Zion Williamson Absence Criticized By Fans As Pelicans Lose In Play-In Tournament To Thunder

Photo: Instagram/Zion Williamson

The absence of New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson in their play-in loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder has drawn criticism from fans.

Despite being sidelined due to injury, Williamson was blamed for his team's elimination from postseason contention.

The Pelicans, ranked ninth, were defeated by the tenth-ranked Thunder 123-118 at the Smoothie King Center.

Photo: Instagram/Zion Williamson putting on a show against the Raptors' defense.

Although Brandon Ingram, Herbert Jones, and Trey Murphy III all scored over 20 points, the Thunder's Josh Giddey and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored over 30 points each, powering their team to victory and a place in the second round of the play-in tournament against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Since being drafted first overall in the 2019 NBA draft out of Duke, Williamson has struggled with injuries, and his most recent hamstring injury has kept him out of action since January 2.

Even if the Pelicans had made it to the playoffs, there was no assurance that he would have played in the first round.

Fans on Twitter have criticized Williamson for his continuing injury problems.

Williamson's fans were also disappointed that he did not play in the play-in game, especially after he told reporters the day before that he was physically fit and would return to the court "when I feel like Zion."

Williamson spoke about the mental obstacle of returning to the team in a game with high stakes.

As a result of their loss, Williamson will not have the opportunity to play with the team for the rest of the season, raising questions about his future with the Pelicans.

On the other hand, the Thunder will play the Timberwolves in another play-in game on Thursday, with the winner advancing to face the Denver Nuggets.

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Source: Breacher Report
 

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