New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson on critical non-call

1:37 ET

  • Andrew LopezESPN

New Orleans Pelicans Forward Zion Williamson is second in the NBA in free-throw attempts and fourth in the league in free-throw attempts per game, but coach Stan Van Gundy says he should shoot more.

On Wednesday evening against the Denver nuggetsWilliamson had a chance at a dunk to tie the score 2.2 seconds ahead of a dunk, but the ball was knocked away by the MVP candidate Nikola Jokic. Repetitions indicated that Jokic was in contact with Williamson’s hand and head.

The officials didn’t foul the game, which gave Jokic the game-saving block that prevented Nuggets from taking a nine-point lead in the 43.8 final and helped seal a 114-112 win for Denver.

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“I saw the replay and saw exactly what you saw,” said Van Gundy, alluding to the no-call.

Williamson said there is “not much I can do” not to get calls and that he needs to learn from that and next time finish the shot.

“I have to earn my respect,” said Williamson, who had 21 points and shot 8-of-17 off the field, just under .500 for the seventh time this season. “I’m only in my 2nd year. I still have a few years behind me and hopefully things will change with that.”

A dunk could have sent the game into overtime and wiped out a nine-point lead that seemed insurmountable before the Pelicans ran a quick 11-4 run with a built-in 3-pointer Eric Bledsoe and steal a backyard and strike Brandon Ingram.

With a 9.9 second lead, the Pelicans forced sales and had the chance to tie or take the lead. Bledsoe came up with the theft and pushed the ball up and found Ingram on the wing. Ingram drove into the middle of the alley and found Williamson under the gate where Jokic was waiting.

“I was there to stop the ride, he handed a shovel over to Zion, he went for a dip and I tried very hard not to let him score,” Jokic said. “I aimed for the ball and drove as hard as possible. Even if it’s a foul, don’t give it a 1.”

Nuggets forward Paul MillsapThe 15-year-old veteran said the final game was one of the wildest results he has ever seen during his time in the league.

“But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter,” Millsap said. “We won.”

Ingram said he felt Williamson would finish this game “pretty much 10 out of 10 times”, but that things didn’t go the Pelicans’ way.

“Of course we all thought it was a foul, but the referee saw something else,” said Ingram. “At the end of the day we have to stick to what the referee says. I’m sure that’s just the fuel for him to get tougher in the next game and make sure he makes it known that he was fouled under the basket gets and gets done. ” strong.

“I’ll let the game play 100 percent every time. It could have been fouled, it could have been a blocked shot. It just ended the way it did.”

Only after the games on Wednesday Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has attempted more free throws this season than Williamson and only Antetokounmpo, Joel Embiid and Bring you young went to the strip more per game.

Still, Van Gundy believes Williamson’s attempts should be higher.

“He comes to the free throw line a lot and referees said to me, ‘How many free throws did he shoot?’ and it’s a stupid question, “said Van Gundy. “It doesn’t matter. Call it every time he’s fouled. That’s all you have to do.

“It’s not about ‘Oh, he shot eight free throws’ or ‘Oh, he shot 10 free throws’. Some nights he should shoot 20. So name it. That’s all. Just name it. What else does he have to do do to get these calls? I don’t know. That’s a great question.

“I think strength is punished a lot more than speed in this league. If you are able to make a little contact it is called differently. If you fall down every time you get hit or flop, you get calls So is it is. It is not just Zion, it is so. “

Guarding pelicans Lonzo BallWilliamson, who finished with 16 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his first triple-double of the season, said he was playing through the fouls. Ball said he didn’t know what else Williamson could do to get more calls.

“He goes to the edge every time,” said Ball. “There are fouls, they don’t name them.

“Z can’t name his own fouls. It’s not a pickup basketball. He just has to keep going and hopefully the whistle will turn for him. But in the meantime, just keep playing hard.”

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