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OKBET ZION (1) (1)


OKBET PELICANS Zion Williamson returned after an 18-month hiatus with 25 points and 9 rebounds, looking energized and explosive.

NEW YORK — In case you forgot, two of the league’s most fascinating young players, both of whom missed the whole of last season, finally had the opportunity to reintroduce themselves. And then, almost as if on cue, Zion Williamson and Ben Simmons began up right where they left off.

Of course, in their own unique and different ways.

With that stated, here are the five most apparent takeaways from the New Orleans Pelicans’ 130-108 win against the Brooklyn Nets:


It was his first game in 533 days, and the agitation, hunger, and passion were all on display in a 25-point, nine-rebound, four-steal effort. Zion went bully-ball, scattering Brooklyn defenders like bowling pins, including Simmons, one of the league’s best one-on-one stoppers. The power, rim-attacking, and light touch around the basket all reappeared and revived Zion’s reputation as a dominating player, which he was for the most of the 85 games he played in his brief and injury-plagued career that can see on OKBET PELICANS.


What was most noticeable in Zion’s 30-minute night (no limits) was how he kept entirely inside his comfort zone. He mostly used his natural left hand and limited his shots to the paint. And the Nets still didn’t have any solutions OKBET PELICANS. Zion exhibited minimal rust after last season’s total wash, except from missing a couple bunny shots – which were all he took. Zion intimated in the weeks preceding up to the premiere that he’d demonstrate more diversity, but when the bread and butter is working, why attempt another recipe? He also worked well with Brandon Ingram, and the two Pelicans had a 1-2 inside-outside punch all night, with Ingram scoring 28 points. They were the two best players on a court shared by Brooklyn stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for most of the game. They’re going to be an issue if this continues.


Ben Simmons only attempted three shots in his Nets debut and fouled out early in the fourth quarter with four points, five rebounds, and five assists.

It wasn’t the start he had hoped for with his new squad. Nonetheless, Simmons in Brooklyn seemed disturbingly similar to Simmons in Philadelphia on OKBET PELICANS. He was mostly mist on Wednesday, never being strong with the ball, passing up shots, and never really making an impact in the rout. To make things worse, he fouled out with 9:01 remaining while attempting to guard Trey Murphy, who is mostly a shooter, down the baseline. The Barclays Center audience anticipated more, and there were a few boos when he finally sat.


So, 23 minutes, three shots attempted (one on an alley-oop), five points, five rebounds, five assists, and six fouls. He finished the night with a minus-26. However, the amount of dissatisfaction must be seen in its correct context: It wasn’t anything like his playoff game end in Philadelphia two years ago, when he skipped a layup over Hawks’ Trae Young, and there won’t be any lingering consequences from this game. It’s the first of 82, and the Nets have made it plain that they want to be patient with Simmons… mostly because there’s no other option.


On opening night at OKBET Basketball Sports Guide, New Orleans dumped 130 on the Nets and didn’t even play their regulars for the whole fourth quarter, confirming the hunch that they would score baskets (not that there was any need for it). Reasonable forecasts have Zion averaging 22 to 25 points, the same range as Ingram, with CJ McCollum averaging 16 to 18. And those are probably conservative figures; the three combined for 74 on Wednesday. It’s one of the reasons the Pelicans are one of the most interesting teams, if not a must-see.

The diversity of ways they score makes them dangerous: Ingram and McCollum can shoot from long and mid range, respectively, while Zion controls around the basket. They are mutually beneficial and seldom clash on OKBET Basketball Sports Guide. It provides coach Willie Green with several alternatives and the opportunity to run different setups and plays to capitalize on their strengths. The Pelicans’ success or failure this season will therefore be determined by their ability to defend. Because there will be no score.


Kyrie’s contract drive got off to a rough start with a 15-point performance. Remember, Irving chose to exercise his one-year player option because the Nets were hesitant to give a substantial deal, and Irving had a (strong) sense that opting out and going somewhere this summer would be a bad financial choice at OKBET Basketball Sports Guide. As a result, he has plenty of motive to (a) set aside his eccentricities, particularly if they interfere with his performance or endanger the team’s success, and (b) produce a star-quality season in 2022-23.

The good news for the Nets is that Kyrie is now allowed to play at home, something he wasn’t last season due to his immunization status. The mediocre news? Kyrie misfired all night, allowing Durant to play alone against the Pelicans. Kyrie was 6-for-19 and missed all six of his 3-point attempts, and when the Nets needed a second option, he couldn’t provide. Trey Murphy, a second-year forward, outscored him.

Kyrie will be eligible for unrestricted free agency next summer; in the meanwhile, Irving has that much time to put opening night behind him and show that it was a fluke. Which it was, correct?


When were the Nets last at full strength since Durant and Irving linked up in the summer of 2019? What about… never? Durant missed the whole season while rehabbing from achilles surgery. Then Irving and James Harden both had injuries. Then, last season, Harden left, and his replacement, Simmons, never played.

Nobody has seen the Nets in action yet with OKBET PELICANS. While Durant, Irving, and Simmons are all in uniform, the Nets cannot be truly assessed until Seth Curry and Joe Harris return to the lineup. Both players missed the season opening due to injuries, but neither is deemed significant enough to be a long-term concern, and they completed modest prep work before the season start. More of a worry is T.J. Warren, who hasn’t played since the season opener in Orlando; his condition is unknown, and whatever he contributes to the Nets this season will almost certainly be considered a bonus, given how much time he’s lost. The Nets consider themselves championship contenders — Steve Nash’s career may depend on it — but they refuse to be labeled as such until their rotation is cleared.

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