Duke basketball: Zion Williamson goes toe-to-toe with two-time MVP

Duke basketball star Zion Williamson (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)
Duke basketball star Zion Williamson (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports) /

Former Duke basketball superstar Zion Williamson went toe-to-toe with a two-time MVP. 

Thursday night was a matchup with two of the youngest and brightest stars in the NBA, former Duke basketball standout Zion Williamson and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Riding a two-game winning streak, the New Orleans Pelicans (14-18) made it a priority to feed their former No. 1 overall pick the ball as Williamson ended the first half with 24 points, six rebounds, and four assists as the Milwaukee Bucks (20-13) led by one, 69-68.

However, the second-half struggles of the Pelicans continued as Milwaukee was able to hold its young Western Conference foe bay after being tied entering the fourth quarter, winning 129-125.

After Zion Williamson gave the Pelicans a 125-124 lead with 2:01 to play, the former Blue Devil only had one more shot, which was blocked by Brook Lopez on the ensuing possession.

ALSO READ: Duke National Champion leads team to victory off bench

The second-year pro, a first-time All-Star, ended his night after logging 37 minutes and finished with 34 points, eight rebounds, six assists, one steal, and one block on 15-of-26 shooting from the floor.

Former Blue Devil Brandon Ingram was called for an offensive foul with 2.6 seconds left and the Pelicans down by three, 128-125.

Ingram had 23 points in the loss on 11-of-25 shooting from the floor but was a troubling 1-of-10 from three-point range.

Antetokounmpo led all scorers with 38 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.

Duke basketball stars need to start stacking victories

At four games below .500, the Pelicans have too much talent on their roster to continue struggling as the team could miss the playoffs for the second straight season.

ALSO READ: Zion Williamson teases potential dunk contest availability

Seeds No. 7, No. 8, No. 9, and No. 10 will play in a Play-In Tournament to make the First Round of the NBA Playoffs, and the Pelicans currently occupy the No. 11 seed, a game and a half behind the Dallas Mavericks for the No. 10 seed.

New Orleans still has four games left before the 2021 NBA All-Star Break as its lone road game is Saturday, February 27 against the San Antonio Spurs (16-12) at 8:00pm EST (NBATV).

Duke basketball player returns to North Carolina and beats down Tar Heels. light. Hot