Duke basketball: Former Blue Devil breaks record with another stellar show

Duke basketball great Zion Williamson (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Duke basketball great Zion Williamson (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

One former Duke basketball one-and-done just continues to amaze in the NBA.

In Tuesday night’s 128-111 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers (28-16), Duke basketball product Zion Williamson, who is now in his second year with the New Orleans Pelicans (19-24) after going No. 1 overall at the 2019 NBA Draft, tallied his 21st straight game compiling 20 or more points.

By doing so, Williamson grabbed sole possession of the record for the most 20-plus point totals in a row by any player before reaching his 21st birthday. Entering the contest, the 20-year-old was tied in this regard with two awfully prestigious names: Luka Doncic and LeBron James.

And by finishing with 27 points, nine rebounds, and five assists while shooting 9-for-13 from the field — to go along with a 9-for-10 clip from the charity stripe — the 6-foot-7 freak of nature inched one notch closer to a record that Shaquille O’Neal still holds.

That record, which isn’t at all based on age, is O’Neal’s 25 consecutive outings scoring 20-plus points while never once shooting less than 50 percent in those performances.

Now, Williamson is averaging 25.7 points, 7.0 boards, and 3.4 dimes across his 41 appearances this season. Obviously, those stats are either right on par or well ahead of the level that most all-time greats produced when they were in their early 20s.

Another young Duke basketball product flourishing in the Bayou

Lost in Zion Williamson’s under-21 brilliance is the consistently potent play of his New Orleans Pelicans teammate and fellow NBA Blue Devil in 23-year-old Brandon Ingram. Actually, the 2020 All-Star small forward, who came off the board No. 2 overall to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2016 following one year in Durham, was arguably the star of Tuesday’s show against his former team.

Ingram totaled 36 points, four assists, and three rebounds versus the Lakers while going 14-for-21 from the field, including 4-for-6 from deep, plus 4-for-4 from the foul line.

Plugging in those numbers, Ingram sits just behind Williamson with a career-high 24.2 points per game this season. On top of that, he’s averaging 5.1 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

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The New Orleans Pelicans — including another former Duke basketball sensation in 36-year-old sharpshooter JJ Redick, who is reportedly a buyout candidate with Thursday’s NBA trade deadline looming — are slated to return to action at 8 p.m. ET Friday when they host the Denver Nuggets (26-17).