The New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies are two of the top three teams in the Western Conference and the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Pelicans’ Zion Williamson and Grizzlies’ Ja Morant will face each other in the final game of 2022 in Memphis on Saturday night, but are also believed to be competing against each other in the 2023 portion of the season.

New Orleans beat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 127-116 Friday night to win five straight games and maintain their tie with the West’s Denver Nuggets.

Williamson, the top pick of 2019, scored a career-high 43 points against the Minnesota Timberwolves two days earlier, and scored 36 points. He made 13 of his attempts, moved to the foul line frequently, and scored 10 of 16.

“I love watching it,” said New Orleans coach Willie Greene. “That’s what makes Z so special. and he will just run towards you.I don’t want to guard him.”

Williamson is the Pelicans’ leading scorer this season, but was only the second-highest scorer against the 76ers. CJ McCollum set a franchise record with his season-high 42 points and his career-high eleven of his 3-pointers.

“None of the threes looked forced,” Williamson said. “

Speaking of career-highs, Morant, the No. 2 pick in the 2019 Draft, had a career-high 17 assists and 19 points on Thursday night as the Grizzlies defeated the hosts Toronto Raptors 119-106. obtained.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said of Morant’s assist, “It’s very impressive. “It just sets the tone for us. His selfishness, we talk about it all the time.”

Teamwork proved contagious as Memphis posted a season-high 37 assists.

Dillon Brooks, who led the Grizzlies with 25 points, said, “He can get three or four players and find us at (three points) and find us for the dumpoff.” is a once-in-a-generation talent.”

Memphis’ Desmond Bain added 16 points before fouling out, while Stephen Adams had 14 points and 17 rebounds. The Grizzlies beat Toronto 70-50 in the paint.

Memphis has lost four of its last five games and made fewer than 10 3-pointers in each of its last four games through Thursday. , 7 players have made at least one.

“Not many teams can beat us when we’re clicking like this,” Brooks said.

Memphis and New Orleans split the first two meetings of the season, with the home team winning every time. The Pelicans he won 113-102 on November 15 and the Grizzlies he won 132-111 on November 25.

The second meeting featured the largest points allowed by the Pelicans in a regulation game this season, equating to their largest margin of loss. recorded the first win for the Grizzlies.

The team will finish the season series on April 5th in New Orleans.

–Field level media

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