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    Zion Williamson starts, perfect in first half as Pelicans vs Jazz marks NBA return

    Jul 31, 2020
    This alley-oop slam was the highlight of Zion Williamson's first half against the Jazz.
    PHOTO: @PelicansNBA on Twitter

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Zion Williamson was in the New Orleans Pelicans' starting lineup against Utah on Thursday night (Friday, Manila time), just two days after practicing for the first time in two weeks.

    Williamson left the team July 16 to attend to a family medical matter. He returned July 24 and tested negative for the coronavirus while he was away, but was placed on quarantine by the NBA for four days before being allowed to rejoin New Orleans for practice on Tuesday night.

    The rookie sensation picked up from where he left off, making all his four field goals in the first half - including an alley-oop slam off Mike Conley - for nine points in the first two quarters as of this writing.

    Coach Alvin Gentry had said during pregame comments that he hoped to have Williamson in the lineup but that both Williamson and the team medical staff would make the final decision after pregame warmups.

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    Right knee surgery forced the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Williamson to miss the first 44 games of his rookie season. But in 19 games since his return in January, he has averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds.

    His return bolsters the Pelicans' hopes for a playoff spot. New Orleans resumes the season 3 1/2 games behind Memphis for the eighth and final playoff spot. But under rules adopted for the season's resumption, a ninth-place finish can give a team a chance to make the playoffs as well.

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      This alley-oop slam was the highlight of Zion Williamson's first half against the Jazz.
      PHOTO: @PelicansNBA on Twitter
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