 13 points, and an inaccurate assist, after just 15 minutes of action. But the Pelicans have always been more than Zion statistics.

There is a sense of deception and trust when he is on the floor because the presence of Zion puts that organization significantly closer to the things they can simply do down the road.

Brandon Ingram, who has thrived on an All-Star in Big Easy, has the potential to be really brilliant.

Lonzo Ball, freed from the quarrel of the game with LeBron James and the splendor and pressure of the Los Angeles and Lakers, has become a real floor general. JJ Redick remains a veteran and key shooter. Josh Hart has his head down. Jrue Holiday could be the third best player on a great team.

But that team is built in and around Zion, and in close games that matter – like Thursday night – he has to play. Somethings is something defiant about organizations that meet great moments and chances of success, no matter how unlikely or limited, with the choice to sit on their star.

Caution is good. Surrender or disobedience to success is not.

The shares may not be the same, but the Washington Nationals did the same in 2012 when they refused to play Stephen Strasburg it after the season. Yes, he would have lost 2011 with surgery Tommy John. He also went 15-6 before stepping on the play-off stage after a 3.16 ERA attack and 197 on 159 kicks.

The nationals lost in the NLDS, but the real failure was what he told a promising team, the message that a guy who can help and be key will not take that chance. It is self-defeating. Excess beast. And there is a mistake.

The consequences were certainly less significant Thursday night, but the effect felt the same. No, if New Orleans somehow claims the No. 9 spot, beats, presumably, the Grizzlies twice, they will not beat the Lakers in a seven-game series and climb toward championship glory.

But that is not the goal. Involving games and critical experience lost over the past four months, growing a promising new team and on-the-job lessons, Zion can learn about the postpartum season by actually playing – those things are the goals. And they are invaluable.

Clinking ninth place and enjoying that feeling of success is a build. Playing – and maybe maybe beating – Memphis twice to win a place in a seven-game series is a turn on the ladder you have to climb to eventually be a champion. Even being mastered by the Lakers, involved or otherwise, teaches lessons and leaves a sense of failure and hunger that you want to get to know a new team.

But you have to win games to get there. Especially when there are only eight of them, and a completely healthy Portland team – plus Phoenix and Sacramento – are fighting for the same thing.

So by all means, protect Zion Williamson from playing 38 minutes on that return. But also protect him from excessive stupidity from letting him finish that game, even if only for the last four or five minutes.

If he could play – and he could – he should have been there by the end. Anything else is a waste of his time and talent, and of those of anyone who chose to enter a bubble despite the associated dangers and difficulties.

They came to win. Next time, let them.




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